Unpacking Crazy Faith…

What is “crazy faith”? For me, it means many things. One, it means trusting God in the midst of the craziness that can sometimes be my life. For another, it means believing the crazy idea that God would be born in human flesh,  be born as a baby, grow up as a man, be crucified for the sins of the world, and three days later rise up from the grave. For yet another, it means believing that Jesus would forgive me, and offer me the opportunity to be reconciled to my heavenly Father. And, for yet another, it means believing that God could, would and desires to use me in the building of His Kingdom. Now, that’s crazy, I tell you. Pure crazy!crazy faith

I hope I have a crazy faith. I want desperately to believe that He can use me, that He does use me, even when I can’t (or don’t) see it. In my last blog, I listed five characteristics of “crazy faith.” There is nothing scientific about the characteristics. They’re just things I’ve discovered in my own life as I’ve attempted to live the life of faith.

1. Crazy faith doesn’t have God in a box.

If I’ve learned nothing else in my life, I’ve learned that just about the time I have God figured out, I don’t. Think back to the Garden of Eden. The first temptation the serpent offered to Adam and Eve was the temptation to “be like God, knowing everything.” Guess what? That temptation is still with us today. We like to nail everything down, put everything into neat little boxes. That way we can control every situation. The quest for knowledge is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. After all, it was God who gave humanity the directive to till the soil, and to name the animals. God was laying the foundation for the scientific enterprise, and the exploration of His creation helps us to fulfill the task appointed to us by God Himself.

But the great mistake we make is to make God a part of His creation. God is not a part of the creation. God is wholly other, and therefore, God can never be the subject of scientific investigation. God is not some riddle or mind puzzle that can be solved with enough thought and reflection. God is a mystery, and mystery that is solved ceases to be a mystery. God is a mystery to be adored rather than a riddle to be explained. All we can ever know about God is what God chooses to reveal to us. Beyond that, God will always remain a mystery. As long as God is in our box, we’ll not see the miracles He does on a daily basis. We’ll also not see His power revealed in our lives. With God in a box, we’ll never have “crazy faith.”

2. Crazy faith doesn’t always follow the rules.

If you’re like me, you grew up thinking following Christ was about keeping rules. Don’t do this…do that! You know, like go to church every Sunday, read my Bible every day, pray, don’t work on Sunday (or in those days, play ball on Sunday, or go fishing on Sunday, or…). I knew others who thought being a disciple meant wearing your hair a certain way, or not wearing a certain type of clothing. For still others, it meant no smoking, no drinking, or no (well, you fill in the blank). And, no, I’m not advocating for drinking or smoking. I’m just saying I came to see discipleship as a list of rules to keep, as though I could check them off my list (both do’s and don’ts) and everything would be okay.

I’ve discovered that Jesus came to change the rules. As a matter of fact, he spent three years in ministry to do just that. We know Jesus healed on the Sabbath (see Mark 3:1-6), and we know it was Jesus who criticized the scribes and Pharisees for their being so rule-bound they were actually keeping people from discovering the Kingdom (see Luke 11:37-54). I also remember Jesus telling a bunch of Pharisees that it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth (i.e., blessings and cursings–see Matthew 15:1-20).

Okay, so I don’t know so much that Jesus changed the rules, but he sure offered some clarity in interpreting them. The greatest rule…the most important rule…is the rule of love. Love God and love others. Oh, and another thing I’ve discovered: Love doesn’t always look like or act like I think it should. All I have to do is look at the cross to prove that point. Any questions? Refer back to characteristic number one!

3. Crazy faith isn’t shackled by the fear of failure.

The greatest failure in life is the failure to try. I’ve told my congregations many times that I’m not afraid the fail, I’m afraid not to try. We hosted the Global Leadership Summit from Willow Creek Community Church, and the most compelling thing I heard was from Craig Groeschel, who said, “If we want to reach people no one else is reaching, we have to do things no one else is doing.” We have to risk failure to see God do miracles in our midst. We have to risk getting out of our comfort zone to reach others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must risk rejection. We must risk resources. We must risk failure. If we’re unwilling to risk it all, we really don’t have “crazy faith.”

4. Crazy faith believes it’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission.

See #3 above.

5. Crazy faith is driven by passion, not success.

Crazy faith is passionate about following Jesus. Crazy faith is also about wanting to see others come to experience the depth of love and abundant grace that only comes in a relationship with Jesus Christ. What is passion? Someone once said that passionate is just one step short of crazy. I say, maybe it’s all the way! Passion is what drives us. Passion means we do what we do because we love doing it, not because there’s a monetary reward waiting at the other end. I’m passionate about preaching. I love to preach. It’s why I get out of bed every morning. It’s why I do what I do. It’s why I endure the challenges of vocational ministry. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t preach. I’m crazy about preaching. I’ve always believed there are two types of preachers in the world: Those who can’t do ANYTHING else, and those who CAN’T do anything else. I hope I’m in the second category (think about it a minute–you’ll get it!).

In the same way, to have crazy faith means we have to be passionate about being Christ-like. We simply CAN’T do anything else–we can’t find meaning, we can’t find purpose, we can’t find rest–but pursue Him in ways that transform us, and ultimately transform the world. Yes, it makes us a bit crazy!

So, there you have my understanding of what it means to possess a “crazy faith.” They may not mean much to you, and if so, you can simply call me crazy. It’s a label I’ll gladly wear.

Until next time, keep looking up…

 

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