Up first: faith!
After Monday night's tough loss to Tennessee, we questioned why we put so much faith in sports teams (especially Atlanta sports teams.. too soon?) and began Café by talking about things we put our faith in - be it your alarm clock in the morning, commuters on the interstate, cashiers at grocery stores, etc. The faith we put in these things and people can also be seen as what/who we choose to trust. What does it take for somebody/something to earn your trust? What makes someone trustworthy? Who do we trust most in our own lives?
We then looked to the Bible for examples of people who had shown great faithfulness and who had trusted that God was working and leading them into a better place.
Hebrews 11:1-4, 8-12, 39- 12:3This chunk of Scripture was written to encourage early Christians who were struggling to see why following Jesus was worth it. It was a reminder to look back and reflect on people who had been heroes of the faith - people who chose to trust in God, even when it wasn't easy - and the amazing things that resulted from their faithfulness.
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead...
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore...
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
With all this in mind, faith doesn't just come down to a quick system of beliefs, but rather a choice to follow based on who we believe God is... Jeremy talked about a friend of his who did not think highly of God because of baggage from her past. Seeing churches be hypocritical and seeing peers talk about God but then act like jerks did not sit well with her, so she neither liked nor trusted this God. Towards the end of her college years, though, she began asking questions about Christianity and decided to refer to God as Greg - a neutral name to her that didn't carry any negative connotations. After learning more and more about Greg, she realized they saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things and that they both cared a lot about people. It just took her calling him a different name to fully understand who God was, and to choose to follow Him.
So, what does this look like for us? Do we believe in God, and, if so, are we choosing to be faithful and follow Him? As Tech students, how are we choosing to follow God in our day-to-day lives? God doesn't promise that following Him will be easy but he does promise that it will be worth it, and the faith "hall-of-famers" named in Hebrews 11 are great examples of people we can try to emulate as we strive to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us".