Summary: God’s word to Habakkuk: "The rightous will live by their faith" has been the source of renewal and reformation throughout the ages.
Instructions For Living:
“Live By Faith!”
We are living by faith. I can say this about all people today regardless of our religious preferences, our acceptance or denial of the existence of God, and without knowing anyone’s understanding of God’s Word. All people are living by faith. The question is, “What do you have faith in? In whom are you placing your faith today?” Are you living by faith in yourself? Are you a survivor -- placing your confidence in your ability to survive the pitfalls, challenges, and trials of everyday life? Are you a good moral person -- confident in your ability to do the “right” thing even when the pressure to take a short cut presses in on you? Are you a self-made man or woman? Do you look at what you have “achieved” in this life and stand in amazement at your brilliance, ingenuity, and passionate determination? Are you connected – having powerful and influential friends that you can call upon for most any need that you could ever have in life? Are you the captain of your own soul? Are you the master of your own fate? The 18th century English poet, William Ernest Henley, expressed this kind of unconquerable confidence when he wrote his famous poem, Invictus. Henley writes,
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul. (William Ernest Henley)
Throughout history there have been legions in every generation who claimed to be the captain’s of their own soul, the makers of their own destiny. They had faith in nothing, nor anyone, but themselves. One of the most well known spokesmen for this resistance to God was the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the man who proclaimed, “God is dead.” Nietzsche saw no value in placing faith in God. His passion in life was to eradicate faith in everything except himself. He once wrote,
The strong individual...has the strength to recognize--and to live with the recognition--that the world is valueless in itself and that all values are human ones. He creates himself by fashioning his own values; he has the pride to live by the values he wills. (Friedrich Nietzsche)
Nietzsche’s descendants are still with us. Just last weekend there was a gathering at the Mall in Washington, a place where I once gathered with my sons, some of the men of this church, and one million other men from across the country for the purpose of crying out to God in prayer. The gathering this past weekend was for a different purpose. Those who gathered in Washington labeled their day at the Mall – “The Godless Americans March on Washington.” An article from Sunday’s Washington Times reported on the event by saying,