Monday, June 28, 2010

Glorious freedom…

Do you know that you are never absolutely sure you’re right when you’re living in faith?  That’s exactly why it’s called “faith!”   I wonder where this modern demand for certitude came from, which has produced fundamentalism?

At the crucial moments in your life’s decision making, you are always trusting in God’s guidance and mercy and not in your own perfect understanding.

You’re always “falling into the hands of the living God,” as Hebrews 10:31 says, letting God’s knowing suffice and God’s arms save.  Although, it does say in the same verse that it is a “scary” or “awesome” thing to do.

Richard Rohr, from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, Saint Anthony Messenger Press, 2008, p. 136

The opposite of faith is not intellectual doubt, because faith is not localized primarily in the mind. The opposite of faith, according to a number of Jesus’ statements is anxiety. If you are fear-based and “worried about many things,” as he says in Luke 10:41, you don’t have faith in a Biblical sense.  Faith is to be able to trust that God is good, involved, and on your side. So you see why it takes some years of inner experience to have faith.  It is not just that somewhat easy intellectual assent to doctrines or an agreement with a moral position.   This has passed as the counterfeit of faith for far too long.

When you cannot rely upon an Infinite Source, you yourself become your primary reference point in terms of all preferences, needs, results, and controls.  That would make anybody both anxious and insecure.

Richard Rohr, from Jesus’ Plan for a New World, Rohr, Fisher and Feister, St Anthony Messenger Press, 1996, p. 118

This connects very closely, I think, with my previous post.

I’m not sure that I would concur in any unqualified way with Rohr's insistence that “…it takes some years of inner experience to have faith.” Certainly faith takes years to mature, and deepen; but if seasoned, vintage faith were the only kind, what on earth was Jesus talking about when he commended people for their saving faith whom he'd only that moment met? (e.g. Luke 7:1-9; 8:42-48)

However, Fr. Richard is certainly right about trust vs. fear. Whether we reach this position by a “leap of faith” or by years of hard-won experience (Psalm 119:71) it is our trust that in all things God will work for our good, for our very best, in mercy, truth and power (Romans 8:28) that slips us from the grip of the enemy and sets us firmly within “the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21 NIV).

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