My apologies for not posting last Monday. I did not have access to the internet for a week. So here is the one that should have posted then.
What is faith? Sometimes when people talk about their faith, they are talking about what they believe. At other times, it seems like much more than mere belief. Various dictionaries define faith as a belief not based on proof or trust and loyalty to God. I think faith goes even beyond these definitions. First, I think that beliefs are the least of what constitutes faith. Faith most of all is trust. Faith in God is a trust in God and a trust in the outcomes in our lives. It is a trust that no matter what happens to us, God will be in the midst of it with us, and we will be fine. It is trust that somehow everything is always very all right, no matter what it looks like on the outside or from the inside. So primarily faith is trust.
Faith is love, because if I am going to put myself in God’s hands, I am loving him, trusting her, giving myself over to God. Faith is about gratitude, the capacity to be grateful for my life the way it is, exactly the way it is. There is also surrender to what is, surrender to what God is calling me, surrender to the reality of who I am, all that I am, surrender to the world that we are given to live in. And now there is trust, love, gratitude and surrender.
Faith is perseverance, always choosing to listen for God’s voice and guidance within, always taking on myself when I think I am not living up to what God calls me. It’s about keeping on, keeping on with the listening, with the relationship; it’s about investing my life in, with and for God first. Faith is also about forgiving: forgiving myself, forgiving God for not living up to my expectations, forgiving others, because they are basically in the same boat as me and we must oar our way together.
So there is trust, love, gratitude, surrender, perseverance, forgiving.
Faith is also about patience, about the willingness to await God’s timing with patience. It’s about giving up our own agendas and participating in God’s agendas. It’s about being the house built on rock, unshakable in its devotion to God. It’s also about noticing all the things God is doing in the world, in my life and others. So there is trust, love, gratitude, surrender, perseverance, forgiveness and steadfastness.
And faith is finally about action. Our action depends on, is attendant upon the Spirit for direction, for what to do and when and how to do it. The major action of faith is love, extending God’s all forgiving, merciful love to everyone we meet. Faith is about being, most of all, where action is always tied to being in God’s presence, the action flowing out of our being in God’s presence, flowing out and extending to everyone we encounter, everyone near to us. So there is trust, love, gratitude, surrender, perseverance, forgiveness, steadfastness and action. Then, as we begin to express these qualities, the Spirit adds in all these fruits: love, peace, joy, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. [Gal. 5:22-3] Thanks be to God.