Tag Archives: grace

Topic or Life

Christianity is not merely a topic to be discussed, but a Life to be lived and experienced.

Jesus did not say, “I’ve come to bring you a new topic of discussion so that you may talk about it excessively.

Rather, He said, “I’ve come so that you may have Life, and have it to the full.”

Imagine for a moment the ridiculosity of Jesus coming to earth, living the brilliant life of service and teaching that He did, dying that horrific death, rising from it—for the reason of giving us something to talk about. How sad would that be?

Now I don’t have an M. Div., but I’m pretty sure He went through all that so that we could actually share in His Divine Life and experience it in our real lives day to day.

Merely discussing it, for me, doesn’t do a lot to open myself up to the point of tangibly receiving that Divine Flow of supernatural life and energy. (Unless of course the conversation is about what God is doing in your life and teaching you, or how awesome God is. That’s pretty efficacious. But you know what I’m saying–simply talking about it, instead of sharing in it.)

But prayer, whether with others or alone, sure opens me up to that Divine Flow.

Sitting in listening silence, with nothing on my mind but God really does it for me.

Lectio Divina—the meditative reading of Scripture.

The Prayer of Examen.

Serving others.

Worship and praise.

Being in and observing nature with gratitude to God for it.

These are excellent ways to open one’s self up to receiving grace.

Discussions of Christianity as a subject typically leave you the same way you entered, if not a little emptier. They usually don’t stay with you and strengthen you in the moment when needed.

As Dallas Willard encouraged, we don’t merely need to teach what we ought to do, or what we should do, but we need to teach how to do what Jesus taught us.

Experience of the Divine Life, drawing upon the Spirit of Jesus, seems to come mainly through prayer and total abandoning trust in Jesus.

It is through prayer that God works directly on your soul, and not through theological rumination.

~Frederica Mathewes-Green

The Grace of Faith

I’ve been working through my favorite author’s latest work, and recently read a chapter entitled “The Grace of Faith”. It is so rich and insightful and wonderful, that I want to share some of it with you for our Hebrews 11 reflection on faith. Actually, I’d love to share the whole awesome chapter with you, but that’d be a bit much for an email I guess. Therefore, I’ll keep it to a couple paragraphs.

Our having received the gift of faith should not lead us to complacency. We who practice religion should not consider ourselves untouched by the secular skepticism that surrounds us. Our faith, perhaps without knowing it, is not absolute. More often than not our understanding of it is qualified, partial, and undeveloped, and so our assent is incomplete. For example, we will often find ourselves buttressing our presentation of religion by appealing to its visible benefits; its works of compassion and education, its ethical and moral guidance, its role in personal well-being. So eloquent are we in religion’s defense that we may convince even ourselves that its principal value is to be found in these collateral benefits. And meanwhile we become forgetful of the “supernatural” basis of all our faith and practice.

It is possible to admire Jesus as a great teacher of wisdom and as a model of genuine humanity and, with great sincerity of heart, to become his enthusiastic followers by purely rational or historical grounds—just as some may become followers of Socrates, the Buddha, or Karl Marx. Such an adherence is not what Christian discipleship is about. Christianity is more than an identification with an admired leader; it is not merely a philosophy or a code of conduct. Authentic Christianity sees itself as a participation in the life of God through immersion in the mystery of the Word become flesh. At the heart of our adherence to Christ is a truth that surpasses human understanding, one that even we, who accept the truth, cannot fully explain. The gift of faith takes us beyond the known world into a sphere of being that transcends the power of rational thought. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).