Saturday, August 22, 2009

Faith - now.. that's a tough one..

So - an old friend of mine from high school posted a Facebook status that asked:"Take the time today to evaluate your walk with Jesus. Is it just for His blessings? Do you worship Him in the good and the bad? Is it based off of tradition or a programmed way of serving Him? Is it religion or relationship?"

Wow.I thought to myself, yes - yes - yes and yes.

I think I need to go a little deeper.Is it just for his blessings? Good heavens - more often than not. That must be my more selfish side, always wanting something. Needing validation. Craving reward. Not sure where that came from or why. I often wonder what happened to me through out my childhood that would make me want receive "reward." I kind of feel the same way when it deals with my religious blessings. I find that when I perform (note I used the word perform) a good deed, I tend to look upward and expect something in return. I found this: "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." (NKJ)

Yikes.The next question my friend asked was - Do you worship Him in the good and the bad?When things are bad (and they often are - *remember I can be quite dramatic at times) I definitely turn my face toward God. Definitely Definitely Definitely. Again - I am asking for a favor. Asking God - why oh why? Then I feel sorry for myself, then I feel a resolution. Right or wrong - it's what happens.The good thing from that - I have a very open dialogue with God.Now when things are good (and they often are *again - I am a bit dramatic) I tend to be sooo wrapped up in myself and my happiness. I will from time to time look upward and say - THANK YOU SOOO MUCH. And I do mean it. I am grateful and I feel blessed. But then I go right back to doing what I normally do.I found this: Luke 6:46-49 Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord," and not do what l say ? l will show you what people are like who come to me and hear my words and put them into practice. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When the flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But those who hear my Words and do not put them into practice are like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.

Yikes. But I then ask myself - do I have a strong foundation or am I on the ground with temporary roots?The next question she asked : Is it based off of tradition or a programmed way of serving Him?A little of both I believe. I am catholic. Tradition is the key. I like tradition. I like knowing I am a part of something that has lasted for centuries. I found this:"Then Jesus approached and said to them, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.' " Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus commanded the Apostles to go forth and teach, not go forth and distribute Bibles and let the people figure it out for themselves. Every time I think about the different approaches to faith, I think about the widely used phrase "lost sheep." How frightening it must be to be handed a Bible and expected to understand it. It would be hard for me to follow someone's idea of what the scripture says by someone who was born centuries after Christ and the apostles. So - I see tradition as good and oral tradition as good.

The last quesiton she asked was: Is it religion or relationship?"I would say both. My religious dogma follows the faith of The Roman Catholic Church. My relationship began the day I understood who Christ was. I was lucky enough to be brought up in the faith, and never experienced a day in this world without Christian influence. I never had to "find" Jesus. He was always there - as far as I am concerned. Now did I ever question my faith? Sure. And I think anyone who does not take a good long look at why they believe what they believe or feel the way they do are afraid of the answer.I did. I do. I am learning.Thanks Stephanie for letting me ask these questions of myself. Hmmm..

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