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Monday, April 21, 2008

Are you sure?

Early on in the book of Mark, Jesus' listeners notice something unusual about Him:
And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. - Mark 1:22
When Jesus spoke, His words had power to them. He clearly knew what He was talking about, and everybody could tell. Also, the regular teachers at the synagogue clearly lacked this authority, although presumably they were were well-trained in the Scriptures. It makes me think of some of the Christian writers I have read lately... they seem to have no real answers, although they are very open to listen to and engage questions. It's important to be open-minded, but where is the credibility that Jesus had?

Then I think of my own life, which seems sometimes to be riddled with uncertainty. A good bit of the time I feel like I'm muddling through things without really knowing what's going on or what the best course of action would be. Sometimes when I'm getting ready to pray for something, I have no idea what to say after "Lord..." So where is the authority in my own life? Where is the certainty?

I've come to realize that uncertainty is completely natural in the Christian life. In fact, you might even consider it essential to a healthy Christian life. If I always knew everything and had complete understanding of every situation, where would faith in God come in? After all, faith is all about knowing that things you can't see exist. But apart from faith, I have no assurance, no confidence, no evidence of those things. Faith is the key, and it needs to be central to our lives.

Faith is not "blind," though, despite what popular sayings may lead you to believe. Faith has something as its basis: the Word of Christ. If you know what the Word of God says about something, you can bank on that thing... even if everyone else is a liar, God is truthful. So I guess the key is to know what the Bible says about something, go in prayer to God and get revelation about it if you need more detail, and then with great humility knowing that we are imperfect creatures who don't see things clearly and we often do not fully understand even what we do know, we should act confidently, knowing that if we are messing up because of a lack of understanding, the Holy Spirit will guide us to that understanding and will not leave us hanging.

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