Wednesday: From Cynicism to Faith

Each day of our 2017 fast will include a short reflection on each of the 7 Movements of Discipleship. The 7 Movements are the way we explain the transformations that come as we follow Jesus.

We’re coming to the end of day 4 of the fast. If you’re disappointed with your experience of fasting so far, this will be important. Today we talk about the movement from Cynicism to Faith.

It’s too easy to become cynical. We become cynical—or negative, jaded, mistrusting of other people’s motives, etc—normally because we’ve been disappointed and we’ve seen our own hopes, ideas or ideals come up short. Even more, maybe now we hear people talking about similar hopes, ideas or ideals. 

“Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.”
— Stephen Colbert

Maybe we’ve been hurt by someone or hurt by a group of people—like a church or our family. And so, we become cynical. Often, we’ll say we’re being realistic or honest, but the truth is, we have ‘cynicism’ where we could have ‘faith’.

Faith means belief or trust or confidence. For example, the writer of Hebrews defines faith like this: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). 

Cynicism is really a type of faith, it’s a deep confidence that you know. Whereas faith in Jesus, is a deep confidence that Jesus knows.

Moving from cynicism to faith is not about pumping yourself up to believe something you don’t actually believe. It’s not simply positivity exercised by your willpower. 

The Jesus type of faith begins at the end of our own certainty. 

‘Having faith’, as we say, then is actually about not having confidence in your own ability to judge the outcomes of ideas or the motives of others.

Instead, faith trusts God to handle the outcome of things, believes the best of others, and confidently relies on God for comfort in disappointment and failure.

Cynicism is just one of our human ways of protecting ourselves from being disappointed or from feeling the force of our failure—but it steals all kinds of possibilities from us because they are hidden under things that have hurt us or beyond where we can see.

Once we begin repenting (changing our minds) about cynicism, Paul’s words in the letter to the Philippians help us move toward faith:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Really try and do this. Pay attention to what you are thinking about, is it cynical? Or is it filled with faith in God, not in what you can see? So take a few minutes and think about something that you know is true, then something that is noble, then something that is right, something pure, something lovely, something admirable, think about something excellent or praiseworthy. 

As you spend some time thinking about these things—whatever comes to mind—thank God for these things and ask him to give you faith about the other things in your life where you’ve become confident in your cynicism. 

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There's one more corporate prayer time this week plus our break-the-fast brunch and prayer on Saturday:

Thursday, January 12th at 4250 avenue Marcil (Apt. 21 Buzzer: 28) 7:30pm - 9:00pm

We will break the fast and celebrate together on Saturday, January 14th at 680 rue Richmond 10am - 12:30pm. We will have a time of prayer followed by brunch together. Please bring a dish to share.