Nielsen Greiner is from Lancaster, PA and recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Currently, he works full-time. He has a heart for high school ministry.

Casting Out, Part II: Faith and Commitment

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” I John 5:4-5

We overcome the world by our faith, but our faith need not exist unless there is someone worthy of it. Faith is only as good as what it has been placed in.

It’s through His word life was brought to what I believe in, yet my response in faith brings substance to it. A word requires faith, and faith requires a word. His word requires our faith, and our faith requires His word.

It always comes back to His word; it is the most certain promise we have from God; we believe it stands forever. It lived before I breathed and will continue when I cease.

As Peter cast out his net at the word of Jesus, so do I. There is no true worship if we do not know Him personally. Our revelatory knowing of him is what causes us to worship, then follow. Glancing back at Peter’s story in Luke 5, he first worshiped Christ, then followed him. Throughout scripture, those who received a revelation of his worth and character, those allowed to see Him for who He truly is, worshiped Him from that point on, from a true knowing in their hearts and actions in their lives. What did they see that we so often do not?

I am currently in the very midst of “casting out.” I don’t know how much or what I may catch. If anything at all. But I know I’ve heard a voice, that word worth obeying, following and allowing risk for. I’ve been hesitant and apprehensive about it all and have only a little faith.

But it’s just enough. I know the one who’s called me, and He is the one who is sufficient. I want to be Peter in these moments of this story. No matter how he started, he ended up in just the right place — following in the footsteps of Jesus. I want to be one who is capable of recognizing the worth of the one who calls and be willing to follow because of it.

For the most part, my tendency is to shy away from situations, contexts and circumstances where I may be uncomfortable or in unfamiliar territory. I am currently teaching English as a second language in Phayao, Thailand. In coming to Thailand, I committed to something completely foreign (literally) when I decided to complete a TESOL course and take a job as an English teacher at a Thai Secondary School (called “Mathayom” in Thai, the American equivalent of Middle School and High School). Each week, I’m teaching communicative English for 23 class periods to around 700 students. When I started, I was overwhelmed, sometimes anxious, uncomfortable, submerged in many of the situations and emotions I often avoid. It didn’t always feel good — and sometimes it still doesn’t — but in leaving the comfort of home, I knew I was doing something that would challenge me and result in growth, maturity and character development in ways I could never achieve back home. I needed to buck my tendency to take the path of least resistance. I needed to be more than a “backpacker” passing through and invest myself into something, not allowing the room to let myself off the hook any time I pleased.

If I would have never put myself in this position, I would be missing all the present opportunities in which I have grown here. I’ve experienced joy, struggle, maturity, relapse, victory, wrestling, new friendships, loneliness, adventure, the mundane, faith and trust, doubt and uncertainty and all the highs and lows that accompany a season abroad.

I’m not particularly special; I’m just attempting to make choices according to growth, maturity and commitment — all in faith. Everyday here, I’m tempted to lose sight of why I’m here and why I’m doing this, especially on long, exhausting days. But those subtle, deep reminders are always present in my spirit, awakening my heart to know again and lifting my eyes to see again.