BY THE REV. CORY L. KEMP |
We talk about living our faith on a regular basis. What does that look like to you? Asking myself what living my faith looks like brought me to the following, familiar passage:
“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” -Matthew 7:7-8
Faith is an active verb. Taking faithful action, by asking, searching, knocking on the door, co-creates a result that is linked with God’s answer of giving, finding, and the door opening for us.
But in between those paired actions and responses something else, something important, is going on that encourages that co-creative relationship with God that builds a faithful, fruitful life of discipleship.
What is this special something? It is the recognition that to move forward we first must trust God’s power in us.
If you know how to drive stick shift cars, you know this lesson.
While recently preparing to teach a class on communication as spiritual practice, I remembered a rerun of an Army Wives episode. The family tradition between mother and daughter in this program is to pass on the legacy of being able to shift like a trucker in less than a day.
Daughter is skeptical, mom is persistent.
Before getting in the car, mom shares that the clutch is about trust, the accelerator about power. As her hands make the familiar foot movements, she explains that to move forward you have to trust.
She then draws her daughter’s hands into her own, lifting them to join in the fluid motions of trust supporting power.
And, indeed, the daughter was shifting like a trucker before they sat down to dinner that evening.
Faith is so very much about that willingness to take action, trusting that God’s power will guide us to seeing the next moment of truth, be it the giving, the finding or the door opening.
But, faith is more.
Faith is an ongoing series of asking, seeking, knocking, sometimes constant, always consistently showing God’s action and willing support for us to live abundantly. It is about acknowledging, with deep, abiding gratitude, what God has already entrusted to us by virtue of God’s power in us. In you, and in me.
My thought is that most of us are willing to take that first step; and we are delighted when it is clear that God has heard and answered us in a way we understand. Faith becomes daunting if we get stuck in the fear of what comes next.
False modesty doesn’t create the kind of results God has been credited with through generations of women and men who have used their faith to create lasting change, community and hope in the world. God loves to work through people.
But do we love God working through us?
William Sloane Coffin once wrote that faithfulness is more demanding than success. It is. Rather than being defined as a reachable goal, faith is more akin to a lifestyle choice, a way of being and becoming.
And I believe that is the absolute best part of actively living faith as a verb.
Choosing faith means you and I are always standing in trust and power. Reminding ourselves of that makes it a whole lot easier to harmonize our choices and our actions with God’s choices and actions on our behalf. Knowing that, believing that, acting from that, means we are less likely to allow doubt or fear to keep us stuck in first gear.
There is nothing wrong with being in first gear; sometimes that is simply where we are, and God is with us there too.
But it is really satisfying to get the harmony and rhythm of trusting, of letting that trust in yourself and God support your next step forward. And the one after that. And the one after that.
You get the idea.
The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom and joy.
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