Giving Authentic Faith a Welcome Invitation

“If God would only test my faith like the heroes of Scripture…”

Will you finish the sentence out loud, underneath your breath, or not at all? Those words have a scary feel don’t they? As if even their utterance might enlist God’s hammer, chisel and Shop-Vac. And something we love or need, such as our family, finances or good health, will end up diminished, demolished, or completely sucked from our lives. It’s an idea that may make us flinch, but if it’s avoided entirely may also keep us from reaching our kingdom potential.

Certainly, it’s difficult to plug in our own family and imagine the type of testing encountered by Job, or to consider our own child while contemplating the lonely steps of Abraham leading Isaac to the altar. And it is nearly as difficult to consider the daily routines of Joseph’s undeserved imprisonment as though they were our own. But as veteran believers shouldn’t we make the attempt?

In other words, if the entirety of Scripture is chocked full of human failures, injustices, and difficult trials – along with the heroes and heroin who suffered through them – shouldn’t we expose our minds and hearts to it in way that it becomes a deeply personal experience – at least momentarily?

I’m not suggesting we imagine all the terrible things that can happen to us personally as a means of deeper study, but only that we take the Word – the entire Word – into our inmost parts as if it were food. And in such a way that we can actually feel it, and carry it with us into the trials of modern life, which are ultimately not so different.

If this all sounds weird consider this: Remember how it felt to experience The Passion of The Christ for the very first time? As it filled our minds with the sights and sounds of tragedy, it also lifted our spirits to a new level of thanksgiving and humility, and perhaps a more honest form of repentance. So why do the passages of Scripture have any less effect? Why are we are willing to accept a visual download about the goodness of God from a movie, but not from its very source?

Is it because we’ve made caution an idol by relegating deep meditation to the spookier side of Christianity, where visualizing deeply as we study (as if watching a movie) was an evil practice to avoid? Or is it that we’ve become so affectionately familiar with the stories and characters of scripture, that we’ve gradually forgotten how important they are? Or how literally we should take them?

It’s perplexing indeed how we as believers are willing to fully employ the senses, imaginations and emotional connections with the world in order to feel it – whether admittedly on a good thing such as The Passion movie, or secretly on a bad thing such as pornography. Yet when it comes to going deeper into scripture, we consider the use of these God given faculties as mystical or new-age-like and ultimately hold the Word captive to its familiar surface – where its characters are easy to quote, but difficult to emulate.

Alright, since it’s unlikely that we would ever disengage from something so moving as The Passion, perhaps the better idea is to disengage the moderation we’ve inadvertently applied to our faith (the foundation of all that pleases Him), and go after Him and His word with everything we possess, including our senses and imagination to the point that we can begin to truly feel the Word. (As if it were a movie)

Why not take a few moments while studying the Exodus to close your eyes and imagine standing with Moses on the banks of an undivided Red Sea? Picture his posture of humility as the two million souls who’ve followed him are left with no escape. Or push your way through their wearied masses to feel the dissent as it thickens on the desert floor. And feel it again as it dissipates into groveling defeat when that dessert floor thunders with Pharaoh’s advancing army.

Or why not imagine being thrown from the deck of a capsizing boat while Jesus is peacefully sleeping below? Allow yourself to feel the unflinching brutality of surging waves and spiraling winds, and the desperation of clutching the air as your cries for help are muffled and sucked away from the ears of Jesus.

The point is to momentarily forget what you know, and to watch the Word unfold, imagining the sights, sounds, and feeling the emotions of every event; because only when we learn to emotionally connect with the suffering and faith of our heroes, will we ever be able to carry on their heritage. And whether God splits us like a log, prunes us by a thousand tiny cuts, or leads us gently by the hand, our own lives might finally become “living epistles” where true freedom and contentment matter more than comfort.

The truth is, it will always be easier to simply agree that faith comes by the hearing of the Word than to give that faith a welcome invitation through a willingness to be tested.

Father help us to begin by deeply connecting with the testing of those who came before us, and continue by testing our own faith that Your Glory might touch the earth a little more, and Your full intention for this life will be realized.


Please Share Your Thoughts

As a faith writer, my aim is always to encourage and stimulate thought. If this post is helpful, or you’d like to share your point of view, please comment and know you’re thoughts are welcomed and appreciated. We are listening.


