I lived in Nebraska for about a year before I got my first pair of boots. I gave way too much thought to them, but they were symbolic of a big change. The kid from the city was going to be a country pastor. So I approached this milestone with all of the measured thought that a 7 year old chooses his desert. Cowboy boots? Work boots? What color? I wanted to fit in, but not look like someone I wasn’t. Then I found out boots were really expensive, so I settled on a pair from Walmart. Still, I was proud. I wore them in front of a mirror. I said things like “combine” and “preg-check” and other words I had learned over the last year and tried to convince myself that I was doing it right. But I didn’t wear the boots out in public for a few months. I couldn’t quite bring myself to wear them out in public to face scrutiny.
I remember the first time I finally wore them in front of anyone. People noticed. The guys just smirked. “What?” I asked. “Nothin”, someone replied. I got more nervous than anyone should over shoes. So I insisted, “No. Really, what?” So one of the farmers bites and asks me, “New boots?” I really wanted to appear humble so I did my best impression of what I thought a guffaw was and said, “No, I’ve had them a while.” Apparently that was hilarious. Everyone started laughing. In that instant I became terrified that I was accidently wearing lady-boots without realizing it. I said the only thing I could think of. “What?”
One of the kids finally clued me into what was so funny. He laughed and all but yelled,“They don’t got crap on them.” My work boots were never used for work. That’s like buying a TV and keeping it in the box so nothing happens to it.
Honestly, I think sometimes Christians treat their faith the same way. It’s just meant to be worn in front of the mirror. We’ll say a few words to ourselves that go along with it, but we’re afraid to take it out in public, and we never let it get dirty. We shy away from other ideas, other religions, and other perspectives. If we do engage in them, we make sure our faith is safely up on a shelf for the time being, like something bad might happen to it. It’s like we’re afraid that if someone says “evolution” or “gay” or “atheist” too loud the whole thing will just fall apart.
If your faith really is that fragile I don’t imagine it’s worth having anyway.
Work boots are meant for work. Faith is meant to shield save you from the devil, the world, and your own sinful flesh. You don’t need to protect your faith and need stick your head in the sand whenever something opposes what you believe. Remember who gave that faith to you.
God doesn’t do shoddy work. If God creates and sustains faith, it will stand up to the task. This apostolic faith expressed in the Creed isn’t something just a little light shining in my heart that might get blown out if I accidently think about it too hard. After each article of that creed, we insist that this is most certainly true in our catechism. This is who our God is. This is what He does. The Father really did create us. The Son really did redeem us. The Holy Spirit really does sanctify us.
This Easter we see the reality of it all. Christ really is risen from the dead. This is a historical fact. This is most certainly true. If Christ is risen, our faith is not in vain. If Christ can rise from the dead, then His Word and promises are sure. Faith can stand up to other ideas because it’s true.
It’s not your job to protect your faith. It’s faith’s job to protect you. Faith is meant to be knocked around. It’s meant to end up looking a lot like the very thing it rests on, a battered, muddied, crucified Jesus who is raised from the dead. A Jesus who bears wounds of His passion but still stands before Thomas despite all the weight of the sin He bore for you and despite the devil and all his schemes. A Jesus who says “Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
Christ is risen from the dead. Until someone can show you that Christ has not been raised, your faith is not in vain. When something challenges this faith, ask, can this un-crucify Christ? Does this un-raise Him?
If Christ was crucified to take away every last power of the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh and raised again to undo death, can we rest securely? Yes. Take these concerns to God’s Word, to His church, and to His pastors, and seek truth. Let our risen Christ stand between you and every evil. He will not falter. This is most certainly true.