Good day to you. If you have ever met a successful business man you have most likely noted that the successful ones are the ones that present themselves as confident. It only makes sense. Who in their right mind would invest their money in a company where the business owner was filled with doubt? They have to appear as if they believe they own the most successful business in the world so they project this image of confidence and success. In truth, their business may be propped up by tooth picks but you will never know it by talking to them. I hope its not too harsh to say but, some peoples' faith is like that.
People sometimes prop up their belief in Jesus for various reasons. One reason may be because they are too busy to explore the Scriptures for themselves so they rely solely on someone's teaching. This can lead to a lot of falsehoods simply because they did not understand what was being taught. Another reason may be that they have never really had an encounter with Jesus. Many people sit in churches knowing of Jesus but do not actually know him. It is a system of beliefs instead of a personal relationship. Still another reason may be that they only trust God so far. They are willing to trust with the little things but when it comes to big things, like finances and health, they would rather trust man. These are just a few of the reasons why people use props but there are many more.
In recent years we have seen what happens when a storm hits a company, or series of companies, that are propped up by tooth picks.The wind hits and the whole thing comes crumbling down and lives get destroyed. Companies that were not a good investment made it appear, through props, as if they were. It is again the same thing with people who have propped up their faith. When the storms of life hit, and they will, the whole thing comes tumbling down because they relied on their props instead of Jesus. People have a great appearance, they show confidence in the Lord, they say all the right words, but when it is challenged by life there is no strength to stand up under it.
It is for this reason that we cannot treat our relationship with Jesus in any other manner than it being the first priority of our life. We must approach this with all our energy and passion. We have to be 100% sold out to Jesus or we will never make it to the end of the race. Without this constant desire one of those storms will hit and blow us right off the track. In this matter I think the Apostle Paul's life is worth examining to learn from him. The reason is because I think we can all agree that he is one of the most tragic figures in the Scriptures and yet we would never know in knowing him. He faced more storms, severe storms, than we ever will, but each one made him stronger instead of weaker. The reason is simple: Jesus was his everything.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. vs. 7-11
As a young man Paul had every appearance of confidence. All of his props were in the right place and he was headed to great success in his life. Then he had an encounter with Jesus that revealed to him that everything he thought was important in life was actually garbage compared to knowing Jesus. His goals changed so that the only desire he had was to know Jesus and everything that comes with knowing him; resurrection power, shared suffering, dying to self, receiving new life. This became Paul's life, his purpose, his greatest desire. It was certainly not a part time pursuit, a hobby of any sort. It was a full time passion that burned hot within him so that when the storms hit Paul grew in the experience instead of falling away.
The fact is, unless your passion for knowing Jesus surpasses every other passion in your life, you are living by props. This passion must be all consuming so that everything you do is done for his glory; everything you touch becomes a thing focused on Jesus; all your words lead back to him. He becomes your all in all, your everything. You have confidence in no other thing, not relationships, work, bank accounts, or health. Your passion must be of the magnitude that all these things can be stripped from you and you will still be found confident of your relationship with Jesus. Singing songs will not sustain you. Reading words will not sustain you. Listening to great sermons will not sustain you. Hours of praying will not sustain you. Only knowing Jesus and desiring to want to know him more will stand the test of time and the storms of life.
If in your examination of self you discover that you are not what you thought you were and you have many props in place instead of faith in Jesus, ask to start over again. Ask for the Spirit to break you, to remove all the props so you can start from the beginning and do it right. Let's get the foundation right so that the whole building, our life, can be built in actual strength instead of a facade. Not an easy thing to do if you have been walking like this for a while but it is so much better to face it now then in the middle of a storm that will blow you away. Make it your passion to know Jesus, and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.