I'd love to regale you with a few notes about faith today, if you'll permit me. You've read this far, so you're locked in, right? Here's the thing: there's a difference between living by faith and being an idiot. (What!? Yes.) Faith is not jumping in front of a moving car claiming it won't harm you because God's going to take care of you. That's being an idiot. Faith is also not throwing yourself off a cliff claiming that God will give you wings. Also being an idiot. Jesus knew better than that when the devil tempted Him in the wilderness, and so should we. Matthew 4:5-7 describes it as the bad guy on the pinnacle of the temple with Jesus, telling Him to throw himself down and that if He is who He says He is, the bible says that the angels will not let Him come to harm. Jesus says the bible also says you're not to tempt the Lord your God.
So what does this translate into for us? The more connection we have with God, through prayer and reading His Word, the more able we'll be to discern the difference between living by faith and being an idiot. (You love my colorful language, don't you? I speak only truth, my friends!) We'll also be better able to discern the difference between what we want to do (living by our feelings) and what God is calling us to do (living by faith).
Romans has been my favorite book of the bible for quite awhile now. There are some scriptures in there that people love to debate and sit upon as their basis for their personal bigotry, sadly, but if read in context those people would understand that they are completely wrong. (Further proof that you should read things for yourself as opposed to just listening to what other people say 'the bible says'... anything out of context is useless.) However, there is so much beauty in the words about faith that, at least in my opinion, can't be contested. (Hah! Everything can be contested! Also, I love parentheses.) Romans 3 talks about our reliance on faith, not on the letter of the law. It does not scoff at the law -- Jesus even said He did not come to nullify the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17) -- but because of His sacrifice on our behalf, we are set free from death each and every time we fail. Our faith in Him alone restores us into right standing with God. We don't have to be perfect, thank God. The thing is, the more faith we have, the more we want to do the right thing. And, when we see the good and fruitful results of doing the right thing, we have more faith. It's a great cycle.
Cycles can go the wrong way, too. If we do not have faith, if we spend our lives on little details, criticizing, judging ourselves and others, attempting perfection and always failing, we have less faith. We think of our lives as a series of merits and demerits. We think, "I did this wrong, so God loves me less. I did this right, so He loves me more." It's not a point system, believe me. God doesn't love you more if you give $2 to a homeless woman on a streetcorner or less if you run your wheels through the puddle and splash her with mud. He simply loves you. And living in that love, having faith in His ability to guide you along the path He has set out for you on this Journey, that places a freedom inside you like no other. The freedom to do good things simply because they are RIGHT, and not because you feel you have to for score-keeping purposes, or to prove to God that you're good. You're not. None of us are. HE IS, so we can live by faith in that, and have a peace and joy that passes understanding.
Speaking of that peace that passes understanding, I have never felt more peaceful than I do right now. If you've kept up with the blog, you know I quit my main job recently which was our primary source of income, because I felt led to do so and, by faith in God and His plan, took the next step. People do not seem to understand -- they fear for my well-being, our financial security, and more -- this peace I have in knowing that it was the right decision... yep, it passes understanding.
And I love every second of it.
Don't forget, there are great big, GOD-big plans coming the way of this Journey, for all of us. Never forget Jeremiah 29:11. He has plans to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future. And that hope and future is coming closer each day by faith alone.
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