Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I was watching a television show the other day involving a high school teacher who discovers he has cancer and decides to go to drastic lengths in order to provide his family with enough money to cover their expenses (college, clothing, food, etc.) after he passes on. He finds himself in the company of criminals and happens upon a man who will, for a fee, take responsibility for committing a crime and going to jail for you. It is explained that the man feels much more bound in "freedom" than he is in prison where he gets his daily meal, a warm bed, people to talk to, and enough to scrape by.

In his freedom he finds himself bound to the every day struggle life can be: making money, having resources, being a valued member of the community, and holding down a job.

I had a friend recently tell me that he was glad to be done with Christianity, that he was happy he could just do the things he wanted and that got him by: heavy drinking, rampant partying, and casual sex. I looked back to my own time when counsel was given to me and I had a realization of how much bondage those things can truly keep you in. It is not necessarily the acts themselves which are the root of the issue, but more so the empty heart behind them.

The man who got by in prison, I guess he got just enough to get by: bland prison food, a decent bed, and people he may or may not be able to trust at all times, but think of the richness he was denying himself. In faith, we can find our relationships deepened to the point of giving us fulfillment and deep satisfaction. When David and Jonathan had one another, they were as brothers who lacked nothing as a result of their deep-rooted relationship with one another. Faith can open the doors to a community of depth and living beyond mere sustenance. Still, it can be tempting to reach for the instant gratification, the vices that are a purchase or phone call away.

I think God made the deeper things of life harder to attain because he did not want us to get used to reaching for the things that were within easy reach when we are at our laziest. Threaded throughout the Scriptures are calls to perseverance, strength, tenacity. It says, for instance, that he who does not work does not eat. While this could be taken literally, I think there is a whole lot of things that could be listed there in lieu of "eat." 

Faith by works makes sense to be only in the sense that each and every day we have to work on making choices that are congruent with those of Yeshua's. It is no easy task to be patient, to stay level-headed, or to resist anger when some things happen to us, it takes time, understanding, and learning to build a resilience. And, until said resilience is built, we constantly have to defend our hearts and guard what is valuable within us and to us as well.

Faith was never meant to be easy or a proverbial walk in the park. Faith opens the door to an understanding and belief that gives us a foundation from which we can work and build our lives, our attitudes, our reactions to the people and things that we encounter on a daily basis. Freedom does not afford us the right to be lazy and have everything work out as we stroll along, it merely gives us the right to stand for what we believe, fight for those who are weaker than us, and build a legacy based out of a fruitful life and spirit. We are free from constantly being on the defensive and having to heal from when we allow ourselves to be wounded by things that happen to us, things that cause us to believe something contrary to that which is true about us. There is an inherent strength in us afforded by faith, but that strength enables to be the people on the outside of the fence free to live a deep life enriched by the people, the places, and the experiences within it.

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