Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Notwithstanding:Faith and Freedom

The most significant risk we take in life, is in loving others. Passivity and self-absorption restrict our ability to take relational risks. To 'turn the other cheek' when the our mechanic seems absent-minded, when our classmate has a 'blonde moment', and remember a kindness, a conversation, to pay attention to and choose how you construct meaning from experience is an act of maturity. When we focus on our hungriness and our fatigue and our desire, we will loose the socially-conscious sensitivity that is conducive to a healthy and holistic outlook on life. It will re-shape perspective and faith.

To believe that the gospel is neither social nor spiritual, eternal nor temporal is possibly the hallmark of this current generation. A further characteristic of current generations is the perceived rejection of traditional orthodoxy and the acceptance of a liberal theopraxy resulting in a literal interpretation of Matthew 25:35,36,40 "... for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me. ... inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."   Earlier generations of evangelicals were more interested in saving souls than seeking justice because a cup of cold water would be of little comfort in hell. 
The current and possibly subsequent generations may never shake the global perspective imprinted on their minds. The gospel must have relevance for this world and not simply the next. What sets these generations apart is the scope of this awareness. Most don't need to be convinced that justice matters.

This is faith in action, a social sensitivity, awareness and responsibility. The second great commandment is like the first, "Love your neighbour as yourself." This change of focus is attainable only through the redeeming work of God, replacing self-worship with worship of God, removing the focus upon Me. "(God) has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." We cannot be comfortable in refusing to face issues of injustice, poverty, and intolerance anymore than we can be comfortable in sin.

Faith is a coin, one side determines belief; one side determines action, it is the answer of faith by works. Faith never was intended as an opportunity for abdication from social responsibility, rather it forms the basis of the commandment to obedience and accountability. It is not that there no longer exists any relational risks, it is in acting from belief that in 'loving others as ourselves' we move beyond the limits of human enterprise into the realm of spiritual endeavour motivated intrinsically by 'God in us'. Faith conquers fear by its call to act, worship becomes the activity of works and our works become an expression of our worship, not because we are not at risk in relationships, but because freedom involves attention, awareness, discipline, effort, and being truly able to care about other people and to sacrifice for them.

An easy task, no doubt!!

Knowledge begets freedom. John 13:17, "If you know these things, you will be happy if you do them."
We must always consciously decide to deride the default and in kindness, love and mercy act upon our knowledge of God's calling upon our lives. Any other option is sin. We really do not have to worry about the consequences of extending ourselves in either acceptance of an other's default actions or in lending of ourselves without reciprocal payment-in-kind expected. This is faith, an expectation that our acts are duly rewarded when we act within the context of a Christian perspective. This is freedom, being able to move and act without grievous and malicious underpinnings girding our actions and reactions to life's random events and interactions. We are no longer guided and controlled by the 'master-mind', but have reneged on our authority and have come under the Lordship of "He who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,..." and Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." You can't live without faith and faith will determine the structure of your worship.

Romans 12:1,2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

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