Thursday, November 16, 2006

Getting Faith

A final post before I head off on a 3 day weekend a la montagne, as the elite would say:

Christianity claims some of its uniqueness in the fact that one does not have to do anything in order to receive salvation. No rituals or works required. Through the cross and the ensuing resurrection, God has done everything needed for us to claim righteousness and Heaven. All we must do is believe, accepting this work that Jesus has done on our behalf.

With this line of thinking, I have often thought that faith/belief/un-doubt is the one thing I must take care of on my own. God has done all the work; it is my responsibility to believe. Even James writes that we "must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord" (1:6-7).

Yet, as I described yesterday, I find that doubts plague me, especially in times of big decisions. Like sin, I struggle and often fail in this faith realm. I find myself incapable to do what seems needed to be done, a position I am frequently in but one that does not seem allowed in matters of faith and doubt. If I must have perfect faith for this whole Christian thing to work, I'm washed up the Red Sea without dry land.

Then, once again, Jesus is adequate where I am not. Even in matters of faith.

I love the father in Mark 9:24 who cries out to Jesus, "I do believe; help me overcome my disbelief!" Jesus doesn't respond to an admitted lack of faith with wrath. He doesn't wag his Mutomboian forefinger and say, "Not in my house, you won't. I won't move until you have faith." He simply responds by healing the man's son, fulfilling his request.

Help me overcome my disbelief. What a radical request. And what a comforting one for me as I often find myself failing at faith. It's ok to ask God for help, even with unbelief.

The beautiful thing is that God heals the son every time. He may not fill the request as I want him to, but he never abandons me. I look back at the times where I failed to act out of faith, the times when I acted in faith on accident, and the times when I steeled my face and purposely acted in faith. Through them all, God was faithful to me, patiently hearing my pleas to overcome my lack of faith and working for my good in each of the situations.

Paralyzed by fear and nervousness, I often lack the faith required to really live a reckless life of service to God. Fortunately for me, God remains sufficient, his power, track record, and compassion overcoming my unbelief where I cannot.


AJ said...

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" - Philippians 1:6

How are you doing down there, Ben? I haven't talked to you in a while man. Our bible study is going great, we are looking at opportunities to spread into bridgewater state college. I am very excited about this opportunity, be in prayer. Well I hope all is well, great blog posts.

Anonymous said...

You said that doubts still plague you. But, the great thing is that is where God shines through so clearly. When we realize that we cannot do it on our own, that makes us able to see God's grace and mercy in a new light. That is the point at which He can do the most with our lives. If we had to be perfect to come before Him, there would be no sense in even trying. But thanks to Jesus, we can come before Him as imperfect people.

Also, recently, I have found myself crying out to Jesus what the father did. It is a comfort to know that, even when I pray without faith, God still still faithful.

Jeff said...

my score
You scored as Emergent/Postmodern.

Emergent/Postmodern 71%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 54%
Reformed Evangelical 50%
Neo orthodox 46%
Classical Liberal 32%
Roman Catholic 29%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 25%
Fundamentalist 25%
Modern Liberal 18%

no surprises there