Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Believing God

I have been thinking a lot about grace and faith.  As a young Christian I was taught that faith was a means to move God.  We were taught that there are principles of faith that God would not ignore. If we only believed, confessed and acted we could get what ever we had set our faith toward.  As I have walked with God I find that I don't believe that God is so easily manipulated.  Don't misunderstand me, faith sits central to our life in God.  I do believe that we are to confess God's Word and put into practice, but in a response to a relationship and revelation from God.  My view of 'faith principles' has been shaped by the message of grace.  Grace in the Greek carries the idea of God's influence on our hearts.  God speaks to us by His Spirit; we are designed to be a people of revelation.  Faith is the response to an encounter with God.  Consider Gideon, frightened, hiding in a wine press.  An angel appears and makes a declaration that Gideon is a mighty man of God.  It was that revelation that propels him into the destiny that God had for him.  To some Gideon’s ongoing conversation and request for confirmation was a lack of faith on Gideon’s part.  Yet it speaks to a remarkable act of grace and revelation.  It was in that encounter that dynamic faith is fostered and released.  As a Bible teacher it is easier to contextualize Gideon’s request as unbelief and to discourage people to look to an encounter with God, than to set them up to the possibility of God not responding to their request.  We some times dumb down the mystic nature of Christianity to avoid any need to wrestle with God.  Jacob wrestled with God and carried the reminder for the rest of his life.  We need more divine encounters. Another truth that has come as I consider grace is that life is more about God and less about us.  We were created for His pleasure, yet some how we can lose that perspective and shift to ‘my happiness, my dreams, and my fulfillment’.  In all the heroes of faith we see recorded in the book of Hebrews, it was more about how they responded to God and His purposes for their life.  Life is complex; God’s ways are far above our own, He moves according to His own sovereignty. We are called to a living and dynamic relationship with God let us seek him and avoid resorting to formulas to find our way. When we “hear” God, then let us believe, confess and act with confidence.