From Birth to ABUNDANT LIFE
“If mad they are deemed then let these words be,
For once I was blind but now I see!”
By now Jesus has been born, the wise men have probably left, the shepherds are back out, the big star is gone, Joseph’s thoughts are probably on how to cater for his family over the next few days, and Mary is on her own with a crying, hungry, and constantly demanding baby. As quickly as it came then, the novelty of the birth with the singing Angels fizzed away. Boxing day followed bringing with it the sales, the nerves about the VAT increase, and the endless Resolutions for the new year. How much was his divinity considered on day three, or day thirty, or day three hundred…?
The purpose that Jesus served in being born and living a normal life was one that when misunderstood, disillusioned the Israelites – who expected a conquerer in the line of Saul (a man whose shoulders were higher than average). They expected a King like David who would take up arms and free them from Roman oppression. Their frustration is thus understood when He grows up a carpenter who not only steers clear of violence but teaches against it: they never got the life that they thought they had been promised. It is understandable then that by the time he was thirty-three, few were willing to accept what He claimed about Himself.
It is in this gulf between a celebrated by lowly birth, an ignoble (gruesome even) death, and the claims to posses life in abundance that the root of Faith rests. (By Faith here I refer to an accepting as true, the claims that Jesus made about Himself; those affirmed from and within the bible). It seems illogical that such a poor man could have such wealth.
Here is something I have learnt so far…
Faith and trust are inextricably linked. Trust is the discipline of Faith: trust = kinetic faith (Faith in action). Trust (acting in faith) can happen without tangible proof (the evidence of things unseen and the substance of things hoped for – Hebrews 11:1). The reliability of the object of Faith affects the sustenance/ strength of the Faith: the Faith is more kinetic. You’re more likely to sit on a sturdy chair than one with a missing leg: though neither may necessarily affect the chair’s functionality.
Here’s another thing I’ve learnt so far…
Talk = Time = Intimacy
There is a distinct link between information, dialogue, and faith. The more you openly interact with something/ someone, the more information you have about it/ them, the more you’re aware of its capacity to justify your Faith. This is true of relationships.
And another ….
Intimacy requires commitment in order to flourish. Without commitment, Intimacy leads to pain.
The act of commitment, especially in relationships, is a prime example of kinetic Faith – Trust. It is totally dependent upon the already available information but is hope-full (working on intangible proof) regarding what is to come. Like Trust, emotions are kinetic. Where there is no commitment, there is no space within which they – emotions/ kinetic faith – can be safe, thus pain. Its like fetching water in a bottomless cup.
Kinetic Faith, however, has commitment from the giver as its prerequisite: as demonstrated earlier, it has to be housed in a hope for a specific result.
Therefore, looking at that gulf between; the key moments in Jesus’ life – his birth and death, and the claims He makes about Himself – affirmed by his supposed resurrection, it is easy to see why the commitment required for the initiation of trust is a tall order for some.
I do pose, however, that it is the concept of the object that is affecting the ability to commit a kinetic faith to it rather than the object itself. The world has stopped looking at Jesus after day one, missing the wise child in the temple, the obedient son, the man who healed and fed many on little, the lamb that was whipped and slain, and the Lion that rose; ascended, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He is still the helpless child in swaddling clothes, surrounded by sheep and cattle, in the hands of a fragile teenager: not particularly sturdy enough to entrust a life to.
Don’t be sold out short: struggling for an ounce of peace, a loving touch, a sense of belonging, and a semblance of significance when an ABUNDANT LIFE is FREELY available. See whether the image of Jesus you see, or have held on to, is true.
Talk=Time=Intimacy: it will take a dialogue between you and the information available to create the intimacy required in order to decide on your commitments.
- Talk to the Christians you know and glean as much as you can from them. There are series of ALPHA courses taking place at churches near you.
- Email me with questions that you may have and I’ll do my best to either answer them or point you in the direction of someone who can (I’m on this journey myself).
- Pick up the bible and read it. See what it says concerning Jesus and Christmas.
NB: It will take time – which would be part of that initial push that turns potential Faith to a Kinetic and active one, patience, and an intellectual curiosity (Hosea 4:6 “… my people perish for a lack of knowledge…”).