For this month ahead, as we continue to journey through Great Lent, I will be sharing some thoughts on the works of faith. A life of faith looks like something. It is practiced. It is lived. It is not one aspect of our lives, but the driving force behind every breath we take. It is acknowledging that my breath is from God, therefore all time is God’s time. It is recognizing that being God’s servant gives my life meaning that is beyond measure and understanding, and is beyond me. My life is a living sacrifice. The self I want to create must die, so that the true self God is fashioning can live! “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” (Galatians 2:20). Let’s walk together and explore Faith WITH works so that we can follow our Lord into the world to die for it.
A LIFE OF TRUST IN GOD
- Believe Him. When my friend invites me over for dinner, I don’t eat before I go. I trust that my friend is preparing dinner, so I show up to her house hungry. Likewise, trust in God can’t just exist within me. Trust in God doesn’t exist in my intellect. It exists in the life I pursue. If I trust Him, I believe His promises and message, and express that in my life. Understanding of the Gospel message should be the greatest pursuit of my life, so that I can truly follow Him. Attending church services is responding to the Lord’s call to assemble together, to hear His Word and eat from His table, and pray together. “Departing in peace” and taking His peace and love into every crevice of our lives is what following Him…believing Him… looks like.
- Don’t throw caution to the wind. Truly living into God’s design for your life means taking risks. Exploring the unknown and choosing courage in the face of fear are often what bring us closer to who we are in Christ. As we live and trust where God is leading us, we must remain steadfast and mindful of what He has entrusted to us. Trusting God means letting Him trust you. Acknowledging that He is ultimately in control doesn’t mean you lose control. It means you care deeply about what is in your hands. I don’t jump off a building because I trust that God will somehow catch me. Everything I know about gravity tells me I will likely end my own life by doing that. Trust in God means I honor my life and the lives of others. I take care of my overall health and I do all that I can for the health of others. God’s promise of eternal life shouldn’t lead us to throw caution to the wind in this life. In fact, God has trusted us to care for all of creation. If this requires anything, it requires caution.
- Be attentive to the small details. While visiting a monastery, I observed a nun putting time and care into where the water glass was placed on the table. I also observed that the sisters never walk by trash on the floor. Being aware of the smallest acts of service and care will form our hearts to respond when much is expected of us. Keen awareness of how my presence is experienced by others is a worthy effort. Every choice I make to let go of what I want is choosing to trust God over and over again. This choice to serve and love God in every moment, in big or small ways, keeps me aware and ready to follow Him wherever He leads me. We are simply called to what is often not easy, to be faithful to and attentive to who or what is in front of us.
- Choose your neighbor. When in doubt, choose what is helpful to others, vs. what is harmful. If trusting God means believing Him, then we have to think about what we’ve seen of Him. The Jesus of the scriptures moved towards others. He healed, He listened, He welcomed, He invited. His ministry is one of reconciliation. So, my life should enter into that ministry. I am the Lord’s, therefore I participate in His work to heal and bring comfort to others. I am lost if I somehow conclude that choosing myself at the expense of my neighbor is justified. We are truly found when we find each other.
- Lean into uncertainty. Humans always exist in some form of the unknown. We’re always wondering about something…waiting for something. We never have all the answers. Sometimes not knowing becomes so difficult that we make our own conclusions. We need to know so we feel like we’re in control. Unfortunately, this kind of response leads us to the land governed by the self. When we decide we’re done being patient, we take the focus off of trusting God as His servants and we become servants of ourselves. We essentially become dictators and manipulators. We throw off our own lives and the lives of others because making up an answer is more comfortable than trusting God’s timing and seeking Him for the true answer. The real truth and freedom lies in being faithful to what’s in front of you. Peace comes when we stop dwelling on the past or being anxious about the future, and exist in the present. Then, we can lean into uncertainty about tomorrow and take control of what we’ve been trusted with today. Don’t be so anxious to know that you tell yourself a lie. Embrace uncertainty and trust that Jesus is the truth we can trust in.
-Katrina Bitar, YES Program Director