FIRST-PERSON: Living a solid rock faith
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)--Almost everybody knows how the Jeopardy game on TV works: I’ll give you an answer, and you give me the question that goes with it.
Here’s the answer: “The geographical landmark, standing like a sentinel where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea, that a major financial services company has used as a logo for years.”
If you said, “What is the Rock of Gibraltar?” you are correct. The Rock of Gibraltar stands guard over the Strait of Gibraltar, the eight-mile-wide neck of water that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea. The Strait of Gibraltar was the only way into or out of the Mediterranean Sea prior to the construction of the Suez Canal in 1869.
In what location would you have the most confidence building a house -- on top of the Rock of Gibraltar or clinging to the side of the California coastline? You’ve seen news footage of million dollar homes sliding into the Pacific whenever we have heavy rains. I’ll take the Rock any day. My confidence would be unshakeable living on that kind of foundation.
Jesus talked about living with confidence when he drew a comparison between a house built on bedrock and one built on dirt (Luke 6:46-49). The houses Jesus referred to actually represented two different kinds of life. The life built and lived with confidence is the life built on the teachings of Jesus. The shaky life is one built while ignoring the Son of God and the eternal truths He came to reveal.
When your faith is challenged by disturbances or detractors, how high is your confidence level: at rest on a solid limestone foundation, or holding on for dear life as the mud and rocks erode from beneath you?
When King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to burn Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to death in a fiery furnace, here is what they said: “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
Now that’s confidence -- not arrogance, sarcasm, rebellion or insubordination, but confidence.
First, “our God ... is able.” Our God is able. Do you have that kind of confidence in God? Note that they didn’t presume to know whether God would deliver them. But they were 110 percent confident that He could.
Second, “we do not serve your gods.” No panic, no alarm, no insecurity, no fear -- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were three confident young men.
At a bare minimum, a rock-solid faith is built on these four realities:
1. You will never be confident if you don’t know the Word of God. The Bible is full of “great and precious promises” which tell us we are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
2. You will never be confident if you do not know your heavenly Father intimately. Jesus said that eternal life was to know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom [He has] sent” (John 17:3).
3. You will never be confident if you don’t invest your time, talent, and treasure in pursuing the kingdom of God. Paul lived with such confidence because he “[pressed] on ... toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12, 14).
4. You will never be confident unless you prove to yourself that you really believe. The more you hear yourself sharing Christ ... the more you’ll realize, “Hey, that’s me out there living confidently for Christ.”
Know the Word, know the Father, invest yourself and get in the game. Practice those principles, and you will become a confident, Gibraltar-like Christian.
Gibraltar has been standing tall for centuries, but you’ll stand tall for all eternity when your faith becomes as solid as a rock.
David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and chancellor of San Diego Christian College (formerly Christian Heritage College). For more information on Turning Point, visit www.TurningPointOnline.org.