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You must be Crazy

In a world where "seeing is believing," faith in Christ is utterly strange.  By the Bible's own definition, faith is the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1), so those who have faith in Christ believe in things they have never seen for themselves.  The Bible admits this again in 1Peter 1:8 when it says to believers in Christ that "though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory."  By the world's standards, this kind of belief belongs in the same category as belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.  Such beliefs are good enough for immature children, but adults are considered to be irrational if they believe that Jesus was literally raised from the dead.  To the worldly mind, it is reasonable to accept Jesus as a philosopher and leader like Socrates or Confucius, but to believe that He is the risen Son of God is insanity.

Charges of irrationality and insanity are often made against devout Christians by men of worldly acclaim.  Men like Bill Maher gain the attention of millions of television viewers by defaming Christians often in vulgar terms, describing them as religious nuts, bigots, and "homophobes."  (This latter term suggests that any opposition to homosexuality is an irrational phobia and mental illness.)  Renowned scientists likewise deride Christians who reject the theory of evolution in favor of the Bible's account of creation.  Men like the late Stephen Jay Gould make statements designed to intimidate and shame Christians by labeling them as irrational and unscientific. The overall message from such worldly minds is that one must be ignorant, uneducated, or else insane to truly believe in Christ and the Bible.

Such charges of insanity are nothing new, for they have been made against the Lord and His followers from the beginning. Consider Jesus Himself, who was thought to be insane by His own kinsmen after He had begun His ministry.  Notice Mark 3:20-21:

20And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal.  21When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses."

The charges came from within the Lord's own family, for not even His own brothers believed in Him (John 7:5).  On another occasion, the Jews rejected Jesus, saying, "He has a demon and is insane.  Why do you listen to Him?" (John 10:20).  The same charges were made against the apostle Paul when he was given a hearing before King Agrippa and the governor Festus. When Paul defended himself by preaching the resurrection of Christ, Festus said in a loud voice, "Paul, you are out of your mind!  Your great learning is driving you mad" (Acts 26:24).  The very idea of a dead man rising from the dead was madness according to Festus, but Paul was willing to die in defense of this belief.  Paul even made reference to this view of his faith, saying to the Corinthian Christians, "For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you" (2Cor. 5:13).  For God's sake, he was willing to be considered insane by the world, although he was able to express the faith in a sound and reasonable way to believers.  Charges of insanity did not intimidate Jesus or His followers, and they should not intimidate us either.

While the world dismisses genuine faith in Christ as madness, we who believe in Jesus know the power of the gospel truth.  This power appears to be insanity to the worldly minded because they have limited their thinking to natural explanations and worldly reasoning.  This is explained in 1Corinthians 2:14, which says, "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised."  When they measure spiritual things by worldly measures, the result is failure and misunderstanding.  By their own worldly wisdom, such men can never obtain the knowledge of that which "surpasses knowledge" and "surpasses comprehension" (Eph. 3:19; Phil. 4:7).  It will always be insanity to them, but we know that it is the greatest wisdom ever revealed.  Consider 1Corinthians 1:18-21:

18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  19For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside."  20Where is the wise man?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

Therefore, if anyone ever says that you must be crazy because you believe in Jesus, then consider yourself to be in good company.  The world has always mocked and sneered at those who believed in Christ (Acts 17:32; 2Pet. 3:3-4).  Do not expect worldly minded to ever understand the gospel, for it reveals "wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1Cor. 2:8). If anyone derides you as a religious nut or fanatic, then do your best to gently correct them so that God might grant them repentance that leads to the knowledge of the truth (2Tim. 2:25). Remember, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Tim. 2:4).  Our wish is that all men might become as "crazy" as we are (Acts 26:29)!

Stacey E. Durham



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