What is Faith?

I have been reading about Abraham in the bible for perhaps the twentieth time.  What really strikes me on this reading is how Abraham was contacted by God.  It seems God contacted Abraham first, and only later and only infrequently did Abraham call upon God.  What strikes me as interesting is the way we humans act toward God and how rarely do we hear of humans who respond to God.  If we are of the Judeo-Christian heritage, then we have the history of a God who speaks to His people.  From the prophets to the incarnation, God is seeking relationship with his created humans.  He has his thoughts, desires and opinions.  And He certainly seems to be a God who values relationship with people much more than the acts of worship or service instigated by people. 

Our human nature, some would say our sinful human nature, values autonomy above all else.  We think up ideas about what “our God” is like, and its little else but idolatry.  Where the primitive peoples may have carved idols, we nonetheless think about and write about a God whom we have “carved” from our own imagination.  How few people, even those who call themselves Jews or Christians, spend time searching the scriptures to find God as God revealed Himself.  We have become so silly in the postmodern age as to suggest that we ourselves have a divine spirit.  We sinners, are actually God.  Imagine that!  I recently looked at a best selling book where we are urged to consult our own divine spirit for the answers to everything.  This is not the indwelling Christ of the Christian who has invited Christ to reside in the soul, but the human soul claiming to be divine.

So, we set up our own rules in the name of our imagined God, and we make up our own plans in the name of our imagined God, and we imagine that God is pleased.  No wonder Jesus said to those who claimed to have done good works in His name, “depart from me, I never knew you.”  We must listen to God first, and we do that through knowing Him.  We must know how he revealed Himself in history, and then how He reveals Himself to us through circumstances and our conscience.  If we see someone in need right under our noses, and we know we have been told to help, we don’t have to plan anything.  We just help as we have been commanded to do.  If we set up some elaborate program, which incidently, we secretly hope will bring us recognition as being the solution to some great problem, and then we offer that to God as our gift, it probably means as much to him as the children who offer their mother a thoroughly trashed kitchen when trying to make something for her.   A good intention, no fruit.

It all starts with knowing God, loving God, watching for God’s work in  life, talking to God, and listening to Him in scripture and in circumstance.  It must be about God, and not about me.  It must be about relationship and not earning points with Him.  It starts with Him and I respond.  It ends with Him receiving the glory and I receive no opportunity to brag except about what God has done.

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