Advent Week 2: Convictions, Believies, and Irrevocable Faith Commitments.Posted: December 5, 2012
I’d like to think I am a person of strong convictions. Most of us would like to think we are. And I can get pretty riled up about a lot of different subjects ranging from whether humans have free will or not, to whether it’s okay to eat cereal when it’s not breakfast hours.
I’d also like to think I am a person of faith. I grew up in the church. I can recite statements and anecdotes about God being faithful as long as we are faithful. I know all the lyrics to O Come All Ye Faithful. I even have a sister named Faith, although I guess that’s a little bit of a stretch.
But the funny thing about being a human being is, we often think things about ourselves that aren’t actually all that true. And the other funny thing about being a human is we’re pretty good at fooling ourselves.
What’s worse is we’re also pretty good at letting ourselves off the hook. We say platitudes like “God will provide,” but then we aren’t willing to part with money. We claim to believe Jesus is life-changing and the hope for the world, and yet we also think we won’t have a complete life without the perfect job, the right connections, the perfect spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend.
We often don’t do what we say or believe what we believe.
There are a lot of comedians who people think say the things that we’re all thinking and are afraid to voice aloud. Half the time I don’t agree with that assessment, but Louis CK is a comedian who actually does this. And this is what he has to say about beliefs:
I have a lot of beliefs… and I live by none of them. That’s the way I am. They’re just my beliefs. I just like believing them – I like that part. They’re my little “believies.” They make me feel good about who I am. But if they get in the way of a thing I want, I [sure as heck just do what I want to do].
This self-satisfaction that hinges on comfort and convenience is funny, but also a sad, pathetic part of our nature. Like the cute word “believies,” we reduce the kinds of convictions meant to be our life’s blood to frivolities. As James tells us, faith without works is dead. When considered on a theological level, this discussion gets a bit convoluted; when considered on a pretty basic level, it’s simple:
I can say I believe God will provide and meet all my needs, but if I am unwilling to donate or offer my money back to him, I don’t actually have faith in Him.
I can say with God all things are possible, but if I don’t take (often risky) steps in the direction He leads me, I don’t actually have faith in Him.
One of this week’s next steps is to make an irrevocable faith commitment, in the same way Rahab made an irrevocable faith commitment. And while this is scary and uncertain, we need to make good on our belief in the truth of God’s word:
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.