Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Where does faith take us next?

 Where do we go from here? I am not sure where God will take the church in the next decade, century or even millennium. God has been at work from the beginning and there is no sign that he is ready to stop. One thing is sure; his faithfulness is steady and his mercies are new every morning. I am confident that he will bring transformation to each and every believer who truly seeks his righteousness.

Christianity is a world religion. Christianity does not only belong to the western portion of the world. Holt states, “Christianity is by nature a global rather than a European faith." The early Jewish Christians experienced Jesus and took the message to everyone on their path. Many of those believers took the message farther and intentionally stepped out into unknown regions to announce the message to the world. The message of faith, hope, and love had transformed their lives and these transformed believers were intentional in following Jesus' command to take the message to all so that everyone might experience that transformation. 
 
The future is often a scary place to contemplate. God has provided a means for growth for believers who walk with in the Holy Spirit's guidance. Holt states it as: “Christian spirituality is a style of walking in the Holy Spirit. The Bible gives a series of normative principles, positive and negative examples of life experiences, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, on which all else depends." This truth of God's revelation grants the believer hope in the scary life. It is his faithfulness which grants power to overcome fear. It is his mercies that instill energy to spiritual development. It is his grace that empowers every believer to stand firm in the conviction of a loving God while seeking for a restored relationship with their creator.

The 2000 years of church history of men and women thirsting after God is a tribute to God's faithfulness and ability for quenching the thirst of those who seek after his righteousness. Too many believers think of spiritual formation as private and not to be shared, yet any study of Christ and his church demonstrates that believers are never intended to travel the road of faith alone. The refreshing flow that quenches the thirst for God is only found in relationship. Holt would describes the community of believers as a community with the following traits: “unity in diversity, evaluating the criteria, transmitting spiritualities, and learning form non-Christian movements.” I agree with these needs of community for the purpose of taking the message to a global audience, while avoiding pitfalls of cultural un-righteousness.

Our time is filled with the same tests that have challenged the church throughout the ages. There are new twists to the challenges such as global communication, technological advances for communication, and video capturing of events with the touch of a phone. These challenges are enhanced by the small world in which we live. The current world is already a global economy while societies are moving to a global society with the merging of cultures. The downfalls realized in this new reality is a reduced passion and dedication. These downfalls are mediocrity, personal pride, and a laziness toward living the hard work of spiritual formation. These failures are not new to the kingdom and will need a direct call for a renewed faith and dedication.

The pendulum swings in cultures to and fro in the faith. How does the church proceed to restore that which has been lost? The answer is in living a personal walk with Jesus in a public way. This action requires courage. Holt states it as, “we need much more courageous leadership in the churches to teach and practice the spiritual life.” The courage of men and women throughout the ages testifies to the truth of God and his ability to quench the thirsting of our souls. The current cultures must do the same and live like Jesus did. The believer must seek to be relevant to every culture while not compromising the Bible as foundational for all rebuke and encouragement, and for bringing people to a saving relationship with God.

The church of God is not a place for judgment. It is a place where the foundational principles for abundant living are practiced and implemented. Thus, a great need is required for the practice of spiritual disciplines and the implementation of grace. Holt states: “God's passion is love. All of this is grounded not in our worthy intentions, but in God's forgiveness, God's empowerment, God's creation. It is through these great gifts that all believers might become a great testimony of faith. The courage to stand strong is not in the removal of fear, but within the faith of certainty and assurance granted through the recognition of God's faithfulness and mercy.

We are created to have a natural thirst for God much as we are created to have a thirst for water. The thirst for water is satisfied by drinking water. The thirst for God is quenched by drinking the soothing relationship that comes through knowing him. The great members of the faith in our past are cheering us on as we seek to discover this relationship. It is good to review and hear their legacy of courage, discipline, and hope so that we might follow in their footsteps and declare the message of Jesus to go and preach the gospel to all.

You know I love ya, Don

Bradley P. Holt. Thirsty for God. (Fortress Press: Minneapolis, 2005). 204.

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