I have been reading an amazing book – Faith and Doubt, by John Ortberg. In part of the book, John explains that there are three kinds of faith:
- the faith that we say we have. This is what I call “Sunday faith”. It is where we tell people that we have faith for something, but we don’t really believe it or live it.
- the faith that we think we have. This faith is strong until it is tested. We might have faith in healing, for instance, but when we fall ill the faith starts to peter out.
- the faith that we really have. This is the faith that actually changes our behaviour.
An example of the third kind of faith is the law of gravity. My faith in gravity is absolute and changes the way I live. I know beyond any doubt that if I jump off the top of a ten-storey building then I am going down, quickly and with fatal consequences. My faith in the law of gravity therefore changes my behaviour – I don’t jump off. I keep my feet on the ground.
Just how much of my faith is like that, though? Just how is my behaviour determined by my faith? Do I ever step out in faith?
Taking courage and telling someone about Christ is not like jumping off a building, but it can feel like it, so I hold back, for fear of rejection or of making a mess of it. I keep my feet on the ground, perhaps with fatal consequences – I might be that person’s last chance of salvation. Then he/she is going down.
And that is the problem. Another kind of gravity is when we talk of something being serious, or grave. I know that I am playing with words here, but the gravity of the situation is the grave. My lack of faith can quite literally drop people in it. That should not be.
I have to change. My faith should be built on the solid foundation which is the risen Christ. My faith must rise, so that the laws of this world, including the law of gravity, are broken.
The only way is up!