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Posts Tagged ‘believe’

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To be faith-full is to believe. . . . in something or someone.

What do I believe? Or you?

Essentially, there is always something people fall back on. For some folks, it’s an amorphous universe while for others, it’s ego alone, and for still others, it’s God or Allah or Buddha. In any these cases, there is still prayer and there is communication that materializes out of a core of understanding or a set of assumptions about the created world and/or the spirit realm.

Through scripture, those who follow and believe in the One God and ultimately, in the Christ who came from that God to complete a covenant/contract, we are given some ways to discover where we land on the continuum of faith and belief. For instance:

FaithLove must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. [Romans 12:9-18, NIV]

Prayer manifests more readily out of one of these practices or attitudes. In fact, prayer comes naturally as a by-product of these behaviors. But if this is not our characteristic way, then we may have to be more intentional and more conscious of choosing to pray, of asking for transformation into a man or woman of faith.

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promiseWhich is it? When we say we will do something, when we agree, when we say yes, is there power in it? Three months after their exodus from Egypt, they arrived at Mt. Sinai and before any commandments were given, before any rules were laid down, God said this:

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”. . . . [and they answered] “We will do everything the Lord has said.” [Exodus 19:5-6a, 8b, NIV]

It’s a similar response that a bride and groom make to one another. Sometimes the answer is “I do” and sometimes the answer is “I will,” but in both cases, they are responses to a question that might be something like this, “will you have ‘so and so’ to be your wedded husband/wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony; will you love him/her, comfort him/her, honor and keep him/her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only for him/her so long as you both shall live?”

And God  basically asked the same of the Israelites. Will you obey me fully and they said we will.

But they did not. They thought they could. They thought they would. But they did not. And for this reason, for this “fail,” the history of these people was changed forever, yet again. And Jesus asked for no less, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [Matthew 22:37-40, NIV]

And did we? We did not. We do not.

It’s not rocket science, this living within the parameters of God’s plan: love, obey, trust, believe. And why don’t we? I can say we are still like Eve and Adam. We want more than what God offers. We believe we know better. We believe we might miss something if we agree to this small world. I see myself kicking against the limitations I perceive God has made against me, not seeing that following with abandon, in trust, opens the world to me. I must let go to have. I must give to receive. The paradox continues.

Today, God is still asking me, will trust God to be God in my life?

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The first step is belief. “I believe you; I believe what you are saying; I believe YOU are speaking truth.” But the next step is critical, when the listener moves belief into the realm of faith. Here is where the content has meaning for the listener. And here belief can grow.

Hebrews 4:2
For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.

Life in the Spirit is cyclical. With this scripture, I understand it even more than before. Belief prepares the ground of my heart to have faith, that confidence in things not seen or proven. And when faith expands, then I am able to understand more of the “message.” I understand more about the messenger.

As soon as I give room to doubt, the process slows down. It still works, but more methodically. The doubter is looking for more to believe, more information, more facts, more stories, more exposure. And when all goes well, the tipping point is reached and the process begins again.

“Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” [John 20:27]

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