I was very nervous on my first day as a seminary student. I was hoping that I could slip in and out without being noticed, so I found an empty table in the library before my first class.
Of course, the library filled up, and I wasn't alone for long. Two other students sat next to me and began to discuss the love of God.
The discussion soon turned into a debate. Then the debate turned into a heated argument. By the end, a third student had to intervene because these two guys were literally screaming at each other about the love of God.
I wish it was a bad dream, or a comedy routine. But it was real life. I went home and said to my wife Luella, "I want to drop out of seminary, because if this is what happens, I'm not interested."
What was happening? These Christian men had a massive contradiction between the faith they believed in and the way they lived their life.
Before we point the finger and thank God that we're not like them, let's admit that we too have inconsistency in our spiritual lives.
You see, it's very easy to declare our faith and state what we believe. But when the rubber meets the road at street-level in our Christianity, that's where our true faith is tested and exposed.
I love the way Hebrews 11 is written. When God wants to describe faith to us, he doesn't provide a seminary outline of beliefs; he gives us a collection of narratives.
True faith is about how you live your life out of the overflow of your heart, much more so than it is about what you believe with your brain.
Don't get me wrong: I love theology, doctrine, and academic study of the Bible. But the purpose of the Christian faith is transformation, not information.
When you embrace a lifestyle of faith, God will transform you from who you are into someone entirely different (see Isaiah 55). Your faith should transform you from a thorn bush into a cypress tree, from a brier into myrtle.
As I conclude this Wednesday's Word series on Hebrews 11, I would encourage you: please be dissatisfied with your faith.
Don't be dissatisfied with your Lord. Rather, find a healthy state of spiritual dissatisfication, knowing where you are right now and what's possible for you by faith.
In the days, weeks, months and years to come, keep returning to Hebrews 11. Use it as a mirror, and hunger for the faith that is described in these stories.
God loves us, accepts us, and forgives us when we have weak faith. Which is a lot! But he never stops inviting us to experience a stronger faith that will radically change our lives.
- How have you grown in your faith recently? Take time to celebrate how the Lord has strengthened and transformed you.
- Identify one area of inconsistency in your faith right now. Is there a contradiction between what you say you believe and how you live?
- Review the stories in Hebrews 11 again. Pick a narrative to meditate on and ask the Lord to teach you something new, or remind you of a forgotten truth.