The Influence of Faith….
We live in a time when things can change rapidly. With the modern conveniences of interconnected technology devices, mass communications, global financial markets, and mass transportation systems, we see how quickly fear and panic can paralyze the world. This has become a reality over the last couple of weeks with the Covid-19 virus. We have seen global panic resulting in the stock market drop by about 1/3, cancellation of events (even church gatherings), and shortages in the grocery stores.
I remember when September 11, 2001 had a similar effect on the world when all communications seemed to be about the airplanes used to take down the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the crash into the Pentagon in Washington DC, and the plane crash in Philadelphia. The stock market crashed, and the planes did not fly for a couple of weeks. Fear and panic seemed to paralyze the American people during this difficult time and negatively impacted the world.
Fear Versus Faith
I also remember the period following 9/11 when conferences and meetings were being cancelled and I had planned to attend an FCCI (Fellowship of Companies for Christ International) conference at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua, Hawaii. The planes had just started flying again, but many were still cancelling conferences. However, FCCI made the decision to proceed with the conference. Flying was difficult with the added security and uncertainty of flying, but hundreds of people made their way to Hawaii for the conference.
The Ritz Carlton was able to call in the employees that had been laid off due to the many travel and conference cancellations. I will never forget the many comments of the appreciative employees that said of all the conferences, we knew you would not cancel. They knew that we were representatives of Jesus Christ and that we would respond in faith and not fear.
We had a wonderful conference with Henry Blackaby speaking and joining with many other followers of Christ that were trying to walk out their faith in the uncertain times we experienced following 9/11. Discerning wisdom in difficult times is necessary as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 10:16, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
Faith Defined and Practiced
The writer of Hebrews reminds us of the definition of faith, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” As human beings walking on this earth, we will continue to have trials as we did during 9/11, the 2008 recession, and now the Coronavirus pandemic. These are the trials and tribulations that Jesus discussed in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The challenge as a follower of Jesus is to be wise, but not to let fear and panic grip us or to let us lose hope in the author and perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ himself. When we walk out our faith and put God’s Word into practice, we reflect the testimony of His goodness to a world that is hungry for real, authentic representation of Jesus. I am reminded of the testimony that a group of Christ followers made on the employees Ritz Carlton after 9/11 just because we showed up and walked in faith and not fear.
Be an Encourager
To encourage others, we must first be encouraged ourselves. We cannot give away what we do not have. When I think about encouragement, I am reminded of the root word courage and encouragement is to give others courage. The passage in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” When we walk in the confidence of faith we have because of the finished work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit that resides in us as followers of Christ, we can be strong and courageous and encourage others on the journey. Especially during the times of panic and fear that surround us.
Join me today as we pray for wisdom, strength, and courage to navigate through these treacherous waters and represent Christ well as we walk in faith and not in fear. Be blessed this day and know that you are loved and appreciated.
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Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community. Jamie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.