Today’s reading is drawn from Hebrews 11:32-40.
WHAT IS IT LIKE to walk with God daily? To dispel some myths, I want to comment on four erroneous ideas about the Christian life. Each of these ideas is connected to a statement we have all heard at some time.
The first statement relates to passivity: “Christians are followers of Jesus, so they are always meek and mild and passive.” First of all, any misinformed person who believes this has the idea that Jesus Himself was always meek and mild and passive. They also believe that the Christian is never one to fight or to take a stand against something. Some writers and poets try to give us the idea that Jesus was a human doormat and has left that in His legacy for us to live out. Other religions have taught that passivity is a virtue, but Christianity does not. The Scriptures teach that there are some things worth fighting for.
Another common yet equally erroneous idea regarding Christianity says, “Christians are people of faith, so they never doubt. They’re never disillusioned. They’re always people of strong persistence.” The simple fact is that Christians are people—Christians fail. There are times that we worry rather than trust. There are times that doubt nearly consumes some of us. There are Christians in every generation who walk away from the faith, who choose not to trust the living God with their lives. Being a Christian is no guarantee that a person will not have periods of deep doubt and uncertainty.
The third myth is perhaps the most popular of the four: “They are Christians, so they must be perfect.” This comes with assumptions like these: Christians don’t cheat on exams. They don’t have bad tempers to control. They never bad-mouth their employers. They don’t eat too much. They never drink too much. They never act hypocritically. They always drive the speed limit. They always pay their bills on time. Any person who believes these things is set up for disillusionment. Don’t confuse forgiveness with perfection. Don’t make a person your model for life just because he or she is a Christian—that person is only human. Our sin nature has not yet been eradicated—we will not be what we should be until the Lord Jesus comes for us.
I think that one of the great moments of awakening will be when we all stand before Jesus in heaven and find some people there we didn’t think were going to be there—and when they look at us and are surprised that we’re there too.
Finally, the fourth erroneous idea, which ties in very closely with Hebrews 11, says, “Christians know God, so they are protected from tragedy and hardship.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no protective shield around the Christian. If you have a home that is located in an earthquake area and an earthquake strikes, your home, along with others, may fall. God “sends rain on the just and the unjust alike” (Matt. 5:45).
When you look at the lives of the saints described in Hebrews 11, you see that Christians are not given a free pass through life any more than anyone else. We simply have faith to walk through life’s calamities, looking to God’s promise in the person of Jesus Christ.
[call out text: We can have faith to walk through life’s calamities, looking to God’s promise in the person of Jesus Christ.]