The Paradox of Faith

When the inspiration to write is given, but not what to write about, what is the solution? I could write a story and recount what has happened in my life, but that seems too trivial for now. It might be an interesting read but would lack the substance of how I feel at the moment. A list of where I’ve been and who I’ve met doesn’t share the important stuff. When people read, they want to learn. They want to learn something about the Human Condition, another perspective on life, or something that challenges their worldview or their morality. In the process of reading, as they expand their understanding of life, people want to learn a little bit about themselves. I’d like to suggest that, for this same reason, that is also why the author writes. So, if the author writes to learn about himself, nothing would be better to write about then what he has learned.

Foremost, I have learned that being a Christian becomes increasingly difficult but increasingly important as I grow up. It becomes increasingly difficult to be accountable to my knowledge of God. As I understand God more, I understand the importance of living up to his Holy standard as well as the depravity of not living up to it. I cannot live up to it but I must. The more we know God, the more responsible we must be. As I grow out of my ignorance, I understand my sin more and its consequences, and yet still I do not understand it enough. Truly, the more you know, the less you know. It’s a paradox to know the living God, to understand that the path to righteousness is drenched with sin. When we feel the weight of sin and its power to separate us from God is when we are closest to Him. To whom much is given much is required, and our knowledge is not exempt. This is why it becomes so much more important to follow God, the more we know about him. It is how we live with integrity and not in hypocrisy. We are held accountable by God for what we know and what we do with this knowledge. What I am learning is that I have to live in such a way, that I can live with calling myself a Christian.

I have also been learning, and will never stop learning, that the life of a Christian is a pursuit of discipline. As my knowledge of God increases, and the standard that I am held at increases, so must my discipline. When I was a younger Christian, it seemed that I could coast by with a low level of discipline and not feel the weight. But now, it is not enough. Lack of discipline leads to a substandard walk of faith. When we operate on feelings and emotions, we are subject to their ebb and flow. We only read when we find ourselves with some spare time. We only pray in the in-between times. Without discipline, we don’t fight for our faith. I have learned this the hard way and because of my lack of discipline, I have found myself not living up to the standard that I should be held at. Really, what drives me to be more disciplined is the desire to walk with a clear conscience; to call myself a Christian and not feel the hypocrisy. Discipline is the key and yet it’s still so hard to be disciplined. We have to fight for discipline with discipline, another paradox. The more you know, the more you understand what you need to do. The only way you will further your walk with Jesus is with discipline. Instead of reading in our spare time, let’s set aside prime time to learn from Jesus himself. Instead of praying in the moments between tasks, let’s make time to talk to Jesus himself. There are many things to be disciplined about but our walk with Jesus must be first.

As I said, the writer writes to learn about himself. He learns about himself to instruct himself. I am not a professor teaching from mastery and expertise, I am the student learning and evaluating his life with Jesus. I still feel like a hypocrite and I am still not disciplined. I don’t think I’ll ever succeed in living up to the standard because as my knowledge increases, so will my standard. And with my standard raising, my discipline will also have to raise with it. It won’t stop so long as I live but I know who I do it for and I know what is at the end of the road. I know this life is temporary and eternity lies beyond death, so I live looking forward.  I write so that I can learn to grow but I also hope that someone can learn to grow by reading. Maybe that’s the real reason to write after all.

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