“For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5
What adjectives would you use to describe your faith? Strong? Weak? Bold? Easily shaken? The apostle Paul used the word firm. Strong’s defines firm as “that which furnishes a foundation on which a thing rests firmly.” Webster’s gives the following definitions: securely or solidly fixed in place; not weak or uncertain; having a solid or compact structure that resists stress or pressure; not easily moved or disturbed.
What the apostle Paul rejoiced in was the firmness of the Colossians’ faith. It was a solid faith, not easily moved or disturbed. It was a faith that was foundational to the entirety of life; substantial and able to provide strength and support. If this type of faith is desirable, how can such a faith be obtained? Many times in my own life I have felt faith-deficient. My faith has seemed small as I have battled various fears and dealt with unanswered prayers. My faith has seemed weak when compared to others who appeared to have no difficulty believing God for impossible things. Oh how I have desired to have a firm faith, but it was seemingly beyond my grasp. I had not been able to comprehend the secret to obtaining such a faith.
But the secret to firm faith is revealed in the rest of the verse and it is the same secret that energizes the whole of the Christian experience. It is these two words – in Christ.
As is so often the case, my struggles are due to a misplaced base of operations. I have a tendency to look in myself for the strength, determination, faith, commitment, etc., that are necessary to live victoriously as a Christian. All too often my level of faith corresponds to my perception of my performance at that moment. For instance, have I prayed long enough? Have I read an adequate number of chapters of the Bible? Have I behaved appropriately today? The foolishness of this is not always so readily apparent, but a few moments of careful reflection would reveal the absurdity of such a thing. The apostle Paul said “in my flesh dwells no good thing.” And “in Him we live and move and have our being.” Consequently, looking to my own efforts to produce a firm faith will always be futile, for I am only capable of producing a flawed and weak product.
But when I look to Christ, I find in Him I have a faith that is strong because it is placed in an infinitely strong object. In Him I find a faith that endures because day by day He renews my strength. So often, after my frenzied efforts to work myself up into faith, I find that all I can do is collapse at His feet, spent and weary. It is at those moments that I hear Him say “Come unto me and I will give you rest.”
And He will give strength, and He will give faith. A firm, enduring faith.
In Christ – He is the source of my faith, He is the object of my faith. The beginning and the end. The alpha and omega. The yes and amen.
This is the foundation I want my life to rest upon.
This morning I am waiting for Gustav to make landfall. I live about 80 miles from New Orleans and we are expecting hurricane force winds here within the next few hours. Last night there was a tornado sighting alarmingly close to where I am.
I have been battling fear.
This morning the Lord comforted me with this verse: “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything” Philippians 4:5b-6a
The Lord is at hand. All is well.
Pray for us on the Gulf Coast.