A Literal Definition of Faith
So the theme this month is the idea of taking the Bible to heart without losing your mind in the somewhat crazy (burnt offerings, anyone?) customs during the time the Bible was written.
The key to all of this is of course remembering the lesson and getting the message of what God is trying to communicate without getting lost in the cross-hairs of the details from another time. And the big lesson from the Bible using the instance of burnt offerings is to give first gifts to God since he sacrificed so much for us.
So, while we shouldn’t take sacrificing, stoning, or a list of other things in the Bible literally, I’m going to challenge you to take one thing from the Bible literally and seriously: God’s immense and unconditional love for us.
God’s book, the Bible, and the words within have been a constant source of inspiration for generations, yet we as people still struggle with the concept of taking our faith and conversely, God’s love and promises, seriously.
This notion was best explained in a Bible study I did awhile back – the concept was, sure, we believe in God, but do we believe Him?
Really, do we believe that He will give us “the desires of our heart?” (Psalm 37:4) Or that He made us “wonderfully and fearfully” (Psalm 139:14)? Do we believe anything really, of those promises and beautiful words in the Bible?
While it’s commonplace at least in our society and culture to believe in God, to believe Him is something else entirely, and a whole new challenge to our faith, and quite possibly leads to a new definition of faith for some of us.
To actually believe God, His love for us, His promises, His enduring (and not at all comprehensible) forgiveness and grace for us, is not an abstract concept.
It isn’t easy, this sort of literal belief of love and miracles – we want to believe we’re past the days of grandparents having a baby, of man-eating whales, of seemingly crazy men building enormous boats. We want to think we’re past that, those children’s stories we’re not really sure happened or not, they are so fantastical.
We believe, but not too seriously, these stories of the Bible.
Likewise, we still sometimes believe that we can earn God’s love, that it’s not so freely given, and while we believe in Him, we still struggle with believing Him, taking His words and truths so literally and purposefully.
But the truth of the matter is that God’s love and all-encompassing grace still surrounds us all, ahem, literally.
Now, if only we could take it as such.