Beliefs and Faith

Living in the Spirit
August 18, 2017

Scripture Reading: Romans 11:1-2a, 29-39

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
‘For who has known the mind of the Lord?
   Or who has been his counselor?’
‘Or who has given a gift to him,
   to receive a gift in return?’
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen. –Romans 11:33-36

Paul celebrates God’s unmeasurable wisdom and knowledge as he ponders the fate of his fellow Jews. Is it too much for us to grasp that we may not fully understand the magnitude of God or God’s love? Do we think our way of being God’s children is the only way? People quote to me John 14:6, Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. I say I do agree with that but quote back to them John 10:16, I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. Probably a fruitless exchange, we are neither likely to stray from our positions.  Paul would tell us, For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12) This, of course, is from his famous chapter on love. Study and discernment is good unless it hinders our loving God and loving one another.

The older I get, the less important what I believe becomes. I do not know if that is true of others. Maintaining and building a firm relationship with God through Jesus Christ and following the command to love God and love as Jesus loves becomes paramount in my life. Perhaps when I attain perfection in those two actions, beliefs will be clear or unnecessary. Discerning how to live love is a challenge that requires exchanging ideas on faith with others guided by the written word as well as the Word that became flesh. In so doing our structure of faith forms and reforms as we learn and grow. The framework of the structure includes what we believe at the moment. The world was believed to be flat until it was proven round.

I am blessed to learn from people of many faiths, people who question faith, and people with no faith at all. Since I am called to love them all anyway, it is an added value that my understanding of God blossoms in the process of discernment.

Prayer: God, open our hearts and minds to your teachings from whatever source you deem appropriate. Protect us from false prophets. Let your truth speak clearly to us. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.