This past Friday we looked at who the Author of Scripture truly is. Once we have fully grasped the reality of authorship we can then begin to take our lives and place it upon the authority and rock-hard foundation of Scripture. We stand secure with confidence on its truths because we know who our God is. He has promised and He cannot lie; therefore, every promise can be “taken to the bank.” As an extension of that concept, I want to give you an illustration that a good friend of mine often shares about how to triumphantly live the Christian life.
My friend Eric Ludy often gives the illustration of fact, faith, and experience to describe how we are to reckon the realities of Scripture. If you have ever seen Anne of Green Gables there is a scene where someone dares Anne to walk the ridgepole of a house. She climbs upon the roof and begins to walk across the very top of the steep roof line. If she takes a wrong step she will fall on one side or the other.
In a similar manner we are walking a ridgepole in our lives. The ledge is mere inches wide and if we lean too much either direction we will fall. There are three “characters” who walk the ridgepole. Fact knows without a doubt that he can walk it. He knows the truth and with confidence can walk from one side to the other. Experience has never been able to walk it. Every time Experience gets upon the ridgepole he stumbles and falls off one side or the other. We are caught in the middle of two opposing realities.
A good understanding of faith is that which you place your trust and perspective. In our illustration Faith will place its trust in either Fact or Experience. Up to this point we have placed our focus on Experience. We trust and consult our experience; yet because it has always fallen off the ridgepole, we too soon find ourselves tumbling off the roof. We lose hope, find ourselves in continual defeat, and resign ourselves that this is the way it always will be.
No one can truly walk the ridgepole we say. Those who say they do must be lying because I have never experienced it.
But what if we would quit consulting our experience and what has or has not worked in the past and focus our faith, trust, and perspective upon Fact? Fact doesn’t wobble. Fact is confident because he bases his steps upon truth. If we would turn our faith and place it upon Fact (rather than experience) we soon find that we begin to walk the ridgepole. And though experience may be a bit shaky at first, as we continually live by faith in fact, our experience lines up and begins to walk the ridgepole.
When I face the same temptation that has always prevailed in my past, I do not consult experience to see how I should handle it. I will fail and fall off the ridgepole. Instead I must turn toward fact (Scripture) and place my feet in the same spots he walks, and my experience will come into alignment. Yes it may take some time for experience to gain balance, but if we stay focused on fact it will walk in victory and triumph – even if I have never experienced it before, even if I have never seen it lived out in anyone else.
What’s the conclusion? The only hope I have to live the Christian life is to not base it upon my life, experience, or what I’ve seen in the past. I must take every step moving forward on the solid rock, unchanging, life-enabling, victorious-giving foundation of Scripture. Even if I have never experienced victory and triumph before, I move forward trusting that what God says in Scripture IS truth; therefore, I will allow the Spirit to produce it in my life. I walk forward in obedience while living a surrendered and dependent life upon the only One who can accomplish His Word in my life.
It is a change of source. It is no longer I who live, says Paul, but Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2.20). I no longer resource and produce my life (walk in experience), I allow the Spirit of God to keep my focus on the truth of Scripture (fact) and enable me to live the Christian life. I am resourced by a completely different source.
Question: where is your focus on the ridgepole of life? Leave a comment, thought, question, or story in the comment section below.
Eric Ludy is president of Ellerslie Mission Society and is the main instructor at Ellerslie Training in Windsor, Colorado.