May 2010
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Secondhand Faith

When I was growing up in Singapore, I remember that some of my school friends were kicked out of their homes by their non-Christian parents for daring to believe in Jesus Christ. They suffered for their beliefs and emerged with stronger convictions. By contrast, I was born and raised in a Christian family. Though I didn’t suffer persecution, I too had to make my convictions my own.

The Israelites who first entered the Promised Land with Joshua saw the mighty acts of God and believed (Judg. 2:7). But sadly, the very next generation “did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel” (v.10). So it was not long before they turned aside to worship other gods (v.12). They didn’t make their parents’ faith their own.

No generation can live off the faith of the previous generation. Every generation needs a firsthand faith. When faced with trouble of any kind, the faith that is not personalized is likely to drift and falter.

Those who are second, third, or even fourth generation Christians have a wonderful legacy, to be sure. However, there’s no secondhand faith! Find out what God says in His Word and personalize it so that yours is a fresh, firsthand faith (Josh. 1:8).

O for a faith that will not shrink
Though pressed by many a foe,
That will not tremble on the brink
Of any earthly woe! —Bathurst

If your faith is not personalized, it’s not faith.