“And the wolf said to the piglets inside the brick house, ‘Open the door! If not, I will huff and puff and blow your house in!’ The piglets had faith in the brick house built and defied the wolf. So the wolf huffed and he puffed, and he huffed and he puffed again, but he was unable to blow the house in.” – Paraphrased version of The Three Little Pigs. Originally an 1886 English nursery rhyme by James Halliwell-Phillipps.
Not far from me, about 100 yards, is a never-ending construction zone on a main road in Carrollton, Texas. In fact, you don’t have to live in my neighborhood to say that you too have construction near you. In the city and suburbs, it seems like you can’t swing a rope without hitting an “Under Construction” sign. From your perspective, does it appear to you it never ends? It is either delayed, gets redone or expands but never wraps-up. Yet, I must admit, as much as ongoing construction is a part of my life, I am reminded my life, my existence here, is also under construction. Do you feel that way?
Brick by brick, stone by stone, foot by foot, my life, my view, my thoughts are being stretched, expanded and, need I say, halted or delayed from time to time. But isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Otherwise, I would still be in nursery school hearing about three piglet brothers with construction hardhats. What good would I be in that condition? If not for the sawing, hammering and screws in life, I believe I would become stagnant. Construction is hard, it even hurts sometimes. Right?
Do you like writers who step out on a limb? You know, a person at the keyboard typing out something that you may or may not adhere to in your personal ideology. Stick around as I climb this tree trunk.
I am a Christian, a Bible student, a Jesus follower. I could easily say I am a person of faith, but there again that would be too wide of a definition. Why? Because everyone has a faith, a faith in something. You have the faith in the next chair you sit in. Sure, the agnostic and atheist might argue they are living without a faith or trust-fueled life. I can see where I would say that, if I were in that arena. But, please, bear with me for the next few lines and I’ll present more clearly my thoughts.
Yesterday, my 27 year old middle daughter, wrote a Facebook post about the subject of spiritual unity, or human-connectivity in the face of so much anger and divisiveness in the world. In her post, she mentions brotherly love, faith, spirit, soul and God. Some of her views were not exactly 100% biblically based, but very close. Altogether, it was an entry of good will and hope she shared with her readers. Most all replies received were kind and affirming as it was written to envelope the perspectives of many, regardless of doctrines held by her readers. Then, along came an atheist friend challenging her post, specifically concerning the spiritual realm, faith and God. (Frankly, if he IS truly a friend, he should’ve called her up or met for coffee, and caringly challenge her there instead of a public forum. But this just may be the protective dad typing here.) His challenge was to suck her into a debate on her personal faith, belief in God and the spiritual life. She defended her stance well, but like a trained MMA fighter, he circled her responses, hunting for a weak opening and attacking for the “GOTCHA” moment. He went on to express how her faith was based off of experiences she “thinks” she had, adding that her memory of those experiences were faded and faulty. It was clear, he had his daggers out to slice and dice her faith stance. One of his arrows in his quiver surrounded the idea that she had no faith at all in a God, or God concept, because she mentioned her past spiritual experiences. He loosely used a biblical phrase from the New Testament in an effort to make his point. (This is an old tool. Satan, the enemy of Jesus, did the same thing in Christ’s life.) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” -Hebrews 11:1. He tried to use the last part of the passage, saying if her faith was built (constructed on) experiences, it’s not truly faith. There is some validity to that school of thought, if that were the only pillar holding up the faith house.
Unfortunately, for this combatant of the spiritual life, he proved the Bible to be more accurate than he wishes. Scripture defines the enemies of God multiple times as scoffers, agitators, self-willed, boats without rudders, having an appearance of holiness and yet denying the power of it, and of course, often using biblical texts lifted out of contextual forms in order to make it fill another purpose. One of my favorite Bible teachers brands this into our skulls. He says, “A text without context is pretext.” Think about that. I’ll still be here waiting for you when you’re done. Read it again.
Scores of atheistic scientists and scholars have changed their beliefs after discovering truths like the DNA strand, the proof that the universe had a beginning and synchronized clockwork perfection with a designer’s blueprint. Scores of intellectuals have now written volumes on the subject of the fact that ONLY earth is constructed to sustain life on all its levels: micro, horticultural, animal, embryonic, humanity itself.
In the end, this man, replying to my daughter on her post, proved he also has a faith. It takes faith to trust in atheistic platforms.
I passionately point you to the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. A remarkable “thinkers” apologetics collection that stands alone in modern-day literature. If you want a challenge, a true honest challenge, concerning faith in Jesus and your personal expedient spiritually-connected moment, this is the book to order. Below is a small excerpt to sample.
“…You can shut him up (Jesus) for a fool, you can spit on him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Faith. I struggle with it. If you find a Bible believer, a Christian like myself, who says they have 100% faith all the time, 24/7 that never fails no matter what, I will show you a liar. Even the giants of the faithful in scripture, the Old Testament and New Testament characters listed, each and every one of them struggled with faith, each and every one of them. Look it up. Don’t take my word for it. The ancient texts state that only Messiah would have perfect faith, never disobedient and always in tune with God’s opera of His-story. I believe that to be Jesus, (Yeshua) from Nazareth, Israel. I had a faith (the condition of the mind and soul that holds up the hope that I hold to) prior to any “evidence” seen or experienced. In the beginning of this acceptance, this conversion, the only “evidence” I could list here, besides creation itself, would be God’s Spirit turning the light on in my spirit to see and learn of Him for Who He is. Afterwards, I was shown evidence, clear evidence that bolstered my faith in God throughout the following decades of my life. If none of that had ever happened, I too would be scouting out people of faith on social media, ready to do all I could to destroy their personal faith holding to any and all religions. It seems some do feel they are the knights of the night with orders to take Holy writ and use it as weapons against the readers, if at all possible. But be careful, unlike a construction saw, the Bible calls itself, “A two edged sword.” It will cut both ways.
As mentioned earlier, I struggle, even fail in my daily walk of faith. I will NOT be perfect here in this earth-suit I’m wearing, called skin. Fortunately for me, the scripture also tells me ahead of time to expect faith struggles and how normal it is for the sin-painted condition I was born with. Thank you, God! His grace, His unearned favor and aggressive love towards me, allows room for my failures. Again, look it up. Don’t take my word for it. I am under construction and it will be ongoing until I reach that final exit ramp. I can only arrive when there’s fuel for the race.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Jesus, Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)