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Saturday, April 23, 2011

You're a Rock, An Island?


So you think you want to do this living thing all on your own? Good luck, my friend. Operating solo is very difficult and extremely prone to failure. The best laid plans... you know the rest. Unforeseen problems inevitably invade the most wonderful, well-planned lives. At some time you will find yourself prone, unable to rise on your own, and looking up for some assistance. Mom, dad, siblings, spouse, children, friends - at times, all of these earthly companions will be absent. You will be alone... alone with your faith. Or, alone with your lack of faith.

Faith? Just look at the chair in your room. The components that comprise the chair are well known -- wood, upholstery, screws, etc. Also commonly understood are the physics of support, the engineering and the construction. Yet, depending upon your size, a chair is only functional with a leap of faith. You would be foolish to sit on a rickety chair or a chair made for a small child. But, after you apply your knowledge, logic and experience, you still must take a small leap of faith when you sit. True living requires that you put your beliefs into action. Intellectual belief without actionable faith is hollow and meaningless. Sitting in a chair and accepting its support represent a prime example of vital faith in action.

Faith is not irrational. You rely on faith and exercise faith every day. You have faith that your next breath will supply the rich air your lungs so dearly need. All kinds of situations require that you use your faith to accept the situation at hand. Ride an elevator, cross a bridge, trust your spouse, entrust teachers and friends. You are a human operating on faith. That is natural and good. Faith extends its understandings. How foolish you are if you believe faith is strictly dependent on science and reason.

Still, you may not be sure there is a God. And, after all, it's impossible for people to have living faith in a God they do not know. But you can develop a relationship with God through faith. In fact, that is the only way to get close to Him. You can rest assured He wants good things for you. His Word tells you that "godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:8).

To believe in God is the start of faith. God will do for you whatever He has promised to do. He expects you to act on that belief. He requires that you have living faith in His existence, power and promises.

Faith is also more than just a belief in God. To a Christian, faith requires accepting Jesus Christ. His life is the perfect model of faith. Throughout His human years Jesus displayed perfect, living faith and motivated others not only to believe in God, but to go a step beyond by believing what He says.

Christian faith is based on evidence. It is not some magical ingredient. Christian believers accept God's will and follow Jesus. They read God's word and accept His assurances. They know that God does not busy Himself with frivolous or unproductive behavior. They know they are required to live by faith and walk by faith, not by sight.

Having faith, you accept humility.. His undeserved favor of grace is a gift. Isn't it wrong to assume that, since grace is a gift, no actions -- good works demonstrating a repentant heart and faith in action --are needed? Living faith is not empty, inactive faith. ("You Can Have Living Faith," United Church of God, 1995-2011)

I pity those without faith in God. When they hit bottom, curl into the fetal position and refuse to cry out for someone... anyone... for God, they unnecessarily lose a piece of their soul, a piece of their human makeup. They fail to understand that God is there for them. Their lack of faith deepens their misery. Some even allow the pain to become terminal. Many stubbornly cling to the belief that other humans offer the remedies to suffice for all their ills. My experience tells me that only God has the ability to mend a ravaged soul.

So, if you must, live it on your own, friend. Good luck. Just remember, you, alone, are creating your faithless situation. The days of looking up will surely come. I would hope you develop a wonderful faith in God.

"If God gives you a watch, are you honoring Him more by asking Him what time it is or by simply consulting the watch?"  -A.W. Tozer


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