Monday, January 26, 2009

Feeling Faithful

As a recently married woman, I am well-acquainted with the goodness and blessings that result from feelings. I think it was a special gift of God that He allows us to experience the same emotions He does - love, compassion, joy and peace. Even anger is a blessing because when rightly expressed it helps aligns us with the things that God hates and the sins that defame Him. Feelings are a barometer - they demonstrate what is important to us and the value that we place on such things. Anyone can have a duty to another person, but to feel something for them requires an investment that'd not easily made.

However, despite the proclivity of feelings to be a gauge for how our life is going, it shouldn't be the only standard by which we measure our lives. In fact, it's quite possible that it shouldn't even be the most important standard. Because, as we all well know, feelings change. However, despite the volatility of feelings, the obligations and commitments that come along with them do not vacilate as well. Therefore, something that is changable can not be the yardstick for evaluating that which is supposed to remain the same. A measurement must be consistent for it to be useful for anything at all. (Imagine the disasters that would happen in the kitchen or the construction yard if measurements changed on a regular basis.) Therefore, just as our pastor told us in pre-marital counseling, the feelings of "puppy dogs and icecream" that we have at the start of our marriage can not be the basis for the commitment we made. When those feelings change, the vows remain, and its those vows that must serve as our guide.

In the same way, people approach God with the view that fidelity to His principles is based on how they feel. If that's true, than that commitment isn't really a commitment at all. Because Christians know that they must agree with God that their sin is sin and that apart from Him nothing can save us. If this is the basis of our faith, then it is an immutable commitment. Our feelings, or lack therefore, have nothing to do with it.

We want to trust and turn to God in moments of despair and in moments of grandeur because at this moments we recognize that we are altogether different from who God is. But we must honor our commitment to faithfully serve Him even when we don't feel like it. For feeling faithful is a temporary condition. Being faithful is permanent.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wicked Wisdom

The book of Proverbs has much to say about wisdom. In fact, the predominant subject of the book is the instruction of a father to his son on how to acquire and exhibit wisdom. As a concerned parent, it is imperative to King Solomon that his son find and follow the way of the Lord - the only true way of wisdom.

Unfortunately, God is not the only one to make a claim to wisdom. Many of the cliche sayings of our day are offered as wise ways to conduct our life. "If it doesn't hurt anyone, it's ok." "Truth is personal." "It's my life, I can do with it what I want." All of these, and more ways of the world, are posited as truisms. And yet none of them are in fact true. None of them offer the promises of God's wisdom; promises that ensure that although our life may be difficult, our rewards will be eternal.

"Wisdom" that leads us away from God and His purposes can only be called wicked for it offers itself as truth when it its far from it. The ways of this world seek to offer us peace and prosperity, but in fact they rarely offer either We must look at anything that claims to be wisdom in light of God's Word and when it stands apart from that truth, we must abandon it for that which is truly wise.

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Choosing to Trust

"Just trust me."

Why does it seem that these fateful words are always followed by unfortunate circumstances? It's as if we can anticipate when trust should not be given and therefore we are asked of it unceremoniously. As if trust that must be coerced is reliable.

The problem with trust is that, much like a loan, those who need it the most are the ones who often have the most trouble getting it. Because trust, like money, is only given to those who have a proven history of reliability. When a history of failed promises exists, trust is often difficult to come by.

What I've learned though is that sometimes we have to choose to trust anyway. Because if we expect failure, people are often all too-willing to live up to our expectations. Although the pain to us might be immense when people let us down again, the reward is immeasurable when they surprise.

In many ways, this is also living out Christ's call on our lives. Because in His infinite wisdom He assuredly knows that we will fail Him. Yet, He gives us a role and a purpose in seeing His plan come to pass. And if that's not an overabundance of unwarranted trust, I don't know what is.


Better Things Ahead: January 2009

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Better Things Ahead