“We had dinner the other night with a couple from the neighborhood,” Stan commented one morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast.
“Good time?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Stan replied. “They are new to the neighborhood and we had a chance to get to know them better. They are believers and it seems the Lord brought them into our lives so we can have some great fellowship with them.”
“So,” I said, “did you talk about your faith?”
“Sure did,” Stan responded, “and it turns out that the husband’s story of coming to faith is not unlike my own.”
“Not unlike?” I said. “Does that mean it’s like yours?”
“Yes and no,” Stan replied. “It’s like my story in that we both attended church all our lives, but church didn’t mean much. His story is different in that he was raised in a Christian home, while I was not.”
“He was raised in a Christian home, but church didn’t mean much to him?” I said. “How could that be?”
“He hadn’t made it his own,” Stan replied.
“Made what his own?”
“His faith. He said that one day he finally realized that he was living on what he called ‘borrowed faith’.”
“Borrowed faith,” I repeated. “How so?”
Rather than answer my question, Stan asked one of his own. “Do you think that if you happen to be born in a garage that you’re a car?”
“A car? Of course not!”
“Same with being born into a Christian home,” Stan said. “That doesn’t make you a Christian. It’s up to the individual to make that decision. Salvation is for all who believe, and it’s their personal belief, not the belief of anyone else.”
“Seems to me,” I replied, “that I remember something like that happening to a bunch of Samaritans in John’s gospel, where they said they came to believe after hearing directly from Jesus, rather than relying on what was said by the woman at the well.”
“Good remembering,” Stan said. “I think that’s a vital point of that particular story. Each one of us has to come to believe on our own, and it really helps when we hear from Jesus directly rather than what someone else says they heard from or about Jesus!”
Bible verses to consider:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.
And many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:41-42.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for bringing me into a personal relationship with you so that my belief is based only on what you say, not on what others have to say about you and their belief. I pray that you will move in the hearts, minds, and spirits of all who claim to be yours so that they come to believe on their own, accepting your words as the foundation of their belief, rather than relying on what others have to say about you. Please draw them to you and open them to see, receive, claim, and embrace all you have for them for both sides of eternity. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you made a personal (emphasis on personal) commitment to God by accepting His free and gracious gift through the finished work of the cross? If no, why? Do you accept the idea that you are not a Christian based purely on your heritage? Why or why not? Are there people in your life who seem to be living on “borrowed faith”? If so, how would you explain to them the difference between that and having a personal relationship with God through Christ?