As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God‚’s work‚ which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1.3-5
So I guess people were coming up with all kinds of reasons why you could “prove” Christianity, or disprove it. Or sit around and promote controversies, like is Hell eternal suffering or annihilation? That’s what a lot of Christianity is based on today! oh no!
The word that caught my eye though, was faith. in v.4 that God’s work isn’t by myths or endless genealogies or by faith in a flat earth or proofs against evolution or prayer in schools or how many of us agree so it must be right: it’s by faith.
It makes sense that God’s work would be by faith, since salvation is by faith, and righteousness is by faith (Ro. 10.6), and we stand firm by faith (Ro 11.20), and we live by faith (Gal 2.20)
The thing that knocks me out of my chair though, is this statement about ‘sincere faith’ in v. 5.
My Hebrew/Geek dictionary defines that word sincere as “Being poor at the art of acting.” that is great. I just think about what that looks like. On the one hand, it’s real. It’s honest. Its doubts and troubles show.
The only problem is, I don’t see where that fits safely in the church today. We’ve been trained by American culture to follow a STRONG leader. A Washington standing on his boat crossing the Delaware, a Roosevelt charging up San Juan Hill, a pastor that knows no doubts or failures.
We’ve been trained that doubt=weakness, and mistakes=failure and so we don’t strive to be like Elijah, man of God, that was sometimes, YES, unsure of himself. Or Joshua, who before some battles was not sure if he was going to win or not. Or Moses, who didn’t really think he was cut out to do the job God called him to.
The most ironic thing is that I don’t even think I can be sincere on such a thing as a blog, because there isn’t even room for a “bad at acting” faith in a Christian Blog! Imagine how many people would get mad at me if I was myself and spoke from my heart with passion all the time, and was honest about being a work in progress that doesn’t always say the right thing! Oh God have mercy on us! May we allow each other to be bad actors and have real faith that is a little messy!