Sunday, October 11, 2015
Must Be More...
Reading the Bible is like taking a trip down a road never before traveled. Oh, it does not matter that a passage has been read a hundred times and studied until the ink is all but worn off the page. We can go to just such a place on the page and all of a sudden it is like we are at a place never before seen. Amazing, is it not? While it truly is amazing, it is also an example of how the Holy Spirit can move into our heart, sometimes on a collision course with the way we think things ought to be, and sometimes gently merging into the stream of our experiences. Those who cannot understand that the Word is alive and powerful are surely those who have never allowed themselves the experience of being abandoned beneath its life giving waters.
I came to one of those moments of being surprised by the familiar a few days ago while reading in the New Testament book known as Hebrews. Any real student of Hebrews knows what is going to be found in the 11th chapter of that writing. It is like a roll call of the faithful. When I came to the sixth verse, I found myself with these words, "And without faith it is impossible to please God.." Flip that verse around and it says a very simple word: "What pleases God is our faith." Most of us live as if there is something else which would please Him more. Maybe it is our gifts, or our sacrifices, or our worked out rational theological understanding. To simply say that faith is what pleases God sounds too simple.
While we say, "Surely, there must be something more," God says, " Faith is what pleases Me." I am reminded of some prophets who told some folks they had it wrong as they tried to please God. And I am reminded of the way Jesus had a way of boiling down what people made complicated into something as simple as loving God and one another. Maybe our pre-occupation with making simple things complicated speaks more to our need to be in control and our fear of what it might mean if we turn lose and live life on the simple terms of the gospel.