Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Having Faith

I have a tendancy to make following Jesus great fun because entering a relationship with God provides a lot of pretty cool stuff. This has given rise in my life to what I've heard some phrase as "consumer Christianity" where I selfishly pick and choose the things that I like from faith and leave the rest sitting on the shelves.

A community that tries to genuinely love? Grab one of those for me.

Purpose for times of pain, hardship, and suffering? Toss that in the cart.

Peace, love, and joy? I'll take two, thank you very much.

These gifts from God are good, and he delights in giving them, along with a plethora of other blessings which usually go unnoticed in my sight. For all of this, I like having faith. It's fun because it serves me.

Last Wednesday, a guy named Chris (check out his blog, it's worth your time) left this as a comment on my blog concerning a monologue he has with God: "Sick? Yes, God, I've heard that before... Dead? Oh, I've heard that too. And don't get me wrong, I'm mighty thankful for how you got me out of that jam. Death to life, yeah, good stuff there. But I think I've got it from here." He didn't post this in the context in which I am using it, but the tone of it is applicable. His comment describes me in the consumer Christianity I often buy into. I take the stuff I like from God - death to life, getting me out of the jams, etc. - and then peace out.

Unfortunately - or perhaps fortunately - the receivables of faith are only part of this word, a word that should move me to great action rather than a great wish list.

While I often call these gifts from God parts of my faith, in and of themselves they do not require faith at all because I will take them whether or not I believe in God. Good companionship, comfort, peace, love, and joy are all things I want in my life regardless of whether or not God exists. It takes no faith to reach out and grasp them.

What takes faith is doing the things I don't want to do - serving, sacrificing, risking. These things must take root in a faith in something greater than me because they provide my selfish flesh nothing.

An opportunity to serve God through my occupation has recently entered my life, and at random intervals during my week, it shakes my faith to the core. If I were to do this, it would risk my entire existence on the existence of God. In other words, if God doesn't exist, I am wasting my life. The words of Paul from 1 Cor 15:19 haunt me: "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." I don't want to be pitied more than all men. If I pursue this avenue, my existence rests on there being something more to life than what I see. And that takes faith.

So while peace, joy, purpose, and all that stuff are parts of my faith, given my self-serving nature they don't require much faith from me. Stepping out and risking my convenience, happiness, and reason for existence actually requires faith, maybe more than I have. . . .

But that's enough for today. More on this tomorrow.

1 comment:

Chris Pappa said...

A shout out! How exciting this blogoworld can be :-P

I approve of your use of my quote, which is certainly within the tone and purpose that I wrote it.

Go boldly, young Prufrock...