Laura and I were sitting at breakfast on our last morning in the Dominican Republic with our new friend Dan Coker. Brother Dan has done as much work in missions than anyone we’ve ever met.
He has lived an extremely interesting life. I could sit and listen to his stories forever. The last story he told us was about an experience he had several years ago to Cuba. He needed a haircut so he went to visit a local barber. While sitting in the barber chair Dan began talking to the barber about Jesus (what a wonderful concept).
He talked to the barber about what it means to follow Jesus, about the need to be obedient to the Words of Jesus, and about giving your life completely to the Lord. When he was leaving the barber told Dan how much he appreciated his sharing the story of Jesus and how much it meant to him to hear the Gospel.
Then the barber told Dan that what he disliked most of the revolution in Cuba is, “They have taken away our faith!” Dan was so moved by what the barber said that he made a special trip back to take the barber some clothes and a few other items just so he could have another opportunity to talk to him about the Gospel.
Since hearing Dan’s story I can’t get that statement off my mind. “They have taken away our faith.” The Bible teaches us that we gain faith through listening to the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)
Many of us first hear that Word of faith from our parents and grandparents. God commanded the Israelite men to teach their sons and their grandsons His commands. (Deuteronomy 6:1-9)
Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of holding on to the faith that had been first in his grandmother and then in his mother. (2 Timothy 1:5) If that faith is what it should be we should allow it to also grow in us. (2 Timothy 1:5)
The writer of Hebrews gives us a wonderful definition of the faith we need in our hearts. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
The Scriptures clearly teach that a Christian can lose their faith. (Hebrews 6:1-6; 2 Peter 2:20-21) Our great goal as children of God is to make sure that we don’t allow anyone or anything to “take away our faith.”
We should not allow our family to take away our faith. Jesus teaches us that we cannot love our family more than we love Him. (Matthew 10:37-39)
We should not allow our friends to take away our faith. Any one who has friends is blessed. However, we need to be careful that we don’t value friendships more than we value the Lord.
We should not allow our careers to take away our faith. The Bible commands that we work, but we must put God above everything in our life including work. (Matthew 6:33)
We should not allow our hobbies or recreational activities to take away our faith. The Lord wants us to enjoy life (John 10:10), but too many Christians allow their hobbies and recreational activities to crowd out their faith.
We should not allow education to take away our faith. Knowledge is good and obtaining a good education is a worthy goal. Many wonderful Christian young people have lost that faith that was first in their parents and grandparents through secular education.
We should not allow our government to take away our faith. Paul reminded us that our citizenship (literally, our government) is in Heaven. (Philippians 3:20) Some Christians seem to be more concerned about politics in their country than they are about focusing on Heaven.
We should pray for our political leaders (1 Timothy 2:2) and we should obey our political leaders as long as they do not interfere with our faith (Romans 13:1-5). Our loyalty is always first to the Lord & His Kingdom. (Matthew 6:33)
We should not allow sin to take away our faith. David said, “Your Word have I treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11) Even though we will be tempted, God has promised that He will always provide a way for us to overcome the temptation. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
We should not allow our future to take away our faith. Thinking about and planning for the future is certainly a worthy goal. It is possible that we can become so consumed with the future that it distracts us from growing in our faith. Jesus said, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
Remember, there is nothing in this life that can separate us from God’s love for us (Romans 8:37-39). Therefore, every Christian should live with an attitude that says, “I will let nothing take away my faith!”
Dear Father, help us to hold tightly to the faith that we have learned. Help us to be sure that we protect our faith from anyone or anything that would attempt to remove it from us. Help us to never quit growing in our faith and to be willing to share our faith with others. In the Name of Jesus our Savior we pray, Amen.