the theme of faith is under girding my life right now: it is the topic of the message series at church; it is the topic of the beth moore study i am walking through with our ladies' study group; and in random daily devotionals; it is on my heart and my mind constantly during my quiet time. it has only been over the course of the last six months that i have - through His grace - begun to experience and understand the difference between the superficial faith that reigned over my life for so many years and this new found authentic faith that [without any effort own my own], naturally inclines my heart towards living what i have i have always claimed to believe.
chloe came home from church sunday singing: ♪ "i know that i know ♪ that i knoooow ♪ that Jesus Christ is Looord ♪ "... which reminds me of that infamous question i mentioned not too long ago: "do you know that you know that you know?". this question is typically asked with the implication of whether or not you know you are "saved"; or have a "right standing before God". it was a question i'd heard often throughout the course of my life. i'd instinctively nod my head whenever it was posed; however, the real question should not have been as to whether or not i claimed to know, or thought i knew - but how i knew... of course, i would've quickly retorted: because i walked that aisle; because i prayed that prayer; because i went to church;
"If your justification for your salvation begins with 'because i...', that is not biblical justification". ~ Dr. David Platt, 9/27/09
because i had believed...
"You believe that there is one God? Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." James 2:19
it's a rare thing to hear such hard-to-swallow truth in the realm of our contemporary church culture. and for good reason: such truth does not fill the church pews but rather, weeds them out. we are a people who desire to "feel good"; but desperate for truth. but apart from Christ, our desire supersedes our desperation. it's why addiction is rampant, but even in our church culture, it's why lukewarm-ism is rampant; its why joel olsteen has become a multimillionaire by way of giving "pep talks" to a congregation of 43 thousand without so much as cracking open the bible.
"They are counted as righteous because of their faith... but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had..". (romans, ch. 4)
faith. oh faith is not what i always thought it was. authenic faith is not content in idleness. it is the faith of Abraham, who wilfully prepared to sacrifice his own child out of obedience to God; it is the faith of Rahab, who wilfully prepared to risk her own life as well as the life of her entire family for the sake of her faith in God. true faith is a willingness to sacrifice everything; to risk everything for the sake of the gospel.
whether or not faith is a gift from God remains a debatable point of contention in christian theology. i'm no biblical scholar but i know this: that is not a kind of faith i could muster up on my own: i could not simply make the decision one random day to trust God so much that i am willing to sacrifice one of my children; or to trust Him so much that i risk the lives - and the livelihood - of my family. that kind of faith, apart from His grace, was not in me. in fact, there was nothing good in me. no, the best i could do was throw myself at His feet and admit that i was incapable of such faith on my own.
i know that i know that i know because Christ... and not because of any action, word or deed of my own will. He called me to Himself, declared me His own and right in front of me, He changed me and instilled in me a faith like i have never known; a faith - and a peace - i could have never concocted on my own.
Jesus alone is "the author and perfecter of our faith". (Hebrews 12:2)