Faith with intent to distribute

Published 7:49 pm Friday, January 11, 2013

By Chris Surber

Fanaticism is sometimes the disease of fools.

Growing up in North-Central California, I was convinced that the Sacramento Kings were going to win the NBA finals the same year they barely made it to playoffs and were counted as the most mediocre team in the league.


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I loved basketball, and I loved the Kings and I couldn’t be unconvinced. My attire in those days consisted of a purple SK hat, slightly deeper purple and much more obnoxious SK jean jacket, and a host of team jerseys to complete the ensemble. I was a fanatic.

I have never known how to do anything halfway. Perhaps you can relate.

I’m convinced that we are all addicted to something. Some people are addicted to their own image in the mirror. They are addicted to beauty. Some people are addicted to their sarcastic negative attitudes about the world around them. They are addicted to criticism. Most people are addicted, fanatical, about something.

I was talking to a new friend recently about his former life of drugs and the constant pursuit of pleasure. This man is now filled with a faith in God that has overcome his former life. Where pain was once the end game of his zeal for sin, hope now spills over from his life of faith.

God has replaced the selfish heart in his chest with a heart of faith, and this man has learned and applied the lesson of James 2:18: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” (NIV84)

He knows that a faith that overcomes the ugliness of this world, the selfish desires of sin and the fruitlessness of worldly pursuits, is a faith that works. He says it this way: “One day I realized that while my faith was valid, it was small.”

Using an analogy from his former life he said, “It’s like this. If a person is found by police to be in possession of a small amount of drugs, he gets a small misdemeanor charge against him. He was carrying drugs for personal use. On the other hand, if a person is found to be in possession of a large amount of drugs, he receives a much steeper criminal charge. He was in possession with intent to distribute.”

If you were arrested today for possession of faith, would the amount you carry be enough to bring about a serious charge? Would your faith amount to a minor misdemeanor for possession of a pittance for personal use? Or would you be ushered off to jail for possession with the intent to distribute?

I don’t know about you, but I am a faith fanatic. Where I once adorned myself with the garb of the Sacramento Kings, I now adorn my life with evidence of devotion to the King of Kings. Where my friend was once known to be in possession of drugs with intent to distribute, he now packs his life with faith and distributes it everywhere he goes.

What about you? We are all imperfect. There is more that every child of God could be doing to build the Kingdom of God. But, if you were arrested today for possession of faith, what charge would you receive?

Chris Surber is pastor of Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk. Visit his website at