Monday, April 16, 2007

WHEN I SAY "FAITH"

LIVING BY MY WITS? It’s so easy for me to say “faith” but live by my wits. On Sundays, I boldly implore others to exercise their faith; well, Hay, does life require you, too, to live by such faith? Is it faith you live by, or is your security and sufficiency more grounded in wordly things? Honestly, I think those of us who claim and proclaim the Christian way need to guard our walk of faith ever so carefully. We also need to grow it by virtue of challenge.

GREATEST SEDUCTION. The points of greatest seduction for people of faith may not be predictable vices but much more subtle perversions of faith into works, grace into law, and sufficiency into endlessly inventive notions. The seven deadly sins—greed, gluttony, envy, pride, sloth, anger, lust--are not the obvious sins of the flesh (as so often misrepresented and taken out of context) but insidious twists of the heart that turn faith into death-breathing legalism and self-promotion.

FOUR QUESTIONS I’M ASKING MYSELF. I’ve been working on four questions intended to guard my heart and life in regard to living by faith. Try these on for size. Each one offers a guard and corrective to ways in which simple, profound faith—for me—frequently gets distorted in the warp and woof of daily life:

1. Is the Word of God the SOUL SOURCE of my belief about the condition of my/our humanity and solution for my/our humanity? In other words, whose story am I buying into, stepping into, or living out?

2. Is it ENOUGH for me to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who embodied Truth, died for my sins, and was raised for my justification? Does my faith need “religious trappings” beyond these?

3. Is the Gospel I embrace ACCESSED and LIVED by faith—or by good works, observing rules, traditions, ideas and/or formulas? Read Paul’s intense warnings in Galatians.

4. Is love for God and neighbor the MOTIVATING, ENERGIZING source of my freely-offered service to others? Why do I serve?

Photo: part of the river walk in White River State Park in Downtown Indianapolis

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