The Fallacy of Faith

If you were driving your car and you were about to have a wreck, your natural inclination would be to tighten up and grip the steering wheel. If you were riding in a boat and you all of a sudden hit a big wave, you would tightly clench the seat cushion so you wouldn’t fall out of the boat. If you were riding a roller coaster and you suddenly experienced a steep drop, you would hang on tightly to the bar because your instincts would tell you it is the safe thing to do.

Life’s situations are not much different.  When your situation in life gets tough, when you are afraid or anxious, when you don’t know what to do, and when you feel pain or stress – your tendency is to tense and tighten up. Your first impulse is to make something happen, try to change your situation, or try to compel those around you to change. To walk with God through your trial however, you must learn to do an opposite action.

In the 1970’s, there was a television ad for Nestea. The commercial showed a tired and sweaty guy drinking a cold glass of iced tea while he fell backwards into a pool of water. “Take the Nestea plunge”, was the slogan for Nestea during this ad campaign. Taking the Nestea plunge is the exact motion we do in our hearts when we exercise faith. However, we’ve been taught that faith is the opposite of falling backwards.

It is more common to think of faith as a forceful action, as opposed to letting go and releasing. We often believe that in order to have faith, we must hold on tightly to spiritual ideas. Faith is not holding on. It is letting go.

Heb 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Faith is not making something true that is not true. Faith is letting go to what is already true. To force, to grasp, to try to create something are all opposite actions of faith. Repeating a certain truth over and over to yourself, chanting the promises of God, or trying to make yourself believe something is not usually faith. The letting go action of trust is something that occurs in your heart. Faith has little to do with knowing the truth in your head.

“And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mar 4:35-40

The disciples were in the physical presence of Almighty God. Jesus created the sea, the wind, and the weather. The creator and inventor of the entire scene was right there with the disciples in the boat, yet they were still afraid of the storm. When you are with the Lord there is no reason to be afraid. Even if the storm kills you, you can die in the peace and the joy of your Master. Your weak and frail body can easily be destroyed (and it will be one day). You can be accused, misunderstood, and ridiculed by other people. You may not be able to pay your bills, you may starve to death, you may freeze from the cold, or you may be persecuted and tortured for your faith. But your heart can remain calm in the warmth and safety of love.

“In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psa 56:11

God does not need your self-effort. He does not want you to try. He wants you to die.
Actively trusting God is a paradox. The activity of letting go and trusting seems like it is a cop-out to the religious flesh. It seems like it is ignoring “what you should be doing”. However, faith is quite the opposite of doing nothing. Faith requires activity in the heart. It is an active and aggressive action to relax and fall backwards into the pool.

We often think we are having faith by standing on the edge of the pool while we remind ourselves that there is a pool, yet we do not fall into it. Knowing THAT God loves you is very different from receiving and experiencing His love. Faith is much more than just acknowledging the truth in your mind. It is letting go to the truth in your heart. We also think we are having faith while we stand on the edge of the pool fretting, worrying, and obsessing over our problems with God. Somehow we think that our fixation is helping the problem, but our hearts remain troubled. You are invited to cast your cares upon Him, because He cares for you. Another fallacy of faith is when we run around the edge of the pool disparately trying very hard to get wet. The letting go action of trust is the ONLY connecting element between you and God. We must learn to fall backwards into the pool of Christ and His love.

The action of letting go in the heart throughout all the different areas and situations of life can take a long time to learn. Your natural inclination is to do the opposite. In many of life’s situations, you simply do not see how you are clenching and holding on.

God won’t force you to trust Him. Reading a nice article about trust won’t make you trust either. You will have to give yourself to it. Go ahead and practice. Relax that heart of yours that stays so tightly clenched. Release your strong opinions. Let go of your fear. Give up on changing your spouse. Stop obsessing about money. Your Father loves you. That’s all you really need to know right now. You don’t have to wait for a trial to learn how to let go inside. You can relax your heart right now into God’s love and care for you. You have His attention. You are the apple of His eye. Enjoy your Father’s love for you right now. And when the trials do come, you will be well accustomed to trusting your Father from the heart.

“Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” Heb 4:11

-Terry Stanley

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