Hebrews 11:6…”And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
That verse is lifted from a chapter of scripture titled, “Faith in Action.” It references the actions of faith by Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Jews passing through the Red Sea, the falling of the walls of Jericho, Rahab, and then goes on to mention many more. Faith by relationship expressed via action.
I’m no less a sinner than any other reading this post. I deserve to be on the cross. So do you. My sins may differ from yours, or we may have the same weaknessness, but sin we all do, and condemned we all are, minus the sacrifice of the lamb and our acceptance of that eternal gift. So, I was warmed, surprised, perplexed, thrilled, scared, and overwhelmed yesterday while I knelt in prayer at an altar in a highly special place. The words, “I am pleased,” were whispered to my soul. My spirit heard it and understood why. The same reasons as the above. My humanness, however, thought…”Me? You’re pleased with me? You know all my thoughts. You know who I am. You’re pleased? How can that be?”
Relationships. We spend all of our lives chasing relationships. Nothing we do in life, not one thing, is not somehow in accordance or in conflict with our human relationships. The ones that matter to us…our family, marriages, friends, careers, and the like, we take great care in nurturing. When we don’t they fall to pieces. But in our faith, we often leave the one relationship that actually does matter – with our creator – as a one sided affair. We expect him to come to us. How well does that work in your daily life? If your marriage is one sided it’s going to end or be unhappy at best. If your parenting is one sided (not engaging your children) the kids are going to be lost. If you treat your friends like that, they eventually stop coming around. Relationships only flourish when two people are making the effort for it to grow. It’s the same thing with God. When what we consider a relationship with God is calling out to him only when we’re suffering in some way, then we are not in a relationship. We’re in a worshipping the idea of a genie in a bottle fantasy. God is not going to answer.
Faith in action. I find myself consumed often in seeking him. In his scripture, in the words and thoughts of his great teachers, in the fruit of my labors, and his voice when I strike out searching for the place where he’d like to meet. This time it was in Crossnore, NC, many hundred miles from the place he has me call home. I’d never been there. Didn’t even know it existed. Yet, I was drawn there to find the Holy Spirit in abundant presence. At a chapel named, “E.H. Sloop Chapel,” I was shown a remarkable thing, on top of being told he was pleased. I saw myself in a great work of art. Mr. Sloop and his great works are another story, and I recommend you Google it and learn for yourself what was and is done. Holy, holy, holy…all of it. I’m standing alone in this chapel after prayer staring at this magnificent fresco titled, “Suffer the Little Children,” and in the piece there is a child in the bottom left hand corner staring back at the viewer. In that moment, to me, I felt intensely that the boy was me. I kept staring at his eyes and they felt so familiar. Then I noticed his hair looked exactly like mine at the same age, and then his whole image kinda leaped from the art. It was incredible. I teared up.
It’s a real relationship to me. My faith is not token. It’s earnest. And it spurs me to want to be with him. When that feeling starts to fade it scares me. I act.
Where is your relationship with him? If you compared it against the effort you put into your most important human relationships, would it exceed it? I can’t tell you what is right, or how you’re supposed to do it. They are unique things…relationships. I only know how mine works with him. But I can tell you that the first step to building it…is action. On your part.