Monday, January 25, 2010

Imperfect Faith

Sometimes I may want to believe everything God says or has said, but circumstance challenges that faith--like there is a gap between what I know in my head and that which my heart deceptively tries to declare. Thankfully we serve a gracious God, a merciful God, One who remembers we are but dust.

I am in Romans 4 these days--in the midst of a challenge from the Bible study in which I am participating. So I camped out at the first four verses. Here is what one portion reads:

...if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." (vv. 2-3)

Faith. Belief. Paul--the author of Romans--explained that it is our faith that makes us right with God. Belief. We can do all the right things externally, but our works do not put us into right standing before the God of the universe. He is in the business of piercing our depths--looking straight into our hearts. And if our heart does not believe His word--His promises--then we will not be righteous before Him.

Seems simple but it begs the question, "How goes our faith?" Do we truly believe what He says? If we do, then our experience in the moments of our days should reflect peace in the midst of the storm, joy when the desolate invades, and love towards the unlovely. A high calling--one impossible if left to ourselves, but victorious through the power of His might.

So I wanted a fresh reminder of Abraham's faith. I went back to the actual account in Genesis, specifically chapters 12-14 and became encouraged. True, Abraham believed. But his faith was not perfect. He had moments of questioning--moments where his circumstance challenged the promises of this covenant God; moments where he took matters into his own hands. But God was merciful. He met Abraham in his momentary doubt and reminded him of His word--though not always without consequence.

Our Father sees you and me intimately. He knows every motive, every fear, and every thought within us. (see Psalm 139) And He knows if our bent is belief. I want to believe His word of promise even if it may take years to see with my physical eyes its actual fruition. If He says it, then it will come to pass. His plans cannot be thwarted. May He look at you and me and smile--pleased with our belief.

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