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Are We Keeping the Faith?

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So much of what Christians repeat is senseless tripe, nothing more than meaningless slogans that we have passed down for generations. It is not that so much of what we repeat is false, but that it is so shallow. That is what slogans do. They tend to trivialize the impact of truth.

“God loves you, brother.” Or “Who am I to judge.” Or “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

They all sound good, probably because we have heard others mindlessly regurgitate the phrases. But they are vacuous and void of a deeper understanding. In many instances we have allowed the secular world to define much of what we do in Christianity. This shoaly understanding of things we repeat, in most cases, trivializes a very profound truth.

“Keep the faith, brother,” A friend chattered at me as we parted the other day. The little imp in my head could not leave that statement alone.

Keep the faith, I muttered under my breath to no one in particular. Keep the faith…hmmm. Now there is a misunderstood statement if there ever was one.

When someone encourages you to “keep the faith” most of us receive the exhortation as reinforcement to not grow weary in the everyday affairs of life. “Keep the faith,” to most of us, is nothing more than a spiritual way of saying “hang in there, bro.”

“Keep the faith. Don’t lose heart! Don’t let the world beat you down. Hang onto your faith!” Those are all versions of the same exhortation. In 1988, Jesse Jackson spewed a version in his run for President…”Keep hope alive.”

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Keep the faith…keep hope alive…both are ways of encouraging a friend to not lose faith.

But faith in what? Hope in what? I think that, by trivializing the phrase, we have stripped it of its deeper and more profound meaning.

I was surprised to find that the actual encouragement to “keep the faith” appears nowhere in the Holy Writ. The closest it comes to it is Paul’s noting in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…” Although Paul had certainly lived a life requiring that he hold on to HIS faith, it is not HIS faith that he is referring to. Paul says, “I have kept THE faith.” It was his “KEEPING of THE faith” that turned the world upside down.

Paul certainly remained full of personal faith, but it was his job of PROTECTING the faith that was so significant. Paul’s strong personal belief system enabled him to protect and preserve THE Faith handed down from his Father.

“Keep the faith, brother” is so much deeper than we have ever considered. Like so much in…