Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
i have taken in some opinions and i am trying to process them out in a concise manner that is consistent with what i think the bible is teaching its readers. on one hand i hear the argument, when something goes wrong, "your faith should not be determined by your circumstances." has anyone heard this? i have my whole life. a close relative that dies, a spouse who finds love in another's arms, an accident that proves to be life-altering, these all are followed by some form of a christian approach of counsel for the victim of said tragedies to not put their faith in god based on their circumstances. i believe this idea to my core; stand firm to apply it in my trials and tribulations. however, for the sake of thought, i have heard an idea from an individual who wondered about when things go right. when things are all going great, or an amazing incident takes place in your favor is it not appropriate to state or hold to the same belief that your faith should not change with your circumstances? does it make god or prove him to be more faithful if things go your way?
i think i could make the case for an exception to the rule in the event that things work towards your favor.
god is good alone - luke 18:19
god causes things to work for good - romans 8:28
every good thing is from heaven - james 1:7
these are some of the scriptures that would reinforce the notion that you could make an exception, for god's doing, to declare that faith could be determined by circumstances. but the only problem is dealing with creation. we are not individuals who are able to hold onto absolutes reasonably. i had mentioned the case with homosexuality in one of the previous posts and the still remaining controversy with many, who are very well educated, as to what is the determinant of homosexuality? genetic or choice? an absolute in this scenario is never going to be found. why? humans are the researchers; humans are the validators. how about the notion that god doesn't reveal everything about your life to you. not so he can withhold but rather so he can protect you from yourself (the end result is proven to be very valuable). i would like to think that even in the midst of a great bonus at work, and on the other hand losing a very desired position or job would not allow your faith to fluctuate in the least. paul says it very well in 2 timothy 2:13, that even if we are faithless, he (god) remains faithful. why? he (god) cannot deny himself. eternally sound, eternally right, eternally good, and eternally faithful without wavering; god is and was the only absolute to stand on. regardless of the circumstances that may or may not have occurred because of the fallen world and our sinful nature.
quite possibly god uses inconsistencies to rouse a curiosity. only to later reveal himself as creator of truth. when we cease to search, and we retain our unmitigated view we don't adopt an unconditional love/regard as divine as our maker's. what happens in its stead is a spirit of pride which stunts the growth of our understanding giving birth to idolatry. for example, as a result, we witness a great deal of discrimination towards individuals who are up to their necks in perversion and become the object of disgust instead of objects of unconditional love. all due to those who hold to the absolute. "learning to distinguish when ideas are actually incompatible versus when they are only incompatible in appearance but possibly harmonious at a deeper level is a difficult but essential reasoning skill for the christian thinker" (psychology and christianity, 257).
humans have a way of pressing their opinion or perspective. my dad's way is usually on a saturday morning family breakfast, or a simple text message in the middle of a work day. like today, for example, he texted me that i have a great deal of baseball cards in his attic that could be put on ebay for sale. when you find yourself alone with my papa he will most likely throw a curve ball of a revelation he got during a quiet time in his week. i am no different. this blog proves to be a sufficient medium for me. the recent quandary has led to my thinking of how we, as a church, present faith and its affects. i believe humans like revealing good things that have happened to gain approval or applause from their audience. believe me when something amazing happens liz is the first to know how good it makes me feel. can this be dangerous though? especially when it involves faith. x and y happened it makes me feel good, it must have been from god, right? or, a and b happened it makes me feel miserable it must not have been from god, right? (the idea that only bad came from god and good came from our doing can also appropriately be placed inside our thinking) or better yet, neither had anything to do with god in any shape or form. must we, as a church be careful in how we present ourselves to others when we experience something life changing? only because we, as people, tend to not remain faithful. a misunderstanding of how faith was involved in the circumstance, or a bad communication on how faith was influencing the circumstance could very well determine one's idea or perception of the level of faith based on the circumstance. "if i would have had enough faith" a and b would not have happened; "because i had enough faith" x and y happened. this is horrifically inconsistent with scripture. as paul states in philippians 4:11, "...for i have learned to be content in whatever circumstances i am." the amplified bible further states in the same passage, (phil. 4:12) "i have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation...having sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want." when things are rough and we share with others (the church) things are rough, it should get people to feel the same feeling. whatever feeling you get when things are rough. denying that feeling is not a good practice for a community who articulates their desire to create an atmosphere of warmth and honesty. likewise, when one feels the need to celebrate let us (the church) all share in the feeling of excitement and express however one may feel when they are excited. let us present our faith in a way that it doesn't change with our circumstance but that our faith changes our circumstance. after all, we find ourselves in troubled situations most likely due, although not entirely, to decisions we wish we could have back so to make the better choice. i am pretty sure anyone who preaches that god is around to keep you from bad things and only let you have good things is an individual who has never read the bible. at least the one i read (nas). does this change god's demeanor? no, he is good, and everything he gives is for his glory and our good to in return give him glory. ultimately we all contain idolatrous behavior. this behavior manifests itself in many forms and at many different times. the test is when you find something going right and somehow god is not given credit for it. however, when things fail miserably god is the receiver of our frustration and blame.
in conclusion we (humanity) cannot handle absolutes, as i have pointed out above. faith is done a severe injustice when it is placed inside a category of human certainty.
the woman who touches the fringe of jesus' garment was healed as jesus so gladly and willingly desired in luke 8:48.
"daughter your faith has made you well; go in peace."
the garment would not have been touched if she didn't have the faith. would she have pressed into the crowded group and been healed if she contained only hope? maybe. but in my experience hope doesn't get you past the door to go and meet with jesus and fight or press against the crowds. hope certainly does not give you an assurance that jesus is even your mediator who is able to make possible what has been for so long impossible. faith, on the other hand, is not only hope but an assurance of what you hoped to happen coming about. by this we change your circumstance regardless of its improbability. where did the woman gain this type of faith? it was not her who saved her but rather the healing power of god, right? it was not her who said "if only i could touch," as if she had the ability to set forth in motion such a healing. if you read in luke what had taken place prior to him coming into the town you might find how she gained such a faith. jesus, healing the man with a demon in the graveyard, set in motion her faith over hope. the faith came from an act of god therefore giving her confirmation of this wonderful jesus. so god, instituted it and god, ordained this faith in this woman which is how he will gain glory from anything or anyone in every circumstance. praise god that we are not meant to muster enough faith to see salvation, progressive sanctification, or even his glorious presence displayed on this earth. but, these no doubt help in our belief and our faith, right? maybe this happens to give you and give me an assurance that no matter who challenges the bible's legitimacy and text...god is faithful, true and just in all he does. that is where my faith shall rest, in his goodness, in his justice, and in his unwavering truth.