May 2012 - Vol. 60
Reflections on Belief
by Sam Williamson
A few years ago, a client of mine visited my company for a series of meetings. He asked for a restaurant recommendation, and I suggested The Gandy Dancer, my favorite restaurant. The very next day he came to my office and raved about the restaurant. He was going to recommend it to every one of his colleagues.
Smiling, I asked what he’d ordered. “Nothing,” he said, because he’d been too busy. But he had “stopped by and studied the menu, and everything looked incredible.”
That is how many of us believers live our lives. We read the menu and
miss the meal. It’s as though we’ve come to believe that Christianity —
boiled down to its core essence — is an abstract impersonal menu of truths.
We are reading the menu and missing the meal.
The Incarnation of the Son of God, the earthly ministry and teaching of Jesus, the suffering and death of the Messiah, and the resurrection of the Son of Man; they all boil down to this moment. Which box will we check?
The hosts of heaven wait in anticipation. All the disciples are there;
the martyrs watch; the angels, the seraphim and cherubim all wait with
hushed eagerness. Will we check the right box, or will we be chopped?
It’s more than
Do you see where I’m going? Are we content with the correct cerebral concept? Or are we operating in the personal, lived-in reality of the truth. Are we chewing on the menu or feasting on the meal?
The movie Chariots of Fire examines the lives of two Olympic runners. Someone asks Harold Abrams why he runs so hard, and he says, “When that gun goes off, I have ten seconds to justify my existence.” When someone asks Eric Liddle, he says, “When I run I feel God’s pleasure.”Eric Liddle feasts on the satisfying reality of experiencing Christ’s love; Harold Abrams hungrily grasps for his life’s justification.
It is possible to hold the correct abstract concept—Justification by Faith—and not actually be Justified by Faith. We can claim Justification by Faith, and yet:
Acknowledging the correct answer — Justification by Faith — is not the same thing as the state of being justified by Faith. I suspect even Satan could check the right box.
What to do?
We need to starve our self-justifying habits.
Ultimately, though, we need to ask God for a deep heart-sense of his
reality in our lives. When we sense his greatness in our hearts, and when
we come to accept his deep love for us, then we begin to live a life that
is Justified by Faith.
Lord Jesus make yourself to meThat is what we need, his living, bright reality. A meal that finally satisfies.
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