What does your faith mean to you? Do you have faith? Where is your faith?
These are critical questions that make the difference between real victory and pretend hope. There are several stories of people encountering Jesus in the Gospels that illustrate significant change in their lives. One such story is that of the “wee little man,” Zacchaeus.
Luke 19:1-10 (HCSB)
1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 There was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was not able because of the crowd, since he was a short man. 4 So running ahead, he climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus, since He was about to pass that way.
5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, because today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he quickly came down and welcomed Him joyfully.
7 All who saw it began to complain, “He’s gone to lodge with a sinful man!”
8 But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, I’ll give half of my possessions to the poor, Lord! And if I have extorted anything from anyone, I’ll pay back four times as much!”
9 “Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
What a faith story. In just these short verses we see how encountering Christ changes a life. Zacchaeus faith is profound and personal. Salvation coming into a persons life should lead to change and should remind us of why Jesus came: “to seek and to save the lost.”
It occurs to me in reading about this encounter that the faith that I have experienced and hold is different then Zacchaeus’ faith. While our faith is found in the same place—THE LIVING SON OF GOD—it manifests itself different in my life compared to his. This is why we talk about a “PERSONAL” relationship with God through Christ. It isn’t going to be identical to anyone else. My faith became real for me at a moment of total surrender when I met the love of God head on in the cross of Christ. I was assured that God loved me and showed that love for me in that while I was still lost in sin Christ died for me.
Your story will differ from mine, as will anyone you encounter have a different story. The differences of our personal faith in Christ are the source of our victory. We have a common “object of faith” – Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It is the details—the story—that is the personal aspect for us. How did you meet Jesus? What does it mean for you personally? This is the “personal relationship” that is discovered in our “personal faith.”
So meet Jesus and come to faith in Him. Recognize that your faith and your relationship with Christ are personal – they belong to you…it’s your story. Share your story with others so that they might come to their own relationship and faith in Christ. That’s the wonder of faith and salvation…and this is the victory!