Faith is not a formula

“Greater love has no one but this: that someone lay down his life for his friends”
Jn 15:13

Welcome to the end of April! This week in Australia we celebrated the Easter weekend, followed by our ANZAC celebrations today. It’s been a week of reflecting and celebrating the sacrifices of others so that I might have freedom, both in body and in spirit. I honour both their sacrifices to me. 

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In the midst of reflection and celebration, I’ve been thinking about the challenges that life throws at us and the consequences of our responses to them. What are the limits of my faith, or my prayer when there are no revelations, or my patience in the waiting? 

Are we the kind of christians that blame God when life gets hard, or do we thrive on the apparent absence because it reminds us of what Jesus has already done?

Recently I’ve had two strong conversations with friends who were hurting. Looking for the Lord, one friend suggested strongly that he didn’t know where God was in his life. His questions were like many I’d had on my own, strongly based on how righteous I felt in a situation and what I felt like I deserved, rather than what I expected myself to give in the cost of following Jesus. 

I’m reading my bible, I’m praying every day, I’m attending church – but none of this will always make the Lord feel close, or open our ears to hear – sure, they may help, and the discipline is important because the Lord calls us to live by His spirit. But it is not a formula. Faith is not a formula. Do this, and God will do that. Do this, and He will feel near. 

If we live like that, God becomes a friend more than He is a god, and reverence to Him becomes broken. We get upset because we’re doing our bit and God isn’t doing His.

What is His part? Was His part not to love us, to send His son to die for us, to free us from the consequence on our sin, to grant us His Spirit again so that we could be with Him? Hasn’t He done His part? So therefore then, what does He owe us now?

How long will we love the Lord if He doesn’t always seem to ‘satisfy your desires’?

I think sometimes it is about the discipline of doing rather than what we get out of it. We know that Christ is Lord, we know that God is who He says He is, I AM, so what is the limit that I will go to without my needs getting met, because I believe in the truth? How far am I really able to remove myself from my circumstance and be obedient, just because I trust in a God who says He will never be far from those who need Him? 

To be honest, I don’t think we’re able to do any of it without him. We’re going to fail, we’re going to fall short and life is going to be really hard at times – the Bible is very clear of this. But I’ve said this before – I believe that the cost of following Jesus, is far better than the cost of not following Him. 

That is what drives my faith when I can’t be bothered, when I feel so distant from Him and when I am drowning in circumstance. I hold onto the hope that we WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. My prayer this year is that you will too.

xx K

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