emilynisch

Choosing or “everything that does not come from faith is sin”

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2009 at 1:47 am

I often have trouble making decisions. I wonder, “what is the right decision?” thinking that there is one right path through life. That is true at certain points, but isn’t generally how it goes. I was thinking about marriage and realizing that for everyone it takes choosing – before marriage (saying “yes” to a proposal) and many choosings during marriage. This made me realize that everything in life is like that. Everything in life is choosing. And I finally realized why. It seems really obvious, and I wonder that I didn’t see it before. What blinded me was the belief that there’s a right way, a right decision that I should make that God knows but is keeping secret from me. Here’s what I discovered and am still in the process of discovering and understanding.

Faith is what makes things real. That probably sounds kind of strange, but let me explain. The goodness of a decision isn’t based on finding an invisible path God’s already marked out for your life (imagine a life long map of left turns, right turns, etc). Here’s the pertinent verse: “everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23). There’s no such thing as the goodness of your actions. Your actions mean nothing. It’s the faith behind them that gives your actions substance. Things don’t just happen, thought that definitely seems to be the case. Sure, in a physics sort of way things happen, but everything that happens must pass through us, and we’re the prism that decides what color comes out. In a very real way we’re making the world around us, just like God did in the beginning. We’re choosing. I wonder if faith is the piece that allows us to make a Godly color. Faith allows us to take the bad stuff of the world, the hardship, and say “yes” to it, in faith, knowing that God creates good out of bad. It’s like we’re taking bad and putting it through a playdough extruder and mashing it and changing it and working it with God through his guidance (because he’s older and wiser) and causing an entirely different shape to come out. Faith is what pulls all everything in life through and unmixes bad from good and reshapes the good, and adds more to it so it can be larger and better than it was. Pretty mysterious and something that only Christians know and believe. Without God it doesn’t make sense; it’s impossible. As we act in faith, we participate in something uniquely Godly. If we reject choosing in faith we reject God and his power to do this – reminds me again of Moses and the Israelites (see previous blogs).

Pretty cool. I love God and am so grateful for him and that he does this!!! He makes life worth living.

I have a friend who says there are three ways of knowing and the best one is choosing. Tonight I came to wonder if really all three are choosing, the first two just being in disguise. While choosing is not the same as faith, wherever actual choosing takes place, faith is involved. That’s why “everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (Rom 14:23). When your not acting in faith you are acting sans belief. It’s like you’re an unbeliever – like you don’t believe in God (like you don’t trust him to work out all things for good, etc). Every act needs to involve this choosing in faith, so choosing and finding are no different for the faithful person. If we choose in faith, what we don’t know yet, God will always find for us and bring it along our way. He’ll make sure we know everything we need to know, so we don’t have to worry about it. Of course, as proverbs says, “It is the glory of God to hide things and the glory of kings to search them out” – so there’s no promise that God will make the finding easy.

Lately as I’ve prayed I often find that as the Holy Spirit teaches me how to pray better (as he usually does), that he has been directing me away from asking God to show me the right decision, and instructing me that sometimes the better thing to ask for is the wisdom to make the right decision. I think what he’s teaching me is part of maturing. Briefly – understand that I’m not diminish the work of the Holy Spirit who is always there guiding me and leading me. I want to always be open for God to share his mind with me, and I really want God to teach me, and grow me, and (as David said) search my heart for sinful places. But, I’ve been seeing that sometimes the Holy Spirit tells me what to do (perhaps so I can learn to obey, and learn and experience the joy of obediance and submission) and other times he teaches me what would be wise. He shows me how God is lovingly working on me as his child, and then I can choose whether to trust him and trust that his ways are good. This has certainly been true as I’ve decided whether to stay in North Carolina or seek to travel more. I still can’t wait to travel, but I’m certain God has me on a good path here, and I’m choosing to remain on it because I see what work he’s doing and I believe it’s good. He’s shown me what he’s doing and the chance he’s giving me, and I’m deciding to make it my life right now – to agree that the way he’s showing me is the wise one. If I’d been wise enough to come up with it myself I would have! I’m so glad God teaches me and guides me, and also that he does it in an eternally instructive way so that I can be wise enough next time, and wise enough to know his way of life is better.

——————

Here’s a verse that related the idea I’ve been sharing: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”(1 Cor 13:1-3) Prophesy, tongues, etc are pointless – unless they’re flowing out of God’s love. That’s when they’re following his purposes and speaking of him. God will use these things anyway to the benefit of the receiver, but the prophesier, if he doesn’t do it in love, is useless to himself and gains nothing.

And another verse: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. 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