"Only those who obey can believe, and only those who believe can obey." ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
You cannot have one without the other. But how many time do we separate them. How many times to I separate them.
Jesus calls Peter out of the boat. Peter steps out. What if he obeyed but didn't believe? The waves would have engulfed him if he had no faith. In fact, we see that when he doubts and fears, he begins to sink. He must have faith if he thinks he is going to defy the natural laws of the universe and stand on water. He must believe that Jesus words are true.
What if he believed but didn't obey? He would have sat in the boat, with good intentions that would never be fulfilled. In fact, he asked Jesus to call him. His good intentions without action would have been disobedience to Jesus' call to "Come."
"If the first half of the proposition stands alone, the believer is exposed to the danger of cheap grace, which is another word for damnation. If the second half stands alone, the believer is exposed to the danger of salvation through works, which is also another word for damnation." ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Faith and Obedience: easier said than done.
Faith. What are things in my life that I believe are true, but do nothing about? If there's anything I was told by my culture growing up, it's the potential my generation has. Oh how much we could do to change the world. Our lives can often be filled with good intentions. The church can be filled with good intentions. Good intentions are good until they remain only good intentions and go no further. I'm taking action. My intentions are not just intentions anymore, but reality. But I'm learning even in the midst of the adventure I'm living out here in South Asia, I can be complacent. Oh that I don't simply have faith that I can change the world, but I actually change it!
Define changing the world: setting one life free from captivity, violence and abuse; telling the stories of those who cannot speak for themselves; feeding a hungry person. You get the idea.
Obedience. What are things in my life that I'm doing, but don't believe anything will come of it?What are things I pray everyday, but don't believe will actually come to fruition? Am I going through the motions? Oh that I would believe the things I am called to do everyday would make a difference. Oh that I would believe that God would use my brokenness to bring him glory. Oh that I would believe that the stories I write would move people to action. Walk in confidence of who I am... we are... in Christ. My insecurities are something that can be poison. Is it a sin to dwell in something that God clearly took to the cross? Am I disregarding the price that was paid?
Is this complicated, or do we just make it complicated? I'm pondering on it. You ponder on it.
South Asia has taught me much about God. Much about myself. And I'm afraid the process is only beginning. Every day that I'm here, I can't believe that I'm here. The one month mark has come and gone. Spouts of homesickness come and go. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my church. I knew it was only a matter of time before the "you don't appreciate what you have until you don't have it anymore" feeling set in. It has. But, I am perfectly content here. I love the city. Still working on finding a "family," friends and church here. It's coming along slowly, but it's coming. Relationships are often hard, time consuming, and sometimes messy. But that's the beauty of God's children... they are everywhere. The world is full of them, and everywhere I go I meet beautiful people...
We exist to love God and love others. In simple obedience... in radical faith.