2006-05-17 - Play It Again
Habakkuk 2:4, "But the rightous will live by his faith."
If you have a few million dollars to spare (and who of us doesn't), you might be considering an auction being held in New York City, today, Tuesday, May 16, 2006. They are offering a rare violin made by the early 18th century violin maker Antonio Stradivari. Stradivarius violins are very sought after by top violinists. It is estimated that this one will sell for about 2.5 million dollars. It is interesting, because it is unlikely that museums will have much interest in this auction. If it was a rare painting, then museums might show interest, but you can't put a Stradivarius on display, at least not for very long. In order to maintain its sound, and continue to be a prized instrument, the violin must be played. It can't just go on display and let all who would view it marvel at what it might sound like.
This is not unlike the Christian life. The Christian does not simply profess faith in Christ and go on display. Faith is something that goes on display, as it were, by being used, practiced, or put to useful service. As the violin must be played, so the Christian must exercise faith. It must be put to use, and there is both a positive and a negative way to think about this.
Negatively, let us consider what happens when faith lies dormant and gets little or no use. It is like a muscle that we once used and no longer use. It atrophies. It wastes away. It diminishes. So it is with faith, and the exercise of our faith. When we don't use it, our faith withers. For example, when we don't read God's Word, or pray, or fellowship with the saints, it affects our relationship with Christ. It has to, because those are core elements in which our relationship with Christ are maintained. Even when just one of these areas of our lives is neglected, it cannot but do damage to all the others - and the punch line is that our walk with Christ becomes more and more a distant walk. Like the violin that must be played to remain an instrument of beauty, so our faith must be exercised, in order to remain consistent and grow.
Positively, let us think about the results of exercising our faith. Daily or regular times of prayer, Bible study, and fellowship serve to keep our faith on a progressive route. If we would have the course of our lives be to grow in our relationship with Christ, we must be putting our faith into service. We must be growing in grace. Like the muscle that is exercised, or the violin that is played, faith will increase as it is used.
If you struggle with what is commonly called "victory" in the Christian life, part of it might be the neglect of these simple things that we are so prone to overlook. It is the quite time of prayer and Bible reading. It is the encouragement of godly conversation and fellowship that help our faith to reach new depths that we may never have experienced. Christian victory is seen in these small things over time. We don't define victory by financial success, popularity, position in life or in our job, or by some illusive victory over demons and the forces of evil. Victory is experienced in a close and closer walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, like I, you may not be bidding on an expensive violin today, but one thing we can all do seek to use the faith we have been given by putting it into practice and exercising it. Let us all seek to do this, and the value to us will be more than an almost priceless violin.
Soli Deo Gloria,