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Posts Tagged ‘action’

Wouldn’t it be great if I could get a reading on a “faith meter?” Or, maybe not. After all, if it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain, my gauge would have to be in the millimeters.

James 2:22, 26
You see that his [Abraham’s] faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. . . . As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Abraham and Rahab are the two stories James recounts in chapter two as examples of the best partnership between faith and action. One for hearing God so clearly that Abraham journeyed up a mountain with the intention of sacrificing is son Isaac and the second, of a prostitute who paradoxically harbored and aided enemies of her city because she felt compelled by God to do so. These two acts registered hot on the faith meter.

As I was reading and contemplating these stories, I realized it wasn’t the acts themselves that threw the meter into the red zone, it was their willingness to act and follow through by hearing God. It was trust. Acts of faith are an outgrowth of the faith itself, the love of God, a relationship with depth and authenticity.

I’ve never been very fond of the Abraham/Isaac story. As a parent, I shudder at the very idea or contemplation of a blood sacrifice of my own child. How could Abraham be willing to do this? Human sacrifice was not even the norm of the One God believers. Wasn’t it a pagan practice of neighboring tribes and faiths? Or, maybe he never really believed that God wanted an actual sacrifice?

I remember having a similar attitude some years ago when my husband and I had recently adopted our two boys from Latvia and a few months later I had to travel to a library conference. My friend and colleague was a white knuckle flyer and I tried to calm her by proclamation.

“It’s not my time to die.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Simple, I don’t believe God would orphan my children twice.”

Perhaps Abraham had locked his faith into that earlier promise that would be fulfilled through Isaac. Perhaps.

But here’s the point: the actions, the deeds, the works of love and self-sacrifice, the expressions of kindness, and the selfless sharing of worldly goods . . . these are the measuring sticks of faith.

Faith without expression is a mere concept.

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Hope and patience are partners. They are the ones who sit with us when we are waiting for the change to come. Hope implies change.

Romans 8:24-25
For in [this] hope we were saved. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees? But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure.
[Amplified]

Chapter 8 of Romans is really quite mystical as Paul deliberates on all of creation waiting for the ultimate redemption when humans become like Jesus, when humans become complete and our own triune natures become truly One. How else would it be possible for the lion to eat with the lamb and “. . . they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” [Isaiah 11:9]

How else can we wait but in patience? We cannot make this happen. We can only do our small part in this age of transformation: give ourselves fully to the hope and walk today in faith.

In the Cursillo communities, they say our Christian walk is supported by a three-legged stool: piety (prayer), study (word), and action (works). I believe this too. But before, these three can take root, one must be sure that three other legs are in place: faith, hope, and love.

Piety, study, and action are disciplines and should be natural outgrowths of our faith and love. Our strength to persevere comes from our hope. It’s active waiting.

I choose to walk and wait in hope this day. Keep me mindful. Keep me in the moment.

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