Our chaplain has asked all of us in her life group to journal. Well, it’s not a request, actually, she’s made it a requirement. The two questions are:
1) What new thing have I learned about God this week?
2) What new thing have I learned about myself?
The easy one is what new thing have I learned about God. Travis Vice, the pastor of a church plant I've become involved in called Roots Community Church (which is very involved as a community with The Program here), preached an interesting message this last Sunday. The text was Mark 6, and he was talking about a) how Christ was rejected by His own family, and b) how a person’s faith directly relates to the power of God in his or her life. The “a” part is at the very beginning of Mark 6, and it talks in verse 3 about how they scoffed and refused to believe in Him because He was “just a carpenter, the son of Mary.” They probably also remembered the questionable circumstances of His birth – Jews have long memories. It continues in v. 4 where Jesus replies by saying, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in His own hometown, and among His relatives and family.” (NLT). Here’s what gets me, though: verse 5, “And because of their unbelief, He couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place His hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And He was amazed at their unbelief.” (NLT). He couldn’t perform any miracles because they didn’t believe! Their unbelief made Him powerless.
So what does that say about me? For years I struggled with believing that God was there for me. I didn’t see Him moving in my life. Well, duh! It’s because I didn’t believe.
“Believe” is an action word. Having faith is an action. It’s as simple as doing. There’s a saying that God helps those who help themselves. While I have a problem with how that can lead us to a works-oriented religion, it is still true that in a sense. We can help ourselves by simply believing.