I am afraid that the title to this piece promises more than I can deliver. I don’t have it all figured out. Not even close. If I had it all figured out in my mind, I would still be an impossible gap away from waling it out.
If my mind knew all there was to be known about faith, I am not confident my heart would be sure to follow. In fact, I fear my heart would not follow. It often does not follow where my mind, limited as it is, knows it should go – wretch that I am.
I say this with no love lost for myself and no false humility (to the extent that I can muster a humility that is true).
The worship leader prayed, “You are a God of love”, and he followed with the acknowledgment, “You loved us first.” He continued, speaking to us to remind us that “God forgives is; we fall short, but His mercies are new every day”.
I humbly, gratefully, and joyfully accept these truths. If God were not such as He is, I could not live with myself. I could not forgive myself, but that God forgives me.
This morning I tuned in online to the church service from my easy chair because I tested positive for COVID on Friday. I barely left this easy chair yesterday.
I don’t do well with nothing to do – nothing to do that I want to do anyway, other than mindlessly scrolling through everything my various technological devices will offer me.
Some people are given to doom scrolling, “spending an excessive amount of time reading large quantities of negative news online”, according to Wikipedia, which can cause the mind to race, leading to burnout, and causing you to” feel uncertain, anxious, or distressed”, according to WebMD.
Ironic, isn’t it? The Internet offers conveniently a ready definition to a malady caused by excessive time spent on the Internet. I don’t need to search my mind for the right words. They are at my fingertips with the click of a mouse. I barely need to think about it!
Not that it helps at all. I can define doom scrolling, acknowledge it, understand it and still fall victim to it. Knowledge is like that. It gives us a false sense of mastery and control.
Boredom and mindlessness are a bad combination for me. I constantly desire to be intrigued, engaged, entertained, piqued, inspired … yet I am not always willing to put in the work or thoughtfulness out of which real inspiration, meaning and purpose comes. I also sometimes look for inspiration and meaning in sources that are not capable of delivering it.
Sometimes, I simply don’t want to be bored, but I am too lazy to work at not being bored. Like I said, this is a bad combination for me. It’s a real time suck. An utter waste of time. It leaves me feeling completely unfulfilled and tempted to fill that gap with shadowy pleasures.
After getting up in the morning yesterday and reading through the daily Scriptures that are mapped out for me in the bible app I use, I failed to devote my attention to God or anything meaningful for the rest of the day. I might have said a half-hearted prayer or posted half a thought here and there – nothing but a mist floating over a never-ending torrent of things to see and hear on the Internet.
The sermon this morning was on “the crisis of pleasure”. The crisis of pleasure is a crisis of faith.
It’s a crisis of focusing our primary attention on seeking the scraps we can scrounge up in a world subjected to futility, heads down, eyes focused in the dust, when God is nudging us to look up. It’s a crisis of settling for the meager samplings found in the here-and-now while ignoring Christ, the hope of glory, who offers us things we can’t even imagine.
My mind knows these things full well. I write about them often. It might even be the most common theme of my writing – letting go of the things of this world to seek first the Kingdom, living as strangers and aliens in this world that is passing away, because we long for a heavenly country.
The pleasure we seek in this world is to please the self. There is no other kind. The pleasure we long for is the pleasure God gives back to us when we please Him:
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.“
That brings us to the sermon, which was about Enoch, a man who was commended for his faith, because he pleased God. (Heb. 11:5) Enoch was a man who “walked with God”. (Gen. 5:22, 24) Reading these passages together tells us that walking with God and pleasing Him are the same things, and they are evidence of our faith, because:
[“W]ithout faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Once again, we see that faith is an action word, something I have noted a few times lately. Faith is an action that involves walking!Continue reading “Simple Faith, Like Enoch Who Walked with God”