A living, daring confidence in God
Published 9:35 am Friday, April 15, 2016
Across the Pastor’s Desk, By Joshua Enderson
Faith is one of those words that we often use a lot, both in a religious setting and in our wider world. It can have so many different nuances and meanings. I think Martin Luther, the 16th Century reformer and founder of the Lutheran Church, gave us a simple and interesting way to understand this word. He wrote this about faith: “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake their life on it a thousand times.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 35, p. 370) Faith allows us to live boldly in the world and to trust boldly in God’s grace as well. Let’s take a moment to unpack Luther’s statement.
Faith is a living confidence. I’m sure that we’ve all experienced a dead confidence at one time or another in our lives. We are told we must believe this or that simply because everyone else does. We follow along, not really stopping to think about and wrestle with what we are being asked to believe in. A living confidence is not like this. It is dynamic, it is vibrant, and it is something that invites us into a conversation. We are able to boldly say, “Yes, I believe and trust in this,” because we have found this faith to be true in our lives. Confidence that is dead will often fail us when times get tough. But, a living confidence in God’s grace, something that has been tested and tried, will be there for us. It is able to bring life into our lives when all else seems to have left us. That is a living confidence.
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Faith is a daring confidence. Faith allows us and calls us to be bold with God’s grace. But, it is often a lot easier to play it safe with our faith. We think we’ve got everything figured out for ourselves. We’re safe. We’re in no danger. But, Luther tells us that there is another angle to faith, an angle that calls on us to push our faith to its limits. It calls on us to speak to that person who desperately needs to hear that there is hope in her life. It calls on us to reach out and help and love our neighbor in need, regardless of how different they may be from us. If you take a look at all of the great accomplishments throughout history, you’ll notice one thing in common: Playing it safe wasn’t enough.
There was always risk involved! I believe faith should always involve a little risk as well. That is a daring confidence.
What Luther is telling us is that faith isn’t just something that we accept and then tuck it away. It is a great gift from God, one that is to be shared. It is something that is living, vibrant and energized in us. And, it cries out to be active, to be daring in our world.
Joshua Enderson is the pastor at Hayward and Trondhjem Lutheran churches.