Getting a Handle on Faith

Have you noticed that, while most people in our country speak English as their first language, many of us speak in a way way that is only meaningful to a subset of people. If you have skills in a particular area or are involved in a specific interest or hobby you know exactly what I am talking about. This is also true with the different faith groups of Christianity. What is surprising is many times we do not understand the terms that we use with others in our group. The word Faith is just one of the terms.

Coming to Christ much later in life I felt at a disadvantage because I did not know the lingo. I would hear terms thrown around that went over my head. While I would have to mentally stop to process what was being said that barrage of ‘Christianese” would drone on. What I realized as I grew in my faith is that many followers of Jesus did not fully understand the term either, and were afraid to ask. One story, years ago, after I had become fluent in Christianese, came from a gal in our congregation who was a solid believer since being a child and raised in the church. She asked my wife, “What is Pastor Joe taking about when he mentioned discipleship?” I have made a concerted effort to get beyond the lingo to communicate the truths of the faith.

The challenge is that many of the truths taught in the Bible are abstract. I like to define abstract as the opposite of concrete. No, I am not speaking of the stuff used for building but those things that we can touch and experience. It is one of the reasons that the Biblical account of Jesus is so powerful. It is here that we see Biblical truth in action. We see real people trusting God (faith) to keep his promises. We see this when the Angel comes to Mary to announces that she is going to give birth to the Messiah. The account reminds us that Mary responded the way we would probably respond. There would be a degree of fear, there would be questions and concerns. But what we see if Mary’s willingness to trust the Creator with her life and His direction. She even reminds the Angel this is is not possible for her to have a baby because she has not know a man physically! The Angels response to her concern is a call to trust (faith) when he says, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

Now you and I are not much different than Mary or any of the other real individual accounts recorded in the Bible. We are called to trust God in difficult circumstances. It is Mary’s response to the angel that reminds us that trust (faith) is an essential in every day of our lives. “And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

I was recently riding a subway and I was reminded of the importance of holding on once it started moving. The hand hold kept me from being thrown around. It provided stability! Our faith is the handle that we can grasp when our lives begin to move. It is holding onto the promises of God regardless of the circumstance. Why? “For nothing will be impossible with God!”

-Pastor Joe Parkinson

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