Summary: This message looks at how our faith affects the choices we make in life.
Who is to Blame? The statements below are taken from actual insurance accident claims forms.
I left for work this morning at 7am as usual when I collided straight into a bus. The bus was 5 minutes early. (Clearly the bus’s fault!)
I knew the dog was possessive about the car but I would not have asked her to drive it if I had thought there was any risk. (How could he have known?)
The accident happened because I had one eye on the truck in front, one eye on the pedestrian, and the other on the car behind. (Clearly God’s fault – more eyes needed!)
No one was to blame for the accident but it would never have happened if the other driver had been alert.
We live in a culture of blame instead of personal responsibility. The bible is different in that it very much supports personal responsibility for the choices and decisions we make. I like what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” I want us to see the impact of faith on the choices we make from the example of Moses and his parents. Because it seems to me that the common thread in this section of Hebrews 11 is that they made certain choices because of faith.
1. Faith chooses courageously
Faith chooses courageously, makes brave choices, it doesn’t give in to fear. Moses’ parents could have reasoned, as did most other parents at that time that it would be better to play it safe, the child would be sacrificed so that the rest of the family would survive. To keep the child endangered the whole family. But they believed that he was a special child for whom God had a great purpose and did not give in to fear and defied the king’s decree. That was a risk. It was a brave choice; their faith led them to make it. Adrian Rogers tells about the man who bragged that he had cut off the tail of a man-eating lion with his pocketknife. Asked why he hadn’t cut off the lion’s head, the man replied: "Someone had already done that."
What about you in your life, when was the last time you stepped out in faith and did something risky, challenging or just different? Sooner or later faith will mean having to do something that will challenge us, something that is different, even if that is just speaking to someone about Jesus, or becoming a Christian, or tithing etc. What will you do to get out of your comfort zone?
What they did not do was give in to fear. Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear – Mark Twain. Sometimes we are afraid, but as some of you will have heard me say and my family have heard me say many times – being afraid is not a reason not to do something – if it’s the right thing DO IT SCARED! The more you do it the less scary it gets. When I started preaching I found it terrifying, I would feel sick, I thought how could I do this for the rest of my life and survive. But I did it – scared. Now I may get nerves I love doing it. Courage is doing it scared. Whatever it is, making the decision to become a Christian, stepping into a new area, job, speaking out etc. Perhaps it is time to take a step of faith, a bold and courageous step.
2. Faith chooses the right way not the easy way
This next point is true of Moses and his parents, but it is Moses who exemplifies it in particular in the way he chose to be identified with his suffering people rather than as a prince. There was an easy path and a much harder one – he chose the road less travelled. There is relevance here to the fundamental decision about becoming a Christian or not. Jesus spoke about the broad road and the narrow one. Many people find the broad road, less the narrow – but it is this one that leads to life. Faith chooses the right way, even though less people choose it. Sometimes that means choosing the path of honesty even if that costs us, of integrity, of faithfulness etc. It may be easier to lie, to cheat, and to clamber over other people – but it is not right. When you have faith in God you do what is right even if it disadvantages you because you know God is looking on and is pleased.