Faith is not just a belief in God; it is a belief in God plus a relationship with God; it is belief plus faith plus a deep relationship with God, plus taking whatever action God inspires. Faith is an ever-growing commitment to put God first, to continually open oneself up to the Lord, to listen to and to follow God’s Indwelling Spirit. It is living out one’s purpose and calling here in this world. It is the desire and commitment to love God with all of one’s heart, mind, soul and strength. It is the desire and commitment to love yourself and your neighbor.
Faith is an active principle in one’s life, not a passive belief system. As we follow God’s Spirit within, we are healed of what keeps us from being unable to love; and we find out where we are to expend God’s love– on this person and that event or cause, in this work or that. We discover our calling as we offer up the darker parts of ourselves for healing. Faith means we are willing to go all the way with God, to wherever God would take us.
Faith is about transforming(that is God’s work) all our negativity about ourselves and others into a positive force for good and an extravagant expenditure of love in the world. We can’t transform ourselves, no matter how much we try.
Faith is not about stagnation and being static, or of living the same way all of your life. It’s not about holding the same attitudes from birth to death or even the same faith. Faith is dynamic, expressive of where we are at any moment in our lives and in our faith journey. So if you are not changed by God, transformed, that is, into a much more positive and loving person, if you’re not continually challenged and discovering new things about yourself, if your relationship with and trust in God is not ever deepening, you are not a faithful person. Or maybe I should say your faith is not in God, but still in your own self. When we put ourselves in God’s hands, there is no way we can stay the same.
Faith requires a lot of us. We must embrace our shadow self and love the whole of who we are. We must follow wherever God would lead us without knowing where we are going. We must give up or release so much along the way—assumptions, expectations and desires that are more about the world then they are about our own or others’ needs. We must embrace other people as they are. We must recognize and serve Christ in any person before us.
Where are you in your faith journey? What is God calling you to be and to do? How dependent are you on God? How trusting of his providence for you are you? These are measurable attitudes in your life. The evidence is in the level of trust vs. anxiety you experience, the ability to love and embrace yourself and others versus living in anger and fear and anxiety, the giving of yourself to others unconditionally instead of holding ourselves back.
Until you live freely as you were created to be, until you are free of the pull of the culture, you are still at the beginning of the journey, not yet through the narrow gate. It takes a deep commitment to clean up the “stuff” in our lives that lies between us and God, to open ourselves up to his healing and transformative powers, to step into his arms, to trust God completely, to live without anxiety or fear or anger.
Faith is living our beliefs, giving them absolute prominence in our lives. It is action taken in love in addition to worshipping God and putting him first in our lives. It is living proof that we follow the Two Great Commandments of Jesus: to love God with all of ourselves and to love our neighbors and ourselves.
Questions to ponder over the week: Of what does my faith consist? Am I truly following the Lord or limiting who I can be with him? Do I love God with all of myself or with only the good parts? How faithful am I on a scale of 1 to 100 with 100 being the highest? What calls of the Lord am I ignoring? Which are easy for me to follow?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who give him 100% of ourselves. May our perseverance/faithfulness in following his direction be our most important response to him. May we truly walk the way of Jesus.
If you’d like to see more of By the Waters, check these out:
–There’s a new video up on YouTube: “What Jesus said about the kingdom” ”youtube.com/user/patsadams
–Check out my twitter feed at twitter.com/BTWwithPatAdams
–Check out the “Offerings” on my website at bythewaters.net which links to a CD of guided meditations and a series of booklets on the Life of the Spirit.
If you’d like to read the blog in its entirety, go to bythewaters.net/blog.html. On FB I post a portion of the blog each Monday thru Thursday. On Friday I post questions to ponder over the weekend based on that week’s topic.