Change Your Mind: Skeleton Faith

Skeleton Faith

by Randy Robison

Words of LIFE Weekly Devotional

I would never have guessed that the Winter Olympics could illustrate a spiritual truth so well, but as I watched the coverage, I realized that a couple of events demonstrate two different approaches to our faith. One is good; the other is not so good.

Consider the bobsled. It has a steel frame, fiberglass hull, front runners and rear runners, push bars, brakes, and a steering system. It takes two or four people working together to get it moving and keep it on track. The sled weighs hundreds of pounds and hits speeds up to 90mph. If something goes wrong (and it sometimes does), everybody's wearing helmets and the body of the sled offers good protection.

Contrast this with a similar sport called the Skeleton. Like the Luge, there is no frame, no hull, no brakes…really there’s hardly anything. It’s basically a guy in spandex and a helmet on two razor blades going 90mph down an ice chute. In the Luge, they slide feet first with one or two people. In the Skeleton, they go head first all alone. A lot of people have gotten injured and even killed doing this.

If you ask me, that’s a bit crazy.

But that’s the way many people approach their faith. They’ve got one narrow thing and they’re riding it for all it’s worth. It’s like “Oh I have faith” but there’s not the understanding that the writer of Proverbs talks about. Or maybe “I have the Bible” but the idea of the Holy Spirit being alive scares you. Or “I have truth” but zero patience or love. Or the big one these days, “It’s all about grace” and that somehow means there is no such thing as sin or a need for accountability.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking any one of these things. We need them, but we need them all, and then some. Paul urged us to “put on the full armor of God,” not just one piece. A warrior with a shield but no helmet or sword won’t last long on the battlefield. We need faith, and the Word, and truth, and grace. But we also need knowledge, discernment, peace, joy, kindness, wisdom, self-control, goodness, gifts of the Spirit, and many other wonderful things outlined in scripture.

Any one thing will get us somewhere – these things are that powerful. You might get down the hill on a small flat seat and thin blades in the same way that you might be a good witness if you preach the truth. But how many great preachers have wrecked their lives for a lack of integrity?

Building your life on a single virtue is skeleton faith. It’s naked, dangerous, lonely, and a little crazy. If you really want to navigate the icy curves of life, you need faith more along the lines of a bobsled. You need something with weight to it.

You need the Word and wisdom to help you steer, discernment to help you brake, self-control to stay on your line, the helmet of salvation, the Holy Spirit to tell you when to lean left or right, fellowship with other believers, and every other blessing God offers to get you moving, protect you from harm, and enable you to master the course. All of these parts balance together to create an exciting ride. It’s fun, much safer, and not near as lonely. 

 That’s the kind of faith I want, and that’s the kind you can have, too.

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