Working with high school students, I see a lot of youth with sports injuries. I can name a long list of students who have torn their ACL, “blew out their knee”, or “tore up their shoulder”. Not too many years ago, each of these included going “under the knife” with a beautiful scar to show everyone when you finished. Today, however, these, along with so many other surgeries, are accomplished through non-invasive means. Often just a simple little cut where a surgical tool can be inserted, and then like a giant video game, the doctor performs the procedure watching a monitor while guiding the work with a joy stick.
Given an option of invasive vs. non-invasive, I have yet to meet anyone who says, “Oh please give me the invasive surgery. I always wanted a big scar and a longer recovery”. We so often go the route of simplicity. I am a good example of this. Many people have told me how delicious crab legs are, but I still order a filet or some other dish that does not require the use of tools to eat. “Too much work” is the mantra I have spoken many times.
The advances in medical science are exciting and great news for those of us in need of repairs. However, this non-invasive, simple approach does not work when it comes to matters of faith. This life of comfort and simplicity has become so ingrained in us that we often seek a non-invasive, easy faith. We seek a faith that does not cut too deep, or leave any scars. We want a faith of comfort and convenience. Wilbur Rees, in his 1983 Leadership Magazine article "$3 Worth of God", wrote about this non-invasive faith.
“I would like to buy three dollars’ worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy three dollars’ worth worth of God, please.” Wilbur Rees, Leadership Magazine, Winter edition 1983, "$3 Worth of God," Vol. IV, No. 1, p. 107
This kind of non-invasive faith is not just poor theology, it is life threatening. The Bible is full of reminders of the real, genuine, invasive nature of true faith. This faith is born out of the presence of God in our life.
1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV)
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
When God’s Spirit calls us to faith, He calls us not to comfort but to transformation.
? Romans 12:2 (NIV)
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We are even reminded that this life of transformation, this invasive faith is not an easy journey. In fact we may have a scar or two to show as a result of this life of faith.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Next time some one asks you about invasive or non-invasive surgery, choose wisely and weigh your options, Next time you have the option of invasive or non-invasive faith – go with invasive, it it the true nature of faith and leads to life!
Romans 8:11 (NIV)
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.