Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. – 1 Peter 1:13-21
Imagine yourself high up on a trapeze swing. There is a net below you in case you fall off. The net is strong and well-secured. It will hold you and prevent you from falling to the ground, saving your life. Your faith may be very weak. You may wonder whether or not you’ll be safe. But you entrust your wellbeing to the net’s care. Your faith may be weak, but if the net is strong, you will be safe should you fall.
Now imagine this same scenario with one key and critical difference. The net to which you entrust your wellbeing is poorly constructed and made of inferior materials. I won’t even hold the weight of a bowling ball if it would be dropped. No matter how strong your faith may be, a faulty net will not save you.
Faith is only as strong as its object. Faith is fully as strong as its object. The strength of our faith is not in how strongly we hold it in our hearts – though that will certainly impact the manner and frequency with which we engage our faith.
There are many ways in which we are tempted to turn away from the true source of hope and rescue. So many ways to be drawn off the path of following Jesus. So our course of faithfulness – and the source of a strong faith – are founded upon looking constantly to the object of our faith – Jesus Christ.
Consider his credentials and accomplishments: he is the lamb without blemish that was sacrificed for the sins of the world and who was raised from the dead. He has redeemed us; bought us back from sin and Satan’s power, and from futile faith and false hope.
Keeping our passions in check and focusing on God’s word and promise will serve us well, and bolster our faith and keep our hope alive.
Note about the Bougainvillea Photo
Look closely at the edge of the white flower in the photo above and you will notice a tinge of red around the edge of the blossom. The first time I took a close-up photo of a bougainvillea plant, I noticed this faint red tinge around the edge of the white flower. I wondered if it was a digital artifact that my camera had falsely captured. Diane, my wife, encouraged me to take a closer look. So I took a magnifying loop outside and examined the white flower (the red on a bougainvillea plant are bracts (like the red on a poinsettia). Sure enough: there is actually a tinge of red on the tips of the bougainvillea flowers. Now you know…it’s not a digital artifact, but a delightful bonus of God’s creative glory!