Blog & Pastor Letters

The Challenge of Living the Faith Today

10-06-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2010), 32% of the world's population professes the Christian faith. The largest numbers of Christians are found in Mexico with over 107 million that is 95% of the population; Brazil has 175 million that is 90.2% of the population; and the United States has 246 million Christians that is 79.5% of the population. In another perspective, Europe has 25.9% Christians, Sub-Saharan Africa has 23.6% Christians, the Americas have 36.6% Christians, the East Pacific has 13.1% Christians, and the Middle East and North Africa has 0.06% Christians.

From the numbers and statistics above, we can see that Christianity has a large following across the world. We can notice that the birthplace of Christianity has base number. Persecution and immigration account for the low stats. However, the number of world Christians is 2.2 billion constituting 32% out of the over 7 billion population of the world.

While the idea is not to glory in the large numbers of Christians across the world, the question for me is to ask, how do these Christians live the faith? It is for every Christian to answer this question. We don't belong to statistics; we belong to the Christian faith. If we do not have high numbers in our pew on Sundays and weekdays, something is perhaps wrong with the practice of our faith.

At the time of Jesus, many Jewish men and women were disappointed with the direction of their political life. The Jews were seeking a political messiah to oust the Romans and establish a purely Jewish nation. The appearance of Jesus on the scene met with so much expectations of a political savior. When he began to assemble his followers and appointed his apostles, the direction he fashioned was different. He offered religious hope during political hopelessness. The apostles had to meet Jesus and asked him for an increase of faith. Jesus replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." The ability to recognize the power of God is what faith is all about. Experiencing miracles is the benefit of this faith. Realizing our place as humans in God's divine plan of God strengthens our faith in his works. We must not be disappointed with God, but rather, our definition or our approach to God.

Listen to what Prophet Habakkuk did centuries ago. He saw the sufferings of his people, the hopelessness and desperation around him, he began to cry out to God, "How long, O Lord? I cry for help, but you do not listen! I cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery?" These words seem to be written recently by someone experiencing pain. Yet, these words are centuries old revealing the strife and destruction that Habakkuk observed.

This makes our faith in God truly an important aspect because we are fashioned in the image and likeness of God. St. Paul said, "So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord...but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God." With these words, St. Paul wants every Christian to consider the present suffering as only a test of bigger glories yet to be revealed.

Today's message is about encouraging Christians to keep the struggle of faith alive without losing focus. This world may be filled with many uncertainties, but this should not be a reason to stay away from the pews. Such an action only weakens the spiritual life that should nourish belief in God. I find my joy in reading Proverbs 3: 5-7, "Trust God from the bottom of your heart, don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he is the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil." Will you run to God or run away from God when you face life's challenges? Keep praying!