Houston Forward Times

24 July 2013 Written by  James Washington

Spiritually Speaking…

A friend gave me a book to read some time ago and I find myself looking for it in earnest. Faith is a Verb. Regardless of when and how you found religion, the important thing is what you do about it. The fact that faith is a verb and not a noun means some action is required. That action should be precipitated by an understanding that faith means acting upon that which you believe in. For example, if you say you believe and recognize who Jesus is, then do you still gossip? Do you spread rumor and innuendo? Are you forgiving of the flaws and faults of others? Do you judge and condemn people? Can you turn the other cheek?

I mean, this faith as a verb thing can be demanding. It seems to be based on the principle that in the eternal, things have a much greater purpose than they seem in the here and now. Our understanding of this becomes critical to how we act. Mercy, charity and love all have a place in our everyday experiences as human beings in this physical world. If your faith is so shallow that the only thing that touches the heart is just that, what you can see and touch, then you’ve missed the point of eternal existence. Faith in the Almighty literally means claiming the more abundant life that Jesus promised. That life did not begin the day you were born and will not end the day you die; so says every professed Christian on the face of the planet. But how you handle this short existence, goes a long way towards the quality of your afterlife, so I’m told. “All things work together for good according to the Lord and those who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. The consequence of faith means realizing that according to God’s purpose, my role and yours is clear. One must act on the Word as given by Jesus Christ. One must live faith ratherfaithphoto than quote faith. One must be a church rather than merely go to one.

So often in scripture we are reminded that Jesus was focused on a lifestyle pleasing to His Father. He was appalled at the use of “The Law” as an excuse not to fulfill the purpose of “The Law.” Jesus accepted any and everyone who believed in the Son of God as God. He therefore demanded appropriate behavior from apostles, elders, gentiles, Jews and sinners alike. The higher up the religious hierarchy, the more He expected you to do for and on the behalf of those yet enlightened. The more faith you professed, the more knowledge you gained, the more selfless you were to become.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the dynamics of faith, over time, will dictate that your lifestyle reflects the recognition of the importance of spiritual consequence, rather than physical or emotional retribution. “Therefore brother, we have an obligation…” Romans 8:12. We must live according to the Spirit within us, rather than the passions surrounding us that would otherwise seek to control and corrupt us. As faithful Christians, we should know the difference and act accordingly. “We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging let him encourage…” Romans 21:6-8. Faith is yes, a verb, active in its pursuit of meeting every person on equal grounds with Christ Jesus, resilient in its defense against the frailties of flesh and bone and honest in its understanding that life is eternal. The physical world is no more than an entrance exam to the universal existence promised to us all. Just remember, Christ took the final exam for both you and I, and oh by the way, He passed with flying colors.

May God bless and keep you always.