Monday, February 2, 2009

Free by Faith

This summer I took a group of teens to an adventure camp in Northern California. On our week there we were able to apply our theme verse and it has been something that has stuck with me ever since. Our verse was 2 Corinthians 5:7 which tells us to "walk by faith, not by sight." Sounds simple enough, but that one short phrase meant so much more as we rafted down Class III rapids and scaled a steep ridge with no harness. My words were tested as I had to walk out what I was teaching the teens. My fear of water was tested that day on the raft, but I knew my only choice was to show the group how to trust those who are trustworthy. Despite my inclination to run from this opportunity, I embraced it as not to be a hypocrite before those I was attempting to teach. It was a wonderful rewarding experience for me.

As I said, this verse wasn't a one time lesson that got left back at camp, but one that has stayed with me as a sacred companion. Last night in my time with God I was reminded, not of this verse, but of this truth. Faith is what is counted to us as righteousness. Faith is what marks our journey, not merely our actions. We read in I Corinthians that our works will be tested by the fire and it is our heart, that only God sees, that tests these actions. Some of our actions seen to others as "righteous works" will be consumed and come out as worthless.

I look at a generation of teens that are consumed with busyness. They fill their calendars with afterschool activities, sports, and clubs. They try to find their identity in the groups they busy themselves with, and that aren't alone. They have taken this cue from the overworked, stress cases they call their parents and mentors. They see adults fitting a new activity in each night of the week and running from one activity to the next. Why are we doing so much and what is the purpose behind it? Are we stopping to ask God before we step?

I propose of new way of life, even for those of us in full-time ministry. I propose we begin to "walk by faith and not by sight." I am suggesting that each step we take in our life or our daily planner gets put before the throne, because it is God's job to direct our steps. Even good things may not be what God has planned for us. Some of us (I live in this camp) try to save the world, but it wasn't us who came to save, but Jesus. We are mere servants doing his bidding, and in that we must acknowledge that He is the one with the daily planner for all. Sometimes some of us who do it all are taking the joy God has planned for others to get involved in the process, and when we take their job, we stand in their way.

Think about the stressfree life that could await you if you only took a moment to ask God what his direction was. Learn to tune in with the voice of God and not just the voice of ministry. Be free from obligation because you are doing the work God has put before you, not what others demand of you. Let your belief in Christ been seen in the way you live your life, for that is the true test of what you believe. Ideas in the head are just that when they aren't acted out in our lives. Faith needs to be more about action and direction of Christ then a philosophical point of view. It is practical application. Be free through faith.