Stay off the high wire — no faith test neededPublished 11:55am Monday, July 23, 2012
By DARRYL WOOD / Guest Columnist
Nik Wallenda. High-wire artist, showman, athlete, Christian. All those descriptors apply. Wallenda entertained the world July 15 when he walked a wire across Niagara Falls on national television.
In an interview, Wallenda professed his faith in Christ. He insisted that he uses his profession to glorify God. Nik said he prayed for God’s help and praised Jesus throughout the walk.
Take nothing away from the man. He is skilled in his art. He did what entertainers do — he enthralled the audience. But what about this idea of manufacturing a risky venture to demonstrate faith?
Jesus actually counseled against it. Early in Jesus’ ministry the devil tempted Him to show faith through eye-catching activities. The evil one suggested that Jesus jump from the highest point of the temple wall and allow God’s angels to make a spectacular catch. A manufactured test of faith.
Jesus refused. He quoted an Old Testament passage, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Deut. 6:16; Matt. 4:7).
Does that mean your faith never gets tested? To the contrary, your faith is tested all the time. You don’t need to manufacture faith tests. They show up daily.
When word arrives that your daughter was involved in a traffic accident in the distant college town where she attends school, it’s faith test time. When the memo crosses your desk that the company pension fund tanked and your retirement is in jeopardy, enter the faith test. As the chest pains build and you await the arrival of the EMT’s, you undergo a faith check-up.
Manufacture tests of faith? No need.
You get your share by waking up every morning. So stay off the high-wire.
But follow Nik Wallenda’s example to pray and praise God when the tests invade your life.
The Rev. Dr. Darryl Wood is pastor of First Baptist Church Vincent. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.