From Billy Joel to Bon Jovi to the Box Office we have been encouraged to keep the faith. Billy Joel reminisces about an earlier time. The video sets him on trial to determine whether he is keeping true to his music, youthful morality, and the message he is sending. He summarizes his argument in the song stating that, indeed, he had “bad boy” tendencies and had no reason to stop. Bon Jovi, in this 1992 release, marks a different tone for him and from the Billy Joel argument. Bon Jovi seems to be seeking a change in his life, though there is no real power in it. He seems to want to keep the faith, whatever that is defined as, in that which he had been taught as a child. He is frustrated with societal trends but offers no solution. In the movie, Keeping the Faith, the writer deals with religion and romance. He juxtaposes the two and works it out through the 128 minutes.
What does the Bible say about keeping the faith?
There is an interesting dialogue that occurs in John 4. In this passage, Jesus is thirsty and wants some water. Unknown to her, the woman at the well is thirsty too. Through this conversation and the ensuing ones, we see how faith develops and strengthens. Here are the stages of faith from this episode in Jesus’ ministry.
Scared – The woman has been raised with a certain fear and loathing of Jews. Being a woman of a certain mind, she also has a problem with men and the way she is treated. Jesus begins with a simple request that is culturally acceptable and conversationally allowed. Her response shows that faith and fear are intertwined for a time in everyone’s life. The moment that you choose to let faith be stronger than fear is the same moment you can move forward.
Skeptical – Jesus talks of water but has no bucket. She begins to question His sanity, though He is questioning her spirituality! So often, people move from scared to skeptical. Fear lingers. Faith and reason have often been set in opposition. For some, many questions must be answered before they are ready to move forward. A recent report reveals that for those raised in church, 85% make a faith decision before 18 if raised in church. For those not raised in church, obviously they come to Christ must older and in fewer numbers. Tragedy and transition mark the best times for people and faith. May we be as patient as Jesus was in this moment.
Saving – Through this conversation, the woman accepts that Jesus is the Messiah. What does this mean? It means that she realized and readily accepted that He was to be the ruler of the world and her own life. She turned away from leading her own life and turned to Jesus. She left her old lifestyle and forged a faithful new one under the leadership of Jesus. Have you done this in your life?
Sharing – The woman runs back to town in excitement to tell everyone she knew about the great news she had just received and believed. Many people believe because of her testimony. What if she had not shared? What if she had simply enjoyed the personal moment and kept it private? What if she has compartmentalized her life and never let others know? She could not help but share. The joy and relief she felt was so overwhelming she HAD to tell someone else. Do you feel this way? Why or why not?
Secured – The people of the community listen and believe for themselves based on the testimony of the woman. They believed in Jesus, not the woman, and were excited also. However, they wanted something the woman had…time with Jesus. They made their way out and met Jesus. As a result, they were more secured in their faith. The woman moved to this point earlier. Now the others would say they believe more firmly. There is nothing like meeting Jesus!
You might resonate with one or more of these progressive points. Maybe you are near the top of the list and still wondering. You are reading this because you know me, or because you found it on a search engine and something led you to stop. Others of you might have a saving faith but are not sharing it or feel secured. So many people I know are shaky because they have believed but have ridden the coattails of parents or grandparents. It is possible that the shaky ones are riding the faith carpet of their teacher or pastor. Let me encourage you to read the Gospel of John and meet Jesus! Get secure and keep the faith!