A man stood at the gates of heaven waiting to get in. St. Peter approached him and said, Why should I let you into heaven?

The man replied, Because I had incredible faith.

St. Peter asked, And how did you die?

I stepped over a cliff without a parachute, he replied.

And where is your incredible faith? asked Peter.

I had faith that when I stepped over the cliff that God would catch me.

St. Peter shook his head, My son, my son, that was not faith, that was stupid.

There is a lot of truth in that little vignette. Most people think they have faith that will get them to heaven. But their faith is not in God who forgives their sin, their faith is in themselves and they would have lived a good enough life to get into heaven.

It is not faith to say you believe in God, but go on in life doing your own thing.

Faith is not just believing God exists. It is believing God loves us so much he was willing to die for our sins.

Faith is believing Jesus took my sins to the cross and He died for me.

Faith is knowing that I don t deserve Heaven, but I can go because Jesus made the way for me.

Faith in Jesus is lived out in my giving my life to follow Him and serving Him.

Faith is something that takes place in our hearts and our wills, but is lived out in action. It is lived out in a life that is committed to following Jesus every day and every moment of our life.

It is a commitment motivated by love.

Our faith in God and our love for God go hand in hand.

If you love God, you would want to be with Him and have Him with you on a daily basis.

Do you have faith? Is your faith in Jesus alone for salvation? Do you love God enough that you want to have Him with you day in and day out?

True faith and love make a difference whether you are a true disciple of Jesus, or just a Pretender. God always knows the difference.

• Dan Wiese, pastor for the John Day Church of the Nazarene

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