"In 1893, engineer George Ferris built a machine that bears his name--the Ferris wheel. When it was finished, he invited a newspaper reporter to accompany him and his wife for the inaugural ride. It was a windy July day, so a stiff breeze struck the wheel with great force as it slowly began its rotation. Despite the wind, the wheel turned flawlessly. After one revolution, Ferris called for the machine to be stopped so that he, his wife, and the reporter could step out. In braving that one revolution on the windblown Ferris wheel, each occupant demonstrated genuine faith. Mr. Ferris began with the scientific knowledge that the machine would work and that it would be safe. Mrs. Ferris and the reporter believed the machine would work on the basis of what the inventor had said. But only after the ride could it be said of all three that they had personal, experiential faith." Author Unknown
This type of "personal, experiential faith" is the only true faith the Bible speaks of. In this day and age of verbally acknowledged faith the Hip Hop community must put some D's on it and drive through the hood for real. Recently, China based, Asian Rapper Ayo Jin changed teams. He went from secular battle rapper to sacred Christian rapper. "Welcome to the Light Club", a song he newly released on his myspace and youtube sites raised more than a few eyebrows on both teams. Is he really saved? Has he really been converted? Does he really have faith?
I would agree with those who say Jin's relationship with God is none of our business except for the fact that Jin is an artist that lives his life in the limelight and whether he or we like it or not, he does in fact make an impression on us as a society and on the most impressionable minds therein, those of our children. Good or bad I will not venture to say for generalizations are not suggested as a wise course in Scripture. "...the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work." I Corinthians 3:13.
However, some lyrics from Jin's musical testimony, if you will sheds much light on what he believed his prior work was and his future work is. "...I use to battle I declared I'm the boss I couldn't be defeated... until I lost....ego crushed...it....taught me humility... no escuses for the stupid records I made would I still be sayin' this if those records had got me paid?" His honesty and candor though appreciated raises some serious red flags regarding his faith. Is it grounded in his failure or is it a faith that comports and complies with the four things Jesus said is necessary to have faith and the one thing the Apostle Paul said is also necessary to grow faith?
Enter the rapper Mace or Play of the group Kid 'n Play, or MC Hammer, Richie Rich, Jay-Z, DMX, or Kanye West, all at one point having recorded and marketed one or more songs mentioning the name of Jesus and or otherwise declaring their faith in Jesus. But, is their declaration enough to satisfy the standard God set in His word for having and growing faith?
4 Parts Necessary to Receive Faith
The center of circulation because the Bible declares in Leviticus 17:14 "... the life of every creature is its blood..." And, therefore when one is prepared to shed their blood and die to this earth for their faith. Their God. Then they begin to ready themselves to receive faith.
The emotional seat of consciousness determines to bear the burdens and weights attendant to their readiness to die for their faith. The fiery trials are then counted as joy for the eternal weight of glory set before them.
The intellect and understanding that accepts the reality that it is appointed unto a man once to die and after that the judgment, embraces death to selfishness, as well as ostracism by family and friends, and regualrly engages the Scriptures and prays to God for continued guidance in the receipt of an ever growing faith.
The ability and might or force to trust God in all circumstances and matters must be increased over time and experience at the point of recieving faith.
After these four parts of a person are actively engaged in believing God and His Word there is one last essentail part necessary, that must continually be used to add or grow your faith.
1 Part to Grow Faith
The hearing of the spoken Word of God through the ear, by way of oral instruction, preaching and testimony will serve to demonstrate that the same God who performed great and wonderful things yesterday is the same today and tomorrow.
Augusberg Fortress Sunday School Curriculum the ministry of publishing within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America notes four areas of manifestation wherein Faith traits exhibit themselves.
Manifest Faith traits of generosity, kindness, humility, compassion, empathy, respect and thankfulness
Manifest Faith traits of cooperation, loyalty, obedience, boldness, and reverence
Manifest faith traits of responsibility, self-dsicipline, perseverance, forgiveness, justice, honesty, and wisdom
Manifest Faith traits of harmony, stewardship, patience, peace and joy
Is a mere declaration of faith enough by these Hip Hop/Rap artists? Have they dedicated the 4 parts to receive Faith and the 1 part to grow Faith? Many Bible verses have been used to debate both sides of this argument. Yet, the main line of Scriptures lean toward the fact that more than a declaration of faith is necessary. A decision of faith is the mandate.
People with Faith Have Made a Decision
"...whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
The key word in this verse is the English word call. The meaning of this word call in Greek is "to invoke for decision." Therefore, it is not merely a saying of the name it is a decision to trust or rather have faith in the name in alignment with the above discussed requisites to receive and expand your faith.
People with Faith Have Made a Promise
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Of note here are the two words confess and believe. The Greek meanings for these two words in turn are assent, promise, and put in trust with. So, the Word again is not suggesting that merely speaking words brings faith but, agreeing with and promising your allegiance and loyalties to God through Jesus Christ.
People with Faith are Law-Abiding Citizens
St. John 14:15
"If ye love me, keep my commandments."
A commandment is a law such as those of the decalogue which Jesus (Yeshua) repeated to the rich young ruler. Or even the new commandment Jesus gave in St. John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you. Love one another as I have loved you."
People With Faith Love Sacrificially
St. John 15.10
"Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends."
It is said among the Jews in the Talmud that any commandment may be broken in order to save a life, for life is the most sacred thing God has given us.
People with Faith do not Practice Sin (Crime)
"What shall we say then, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"
The significant term here is the word continue which means in Greek "to stay over, remain." The old way of life without faith is clearly not a reflection of what the new life is intended to be with faith.
People with Faith do not Hate Their Brother
I John 4:20
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother he is a liar: For he who loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen."
Disagreeing agreeably is the true sign of a person of faith not allowing differences large or small to effect the love that you have been charged to demonstrate from a sincere heart toward your brother.
People of Faith Walk Softly
"I therefore, the prisoner of our Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called."
The faith filled person believes the Lord is ordering their steps and whatever job, occupation or profession they find themselves in, from lowly to esteemed in our society, they walk in humility and meekness knowing that the Lord is ordering their steps and giving them opportunity to walk or rather live their faith out loud. Sometimes without saying many if any words.
All being well, these 4 things necessary to recieve faith and this 1 thing necessary to grow your faith has revealed some potential gaps or pitfalls you may have been prey to and shown where and how you may close the gaps and climb safely out of the pitfalls. In any event the best of us falter because we are still human. But, we must continue to get up determined to do better. Always remember faith is also an action word so put some D's on it and put it on the road.
If you would like a more personal study on faith or any other Bible Study topic feel free to contact me directly at the listed email address. Also, if you would like to get a weeks worth of topics covered on my radio show, blogs and vlogs email me for my free newsletter. Until next time May the Lord bless and keep you, May the Lord Make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you, May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.