Tag: faith

Not always easy … but always worth it

By Jody Bennett
People might think that being a Christian is easy, a crutch that gets you through your traumas, a Father Christmas in the sky to pray to, a list of dos and don’ts that you do your best to follow but get forgiveness for when you fail.
However, as a Christian of several decades, I can tell you Christianity is not for cowards; being a Christian requires you to do some very, very hard stuff.
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Don’t worry!

Published April 2020

BE anxious for nothing. This is one of the strangest commandments in the Bible.

First of all, there is an awful lot to be anxious about – coronavirus for a start; climate change, child abuse, domestic violence, North Korea, species extinction, incoming asteroids, financial disaster, difficult relationships, online bullying, weight gain … You name it and we can worry about it!

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Facing up to failure

Published October 2017

IN the last issue Challenge led with the Christian testimony of actor Chris Pratt. The same month, just after we went to press, the story broke that Chris and his wife, Anna Farris are splitting up. Rumour has it Jennifer Lawrence may be involved. While it is a credit to the pair that their spilt does not seem to be acrimonious, and they haven’t actually said they are divorcing yet, it is disappointing news.
Disappointing because as soon as someone “comes out” as a Christian, people expect perfection and are intolerant of any moral failure on their part.

However, as I heard expressed recently, if we expect to find sick people in a hospital, we should expect to find broken people in a church – it is a place where those who have acknowledged their own failures and their need for a higher power, are able to go to find forgiveness and healing. Church is not a place for perfect people and anyone who has had anything to do with Christians will admit that most of them are far from it.

So then, what is the good of faith? Well, it may not make us perfect (this side of eternity) to become followers of Jesus, but it certainly makes us better than we would be relying on our own resources. Many people CAN testify how turning their lives over to God has set them free from addictions, restored relationships, mended marriages and broken chains of the past. However, for most people these things do not happen instantly and each Christian is on a journey called sanctification that is taking us towards perfection and will continue our whole lives.

For those outside the church the failure of Christians to live up to their doctrines should be a powerful reminder that it is not Christians who should be idolised and worshipped, no matter how saintly or successful they may seem, but it is their God who should be worshipped … because the God of the Bible is indeed perfect, unchanging, completely reliable, absolutely trustworthy and morally incorruptible.

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Who can you trust?

By Alan Bailey

THERE was a time when trusting others was normal. We had faith in human nature to a point. Institutions were solid, having our confidence. A saying was “as safe as a bank.”

But now the banks have let us down. Whatever next? A recent royal commission has revealed that banks have drawn money from accounts of deceased people over a period of years; they have maintained insurance policies that were worthless, and by various shady deals have taken money from clients who have been unaware.

Sadly, the word of another is getting harder to believe, making cynicism and distrust the emerging forces of today. The media is keeping us informed of scams and swindles and rackets and rorts. Meantime, our faith in human nature is taking a nosedive. Little wonder the average person is unimpressed by political rhetoric, hard sell and televangelists.

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Mad Hatter Faith

One of the most convincing arguments for Christianity for me is how bizarrely counter-intuitive it is. It is a crazy Alice in Wonderland religion that turns “normal” ideas on their head!

What person would have been able to invent a religion where paradox is paramount? Where the more you give, the more you gain? Where the rich are poor and the poor are rich? Where dying (to yourself) is living and living (to yourself) is dying? Where you have to give everything up to gain the whole world? Where you treat your enemies like your friends, instead of exacting revenge on them? Where you love those who hate you and hate those who love you? (The last in the context of loving Christ Jesus so much that you are willing to disregard or abandon those you love to follow His will.)

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