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About Kevin Adams

Kevin Adams is a fresh voice among today’s best Christian writers. What he’s not, however, is a pastor, theologian or pulpit preacher; he doesn’t have a church, a fan club, or a flock. He’s just a regular guy with a powerful story, and a God given gift for sharing it that will challenge the faith of even the most seasoned, veteran believers. His transparency and intentional, elevated writing style has earned him a trusted reputation across the online Christian community. His work escorts readers through his own challenging experiences of loss, betrayal and impossible odds, to just beyond the comfort level of most Christians–the place where absolute faith is required. Kevin takes a genuine approach to modern Christianity that would rather tear away empty pockets than fill them with empty promises. Yet, his story is filled with indisputable proof of our Heavenly Father’s better-than-we-can-imagine desire for each of us, and the delight He takes in our learning to rest in His arms like happy children. Kevin is the author of The Extravagant Fool: A Faith Journey That Begins Where Common Sense Ends, due for release May 6th 2014, and founding partner in a new discipleship ministry being developed around the book. He is also the founder of the Wake up My Faith blog, which has garnered a social media following of over 80,000, reflecting varied backgrounds and locales. Kevin’s life verse is Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you”. (NKJV) And his philosophy on life can be summed up in a single thought: “Only when God becomes all that we want do we truly see that He is all we need.” –Kevin Adams 2012 Kevin is husband to Holly, his beautiful partner in faith, father to three wonderful children, and a compelling new author for Zondervan.
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14 Responses to Giving Authentic Faith a Welcome Invitation

  1. Paige Givens says:

    This is a great post, Kevin. May our faith be so authentic that one day those behind us will say “I want to live like that.” I plan to read this post again a few times in the next week. Thanks for sharing!
    Paige

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Thank you so much Paige. It helps to have some feedback as my posts attempt to integrate some teaching. I deeply appreciate the encouragement. Blessings to you my friend.

  2. John Fay says:

    I’ve been following your posts for some time and have been encouraged by what I’ve read. Laughed out loud and moved by the Yosemite Sam tenant story. As much as I hate trials. It’s amazing that God has truly given me alot of grace thru those times. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Thank you John. I hope to share more “story” in the coming months, but also feel led to share some of things we’ve learned. Your thoughts are a welcome encouragement! Blessings.

  3. Grace Running- Nichols says:

    This is marvelous. I feel I must consider it somberly. I will share it with our close friends who serve The Lord in Haiti, who live in this manner…and I will digest it myself over time. Thank you!

  4. As always, thought provoking, soul stirring and full of truth, Kevin. I always love your posts. 🙂

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Thanks Dineen for being a faithful friend and always showing up to encourage. I appreciate it more now than ever as God leads me to share some of what we’ve learned rather than always telling the story. You are a special blessing to Holly and I.

  5. Been looking for a blog to read more about the experiences of Christ’s believers and I’m happy to stumble on yours. I’ve just read your recent article and I’m planning to read your previous posts soon. Truly, the faith of the believers before is beyond our comprehension. I continue to pray that Jesus would always give me strength to stand by my faith to Him. Since I have experience God’s presence in my life, I felt a need to share it with others. And God impressed me to do that in the form I love to do which is writing. I am inspired by your blog to push through with the blog I am starting. I am writing on how the promises of God came true in my life by just declaring and believing them everyday. Be blessed Kevin.

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read the post and for reaching out. Sounds like you are on a similar journey of writing by faith! Keep going because it’s something wonderful you can give to others, yet something no one can ever take from you. Stay in touch! Blessings!

  6. KimLincoln says:

    I love the image of being tossed on the boat while JESUS is sleeping. How often do we lose our faith when the storms come and we feel like Jesus is sleeping and unaware of our plight. Truth is, he already promised reaching the other side safely, but our faith is too small to trust that promise. Praying for my faith to grow so I can sleep through the storms 🙂

  7. Debbie Wood says:

    Just wanted to say that I’ve been reading your posts and I’ve read the first chapter of your book (I’m about to buy that by the way!)
    Thank you (and your wife) for sharing so honestly and most of all, thank you for taking those first steps of faith because you are encouraging more of us to do the same!

  8. Wayne Shabaz says:

    Thanks for your book and the critical Christianity-Centered vs. Christ-Centered distinctions! Exactly what God has been dealing in my life! Thanks for showing us how and encouraging us to live out the challenging truths modeled by people like Paul. Phil 3:8-9 (The MSG) “…all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant – dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ – God’s righteousness.”

  9. Davell logan says:

    Thank you, I truly believe in having faith and not knowing from one day to the next to what’s in front of you. Having faith is from within.

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