On Wednesday one of my Facebook friends posted this note (I cannot link to the note itself but I can link to her blog):
“Faith’s beginning is a foreign thing, unnatural. Everyone of us is accustomed to living on our own that when we approach walking in obedience we are often shocked by how difficult it is. Even for the seasoned Christian, faith is daily a struggle. In fact, especially for the Christian who’s been around the block our temptation is in forgetting who has brought us our success. We see those shining moments as testaments to our own potential instead of remembering it was in those moments that we were our weakest and most vulnerable. We came to God begging and pleading, recognizing His grandeur and reality, and in His mercy He stepped in achieved the impossible…”
Now for my thoughts:
Faith is not relying on our own power. Abram moved his family from a technologically advanced civilization to a wilderness for a promise and others written about in Hebrews 11 show that faith is not something shallow and something people do to escape the complexities of life. In contrast faith is an investment to a greater and more fulfilling life: in Hebrews 11: 13-16 it states (emphasis mine):
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. “
The hardest thing (and I agree with my friend completely) is that when we are blessed with God’s grace and the daily grace that falls on the just and unjust alike we become complacent and reliant on our own power. In our culture there is the honor of ‘pulling yourself up by your bootstraps’ but it needs to be remembered that God is the one who helped lift you up and he also provided the bootstraps themselves. Faith is not blind, we are told what we have to do. Faith is not knowledge it is action: to follow God’s commands. In Deuteronomy 8: 11- 17 God’s Word says (emphasis mine):
“Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”
We are so guilty of that, when we have plenty we take the credit ourselves. We blind ourselves because of our own hubris. In Proverbs 30:8-9 it gives the right response to this issue.
“Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
We need to remember where we came from, where we are going, that God helps us in all of our struggles, and to give thanks for the Providence in our lives for finances, living situations, and friends (even those that we have never met).