Sometimes it’s easier to hide behind a book – especially if its the Bible where there is plenty to learn. But that’s not real faith.
You’re browsing through a year of my struggle to live out what I read in the Bible. 2020 would have been worthless if I spent the entire year studying the Bible and never made a move in my real life based on anything I learned. I love to learn every little thing about the words written in their original context and languages. I could spend 6 months perfectly exegeting a text. (And if you know me, you know I might). But it’ll all come to nothing if I don’t ever risk anything on the God I’m getting to know in those pages.
I am on a quest to know Him – God, that is. I believe that quest leads anyone on it to come face to face with the Biblical scriptures and wrestle with who Jesus is. That’s why I’m passionate about studying the Bible. However, the Bible isn’t meant to reside in our minds: it’s supposed to push us to believe. Belief can always be seen in the rest of your life: knowledge cannot.
We think of belief as internal, but it only starts internally. Real belief always seeps out in tangible stuff. Like websites. This website and its contents are me believing the Bible; allowing the words of God in my life to grow into fruit.
Real faith has “fruit,” says James (2:14-26). Fruit is just the metaphor for the process of letting Gods Words grow from a seed in a small, dark, buried place inside you to something that can be seen, touched, tasted, enjoyed. Your faith and mine should be regularly maturing into fruit, and that only happens through small everyday actions and risks. I always try to keep growth going until I see the fruit. For some things (or in some years!) that takes longer than others. 2020 served up enormous internal and external hurdles, and this is me, believing anyway….
This is me believing that God sometimes frustrates our steps to direct our path.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
In 2020 I kept hitting the same wall as I explored a few professional opportunities- I didn’t have a website. Although thats very specific, it was blocking some opportunities. But I didn’t think I had the skills, time and energy to figure out how to develop one with no team, all on my own. After taking a minute to feel discouraged and wallow there, I started believing that sometimes God puts up walls to direct us to the next turn. So I started asking questions, meeting with people, praying. And here we are.
This is me believing God over his enemy.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Many many days (probably including today) I’ve heard the small voice inside saying “Who cares about your writing?! No one wants your content. Doesn’t mean anything. Better stuff out there. There are lots of people teaching the Bible and doing it better than you.” I’m sure you hear the same kind of voice occasionally, too (especially when you start to MOVE). When the voice comes I close my eyes and hear God saying… “Just keep going. It matters to me.”
This is me believing I am creative.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Most of my life I haven’t thought of myself as “creative.” (Meaning I really stink at drawing, painting and pottery). As I learned new skills to bring the things in my brain to life, it felt so good. Writing content, designing the pages of a study, setting objectives, picking colors, fonts, pictures, etc… it all made me remember that I am an image-bearer of The Creator, and we are all made to experience the deep satisfaction of creating.
This is me believing that God made me exactly the way he wanted me.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
I am free to be myself here and not be told that I’m “too much” of something and “not enough” of something else. I’m done listening to that: I believe God knew what he was doing with me, and that he likes who I am (even with all my quirks).
This is me believing my gifts are valuable.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
It’s time for us to grow up in our faith and stop wavering at the first sign of trouble. I owe it to you to offer what I have. And I need what you’ve got! (As I saw firsthand through the graphic designer, photographer, programmer and friends who came alongside to pray and encourage me this year). Because we all need to grow up stronger. We have to be brave enough to offer what we’ve got!
This is me believing that one risk of faith leads to what’s next.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
I got a great piece of advice from someone months back on my journey. He smiled and said “Creative people have to keep going. You tend to have to make something before you know the next thing to make. One thing leads to the next.” I left thinking... this is just like faith. Learn, risk and move. Learn, risk and move. God doesn’t lay it all out at once.
I’m a geeky type who really wants to know the Bible, but I am very well aware that the point is to live it. I want you to take the time to study the Bible with me and to really understand it. But ultimately that just isn’t enough. We’ve gotta go live it. And, frankly, sometimes it’s easier read than done.