In part one I ended with the following questions. “So what is the cause of this inequality in the family of faith? Why do we in America follow Jesus differently than others in the family of God around the world? Is it because God has blessed America? Who really are the blessed ones?”
When I speak of the family of faith I am speaking of the worldwide body of Christ. To understand why there is such a huge difference in faith, conduct, love and devotion in certain parts of the body of Christ, it will take everyone of us testing ourselves and seeing what kind of faith we posses.
First we have to ask ourselves what is the condition of our faith? One of the interesting facts is the more faith is tried and tested the more genuine it becomes. So when we live in an environment that is pleasant, easy, and satisfies our personal sensitivities, then our faith will simply find rest in those things and become somewhat stagnant. As a Christian we may have seasons of personal revival or awakening but the surroundings will sooner or later mesmerize us into a lull again. I am a perfect example of this and can relate completely.
We humans by nature will always default to choices that fit our personal preferences. When a person is put into a situation where they have no choice and their faith is tested then the sincerity of that faith is realized. The Apostle Peter writes,
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” ~ 1 Peter 1:6-9
Why is it important to know the outcome of our faith? Why do we need to know if our faith is genuine and sincere? According to Peter’s words we need to know the outcome of our faith so that we can obtain the fullness of salvation at the appearing of Jesus Christ. The faith that is sincere will be a faith that is active and functions with a consuming love for God and each other. The fruit of this kind of faith will result to the praise, glory and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will never know how deep and wide our faith is until it is tested and tried.
So the inequality of faith in the body of Christ seems to be determined by the degree that faith is tested. This is why in America where our culture is relatively persecution free, you can call for a prayer meeting and a very small number will attend, but in other parts of the world where faith is under constant attack you will see a much different response. Those Christians will make every sacrifice to gather together and pray every single day, even multiple times a day. In faith communities where they live under persecution the level of devotion to Christ sky rockets and personal sacrifices are an everyday occurrence. When Christians daily live with persecution for their faith, priorities radically change, hearts are in a continuous state of humility, and devotion to Christ is without question even unto death.
Now this raises the next question, who really are the blessed ones in the worldwide family of God? If you judge by the outward appearance you would quickly acknowledge that the western world is without doubt blessed by God. We are the great church of the world. We make more money, we give more money, we build some of the greatest buildings known to man, we have accumulated far more resources for our enjoyment and the enjoyment of all who will come. Christianity in the western world has evolved into a kingdom with the best education, doctorates, professors, and even church planters who have the marketing skills that can build huge networks of people who have repeated a prayer to follow Jesus in a short amount of time. So by all means the answer is plain before us. Or is it? To be continued.
And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” ~ Luke 18:28-30