December 5, 2022 (The second day of the second week of Advent 2022)
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3.5-6)
The God who dwells within us makes us His people!
The God who dwells within us reveals Himself in Word and Action!
Faith is useless unless you have invested it. When God put His spirit into the dust of the earth shaped in the form of a man, not just a human being, God put His faith in that creation. When God breathed into and transformed that lifeless image into living person, He put His faith into him. God believed in what God was doing. God trusted the process that the good He had wrought would accomplish all that was intended. It wasn’t just about having faith. It wasn’t about having a good idea. It was about putting faith to work and into action. There has to be an investment of one’s own self into order to bring blessing into the lives of others. Our greatest success comes not when we believe and have faith in ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, we most certainly need and ought to believe in ourselves. We have been given access to the greatest tool in the history of humanity. We have been created with a heart, mind, body and soul powered by a spirit, pneuma, which the world continues to attempt to mimic but cannot duplicate and can never surpass. I say this because we only consciously use less than one-tenth of our brain. Rarely do we give our whole heart to anything, regardless of how much we say we do when we love others more than ourselves. We see what the body can do when it is trained and disciplined but have we reached its greatest potential? But, what cannot be truly captured and created by human beings is the soul. While we can believe and have faith in ourselves, it is not until we believe and have faith in our whole self that we find our greatest expressions of being all that we can be. It is not until we have faith “in” instead of faith “about” that we can truly know who we are by whose we are.
You see we can believe there is a power greater than ourselves. When the psalmist David sang “When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place— what is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler of the works of Your hands; You have placed everything under his feet: all sheep and oxen, and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8.3-9), he was speaking to his belief that there was indeed a power far greater than himself which was responsible for all the wonder he could see, experience and take in. But, limiting himself to believing in the “somewhere out there” is far different than believing in the “somewhere in here.” The greatest expression of our self comes when we believe and faith in the God working in us. When we put our faith in God, we are expressing Immanuel affirming “God is with us and God is within us.” Our greatest potential is reached not by might, nor by power but by the Spirit of God! (reference Zechariah 4.6) I recently read an article concerning a reported statement by Cosmonaut Yuri Gugarin following his first flight into space. The writer declared that it was not Gugarin who said “I have flown into space and did not see God.” Rather, it was Nikita Kruschev who spoke this “anti-religion” statement at a Plenary Session of the Communist Central Committee. His hope was to promote a belief in the works of the Russian people (and the communist party) who thus needed no god but themselves to triumph on land and sea, under the sea and above it and into space. He had no regard for the creation of any of it; creation wasn’t even a question in that moment. Instead, it was the rule, control and domination of it by a superior power represented by the Communist Party and those loyal to it that he wanted to point everyone’s attention to. Little wonder when President Reagan would identify the communist party and its loyalists as a “dark force.” And even now, President Putin, under the guise of a “moral prophet” continues to put his faith in that which cannot overcome. The thought that “right makes might” has a long history of failure. But, putting one’s faith into that which is greater than ourselves has a long history of success based on contentment, peace and true prosperity.
Immanuel is the demonstration of that “faith in action.” I do not mean having faith in “works and activities.” I mean putting faith in God into action and allowing it to work in and through our lives for a greater good. If we put our faith in God who abides in us then we are finding the means of truly believing in ourselves from the very core of who we are. Our essential nature has always been conceived by God as “believing in Him who believes in us.” And in Advent, we are invited to remember this prophetic truth quoted by Solomon, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” It speaks to having more than the gift of faith. It speaks to putting faith into action. What happens when faith becomes active in us and through us? God is revealed as the author, creator, sustainer and savior of life. The balance that is needed between humanity and God is found. There is nothing that God has not done in order to reconcile us back to Himself so that His people may be one in Him and with Him. We call that people the community of faith; faith placed in the belief that Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary and of God, is indeed the Christ of God, our Lord and Savior.
Father, by faith You have made us and all that is which we can see and have yet to see. You have put that faith in us that it might work in us and through us to accomplish the good which You have always intended. Now You have made it possible for us to see through Jesus Christ what it is that we can do which can be called “good and very good.” Let this Immanuel live in us and through us, we pray. AMEN.