Posts Tagged ‘faith’

I accept not in my feelings – but with my will, the Will of God.
I accept His will – not only for time but for eternity.

+ Mother Teresa, Letter dated August 1,1964

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There was a boy who had the faith to move a mountain
And like a child he would believe without a reason
Without a trace he disappeared into the void and
I’ve been searching for that missing person

+ Michael W. Smith, “Missing Person”

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The first step in recovery, as most people know, is to admit the problem. In 12-Step language:

“We admitted we were powerless over our addictive behavior — that our lives had become unmanageable.”

The second step is to believe.

“We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

But what does it mean to believe? This is a problem that has troubled the addict both in recovery and in his pilgrimage of faith. What does it mean to believe?

Many addicts have trouble with the second step because they don’t want to believe in a higher power. They don’t want to be religious, don’t want to be Christians, Muslims, Jews, or anything else. They don’t believe in God and they don’t want to believe in God. For these addicts, the struggle is one of how to live a spiritual life in an agnostic world. Where do they locate their higher power?

For this addict, however, the problem has been quite different. You see, this addict was a believer long before he was an addict. This addict has been a Christian since high school and has always held firmly to the belief that he is saved in Christ Jesus.

But if this is the case, why addiction? How could he stumble so poorly along the way as to have to be confronted with the second step, “came to believe”? If the believer has become an addict, was he ever really a believer?

What does it mean to believe?

The addict is slowly coming to understand that belief is something more than knowledge or intellectual assent. Belief is an act. Belief is trust.

Consider the following story:

A man steps off a cliff and plummets towards the earth below. In the course of his fall he manages to reach out and grab a branch (the proverbial cliff-hanger). The distance below him is too great to drop and the distance above is too great to climb. Then an angel appears above him. He calls out to the angel, “Save me!”

“Do you believe I can save you?” the angel asks.

Seeing the angels great wings and powerful arms, the man answers, “Yes, I believe you can save me.”

“Do you believe I WILL save you?” asks the angel.

“Yes,” answers the man.

“Then,” the angel says, “LET GO!”

Would you let go? Could you let go?

Here is where the addict keeps stumbling. The addict has believed for many years that Christ CAN and WILL redeem him. But the addict has not acted in a manner consitent with that belief. The addict relies on his intellect, his status, his money to get him through adversity. When the chips are down, the addict relies on himself. The addict has yet to turn his belief in Christ from intellectual assent to trusting faith. And, sadly, the addict isn’t even sure if he knows how to do this. The addict has spent his whole life relying on his own ability to take care of himself and face problems. How do you let go of the only thing you’ve ever known?

But then we come back to the first step: “We admitted that we were powerless over our addictive behavior …”

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Do you trust God?

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“Despite our claim to be a Christian, when we’re totally honest, most of us don’t fully trust God. Many of us hardly trust Him. Some of us don’t trust Him at all. You know you BELIEVE in God. That’s not the question. The problem isn’t belief; it’s FAITH.


—Mark Laaser, Ph.D., Faithful and True Ministries

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

+ Hebrews 12:1-2

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If you like to put it that way, Christ offers something for nothing:  He even offers everything for nothing.  In a sense, the whole Christian life consists in accepting that very remarkable offer.  But the difference is to reach the point of recognising that all we have done and can do is nothing.  What we should have liked would be for God to count our good points and ignore our bad ones.  Again, in a sense, you may say that no temptation is ever overcome until we stop trying to overcome it – throw up the sponge.  But then you could not ‘stop trying’ in the right way and for the right reason until you had tried your very hardest.  And, in yet another sense, handing everything over to Christ does not, of course, mean that you stop trying.  To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says.  There would be no sense in saying that you trusted a person if you would not take his advice.  Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him.  But trying in a new way, a less worried way.  Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already.  Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first gleam of Heaven is already inside you.

+ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


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