We hear much about faith in church, but I think sometimes we get confused about what faith really is.  I wrote recently about the world’s view of what faith is.  From the 1998 animated movie The Prince of Egypt, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston sang the song “When you Believe.”  It was a beautiful song and beautifully sung, but the lyrics expose a worldly view of what faith is:

There can be miracles, when you believe
Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill
Who knows what miracles you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will
You will when you believe.

This song was more about human self sufficiency, strength of will, self esteem, and belief in self.  None of these things constitute the components of faith, nor do they give any power to real faith.  They are just things that people can do in their own strength, and unfortunately, there are not very many people that achieve much in their own strength.  We have believed in this nation for a long time in human self sufficiency and believed that we were able to do anything if we set our minds to it.  But so many of our great accomplishments were done with the help of God, and now, in the modern age, when we are too smart and capable to need God, when we have reached the pinnacle of our knowledge and technical power, we should be able to achieve anything if human power were enough.  Yet our economy is floundering, our educational institutions are decaying, with our children falling far behind other nations, many of our companies are financially shaky, requiring government handouts to succeed, and most of our political institutions are corrupt to the very core, incompetent, riddled with cronyism, etc.  We were once the shining “city that is set on a hill” (Mat. 5:14) that Ronald Reagan spoke of in his farewell address in January of 1989.  That was a very uplifting speech, but the glowing terms in which he spoke of about America could not be spoken today.

I believe that it is precisely because we began to believe in ourselves rather than God that our nation’s institutions have decayed so much.  If faith were simply an exercise in human will power or self esteem, then we would not be in the state that we are in.  As a nation, we still have tremendous resources, a highly educated people, and a good segment of the population who are still very motivated and willing to work.  So it begs the question, why are we floundering as a nation?  The only thing missing that was present throughout most of our nation’s history up until about the 1950’s was a belief that we were a “nation under God” and that we owed all our success to His help, to His wisdom, to His inspiration, and to His blessing of the increase of our work.  I have written before about the motto on our coins, “In God We Trust.”  The atheists, agnostics, and socialists would have us believe that this was just a recent phenomenon and came about because of a small segment of religious zealots during the mid 20th century.  But if you go to the Treasury Department’s own website, you will get the real story.  The history of this motto dates back to the Civil War and to the numerous requests from that time of citizens in a very devout Christian nation.  If you study the history of our nation from reliable, valid sources, you will find that our nation has been a deeply devout, Christian nation for most of its history.  It is only recently, in the pride of our financial, political, and military success that we have begun to shift our belief away from God and set it upon ourselves. 

If you read the Bible, you will find that faith is not belief in self.  In fact, the Bible teaches that it is foolish to believe in self.  Jeremiah 17:9 teaches us about the human heart:  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”   Moreover, the Bible teaches that our deeds done apart from God are worthless: “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away”  (Jeremiah 64:6).   I believe that America owes its greatness, success, and wealth to God, and that we owe our decay, corruption, and failure to our own pride in ourselves and the rejection of God.  But as I have written about before, actions have consequences.  Moral reciprocation has been written into the physical laws of our universe.  We know from Galatians 6:6-8 that we will most definitely reap back in rewards or consequences whatever we sow, and I believe the state of our nation is empirical proof of that reaping right now.  I look everywhere in the news and the news today is rarely good anywhere you look.  But we have only ourselves to blame.  There is certainly hope for our nation.  We know from 2 Chronicles 7:14, that if we turn back to God, then He will turn back to us, but the change must begin in each one of us.  We must stop looking to our human inspired solutions, stop looking to political solutions, and stop blaming others the state of the nation and start looking inward at our own hearts for the fault.  If we look inward and honestly admit the corrupt state of our own hearts, then we can begin to look upward to find redemption, healing, and love, and our nation can truly be healed starting with each of us as individuals. 

I pray that you will be guided today on the right path today to be in the center of God’s will

 


Comments

That is a quite powerful term used as title "when you believe", because that is a very powerful term used as making us believe on something to achieve it.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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