“We can have all kinds of grand, philosophical ideas, but if we don’t make them a part of our personalities and live them, they are of no value.” – Joe McQ, The Steps We Took
When I read this quote I’m confronted with the shallowness and frailty of my faith; I’m reminded of James 1:22 (“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”) and 1 Corinthians 13:1 (“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”) I claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, but believing in Jesus’ teachings and practicing Jesus’ teachings are two very different things. I’ve become very good at believing in Him without living in and through Him. If you looked at my behavior you might think Jesus is just an idea to me, and not someone to model my life after. A theoretical Jesus is no Jesus; a theoretical Jesus has no value and is not alive today. A theoretical Jesus is just a character in a story; He doesn’t have the power to transform me and redeem me of my sins.
One character defect I struggle with is the “seeing is believing” attitude. Like the religious people at the foot of Jesus’ cross (Mark 15:32 “Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe”) I often demand signs from God before I will believe in Him and His purpose for my life. I have an idea of who God Is and what He can do, but I don’t behave as if those things about God are really true. I’m waiting for God to prove He can do the things He claims, and then I will put His commands into practice. As I reflect on this quote I realize that once again I’ve got things backwards.
I can point to specific times in my life when God spoke to me, and each of those times was preceded by an act of faith on my part. Note that I didn’t say a thought of faith; I didn’t just believe in my head. Each time I physically did something, and that ‘something’ was rewarded with a deeper level of wisdom and faith. Yet despite those experiences I once again find myself wanting God to prove things to me before I will act. This attitude will get me no-where; it is of no value. My greatest area of spiritual struggle today is belief in the resurrection: I have head-knowledge and I know what I’m supposed to believe, but I also realize that my faith in the resurrection is weak. I believe this weakness of faith is limiting my effectiveness in all areas of my life.
I suppose the question is this: What can I do to act in faith of the resurrection? More to the point, what will I do?
What will you do to act in faith today?