Faith Friday - Josh

I spent most days this summer interning alongside Josh; though I tend to pick on his school choice, I loved seeing how he pursued Christ. I spent every day being encouraged, and now continue to learn from him through his analysis of faith. Enjoy!  It has become ingrained in me to start every conversation or introduction with HOWDY so considering the unfortunate reality that we’re not all Aggies, I’m a little concerned how this intro will go. Oh well.

I’m Josh, and I am a grade “A” sinner. I struggle with pride, jealousy, selfishness, lust, fear, worry, doubts, anxiety, laziness, envy, idolatry, anger, and everything in between. I am about as jacked up, messed up, and broken as anybody out there. I am a sophomore at Texas A&M University and love to travel anywhere I can, I enjoy playing any kind of sport or game that’s ever been made up, my friends and family are fuel and keep me going. I am a huge advocate for excessive laughing, cute puppies and frequent naps, though, most importantly I am a son of God and have been saved by the blood of my savior, Jesus Christ.

Usually I can be found smiling, laughing, joking, and just being a total goofball, which is a big part of who I am. However those who know me best know that I truly love the quieter times and prefer to keep to myself. I have a huge admiration of leadership and pouring into people and in return being able to watch them thrive is one of the greatest joys to me. I often overthink and analyze every situation and try to understand why things are the way they are and why God arranged them in such a way. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve quickly discovered how little I know, and through my brokenness and confusion God has shined through and given me a passion for figuring stuff out.

So that’s who I am, and with that little background check out of the way, you hopefully understand how completely unqualified I am to be writing this. But this isn’t about me, it’s about “what faith means to me”, or at least that is what Lizzey wants this to be about… we’ll see if I get anywhere close.

This past summer, I was honored to be one of three interns at my Church back home, and by being around incredible God honoring men and women for 40+ hours a week, I was deeply inspired to pursue who God is. My goal was not to just know about God, but rather seeking to know him fully, so that he may permeate every facet of my life, spilling over into how I speak, think, and act. God never ceases to fulfil his promises to us. Seeking to draw nearer to him has paved the way for him to provide some of the most incredible friends and relationships, leadership and service opportunities, and indescribable joy and comfort that can only be found in being completely surrendered to God.  To begin, I set out to read C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”. This beast of a paperback stretched me to the brink of mental and spiritual capacity every time I opened the cover and in Lewis’ commentary, he addresses some of the largest and most difficult topics we humans can conjure up; predestination, God outside of time, the Trinity and how it functions, etc. One of the topics that was covered was faith, both in its simplistic, dictionary terms, and also what it means for Christians. God has used C.S. Lewis’ words to greatly transform my thoughts and influence the way I view life, so if you are curious as to where I get my opinions, look no further.

To be able to offer my thoughts of what faith means to me, I think it’s imperative to explore first what faith even is. Being the lazy college kid that I am my first reaction was to simply google it, and this is what my extensive, laborious research has uncovered. The first definition that google uses to define the word faith is “complete trust or confidence in someone or something” which really makes good sense.  I’m not sure why I was expecting something extravagant or hilariously false. Faith based off of the worlds standards fit that definition perfectly; trust or confidence in something or someone.

However, there is a tragic downfall to blissfully adopting this definition. Our faith is not just merely trusting or confidence in someone. We have no ordinary faith. Our faith is life changing and life giving, a faith that God the creator sent his son Jesus Christ to die a brutal death on the cross for our sins, past, present, and future. And that Jesus rose from the grave defeating hell, death, and sin and ascended into heaven but is coming back for us and those who believe in Him may have eternal life and live in perfect unity with Christ in heaven.

It’s a lot to sink in, but our faith is much more than what a dictionary or search engine says, our faith is a matter of eternal consequences, life and death are on the line. This is not an opinion of what faith is from my perspective…

This is what faith is.

Our faith is the result of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ wrapped up in a little 5 letter, 1 syllable word. A verse in the 3rd chapter of the gospel of John, one of the most common examples for explicitly laying out the purpose of Christ’s life, reads as this, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I’ve read and heard this verse so many times and I bet I’m not alone. The phrase “that whoever believes in him shall not perish…” is crucial to our walk with Jesus and while we’re talking about the word faith, we might as well examine the word used here, believe.

Contrary to popular belief, the New Testament was originally written in ancient Greek, not 21st century English. I did my homework and researched the translation of this verse, though focusing on the word believe. When translated, that word, believe, becomes a word called “pisteuōn” (πιστεύων). Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, but in the original language, it also means “faith”. This Greek word was special and is used 24 times in the Bible, each of them illustrating the relationship for which we have with Jesus Christ. Outside of our faith in Jesus, the word “pisteuōn” is not used, showing that this faith we have in Jesus does not apply to other circumstances or situations. Our faith in Christ all powerful, never ceasing, never failing, and far more certain than anything this world can offer.

But there’s more to this fascinating revelation. Since this unique faith of ours is greater than the world’s idea, it surely cannot originate from this broken Earth. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t! Our faith is a gift to us by Christ. He gives it freely and speaks through those who already have faith to seek out to those who do not yet have faith so that they too may believe in Christ, be redeemed, and experience the joy of eternal life as well. Our God has graciously given us the gift, and God has plans for us to utilize this gift so that we may enjoy complete satisfaction living a life not for ourselves, but for our perfect redeemer and King. I’m not the best at math, but I do understand that after adding these parts together, the result is that we should be encouraged. The Creator loves us enough to personally give us faith in his son Jesus Christ so that we may be fully equipped to do things according to his plans which are far better than anything we could even imagine. Be encouraged.

Writing this has been an incredible amount of fun, which is unusual for me, but I am very thankful for opportunity to share my thoughts on what faith means. I pray that all you people (Aggies and non-ags alike) would be reminded and encouraged by how graciously blessed and loved we are by Jesus Christ.

Gig’em and God bless

“Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”               (1st John 5:5)

Our faith is unique.

“By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

By the grace of God he gives us faith.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

(Joshua 1:9)

Be encouraged.

- Josh