The Christian world gets hung up with a lot of stuff that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when it comes to the reality of Christian life. Yes, there are certain basic fundamental truths (not to be confused with fundamentalism); but they are simple and straightforward. At least on the surface, they appear to be simple – and straightforward!
One of the sources of contention in the Christian world has been the tension between “faith” and “knowledge”. Something about which comes first. Do we come to faith by faith first. Or is it via knowledge. In other words, is it a matter of the heart – or the head. Or perhaps – both?
Frankly, such banter back and forth is what I call theology. Yes I know the meaning of the word: the study of God. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in studying about God. I want the personal relationship of which Jesus speaks and then I conclude that I will gain all the knowledge I need to know Him – and be known by Him. After all, isn’t that the most important thing about being a believer? (I call this photo “fitting us for the Lord“).
I guess I consider the discussion about faith and knowledge or faith versus knowledge so much “jazz”. So much mountain out of molehill. An attempt to avoid the real reason Jesus the Christ died a cruel inhumane death so that His Father – and “we”, could again have the opportunity to be one!
Some folks come to a personal relationship because they hear – a word from others or the voice within. Others by something they read. Others whose stubborn ways and busy lives require a whop up the side of the head with a 2 x 4. The way we come varies according to the way PAPA made us and knows how we will respond if indeed we will do so. So while our coming may be via a knowledge route – the ultimate outcome is the birth of a living faith within us.
In the beginning of our journey with the Lord, we may walk in what feels like (and often is) super-natural faith. I call it the “Father’s Faith”. I recall when I left employment at the hospital. I had no other job to go to; two daughters in college and some money in a small trust fund. I left with absolutely no qualms about the reality of the situation. A wise friend wisely counseled me that PAPA had given me His faith in which to do so. Thank God for that!
The rub is that we must grow into a tight mature relationship with the Father. And to do so, we must experience the seasons He designs for us in order to learn of Him and His ways. Again, for me it was a matter of rubbing out all the old tapes I learned growing up in church and a strongly Christian family. Well meaning as they were, they were not the reality of how He works in our lives. And unlearning in order to learn anew can be a horrific experience!
When in Florida at the direction of PAPA, I lamented to my spiritual director via a frantic long distance call that I thought I was losing my mind. He wisely counseled that when PAPA begins to erase the old to replace with His reality; we often feel schizophrenic. Certainly was my reality at that moment! I had to learn of Him by experiencing Him through the reality of life experiences He arranged so that I would see reality from His perspective.
In other words, come up close – sit by my side and let me teach you how it truly is! Here’s what I’ve learned about faith and knowledge over the past long journey:
- Each of us has a measure of faith. Even when we are not yet in a relationship with Him, we have faith the size of a mustard seed – or less. If we are part of a Christian denomination and/or family, we often have considerable more ‘knowledge’ than faith.
- What we learn before coming into a personal relationship with the Lord is often not how it is with Him. By faith, we must let Him teach us His ways so that our perceptions of life neatly match His. I envision it much like standing at a heavenly window and having PAPA point out the reality from on high. A vastly different reality than that of below!
- Faith will most often precede knowledge. It has been my experience and that of most of my believing friends that PAPA brings us to the experience with which we must exercise our faith so that we mature in spiritual stature and strengthen our natural or human faith. He may (and often does) then give us the knowledge behind the experience so that we have understanding. I call it “standing under” His wisdom about how it is from His perspective. And “His perspective” is reality whether we want to believe so or not!
- The relationship between faith and knowledge must be tight and taut. If faith far exceeds our knowledge; then we operate in presumption. If knowledge well ahead of our faith; then we’re inclined to be spiritually arrogant. Most often faith must precede knowledge for it is faith that underpins the wisdom of our standing under PAPA’s ways. But keeping an appropriate pace requires us to stay in close lock-step with He who is the author and finisher of our faith!
Enough this day of “all the jazz” about faith and knowledge. It’s an important conversation and one I will continue in future “Women’s Sunday Series”; but for now, let’s exercise the faith we have and remember that as our future unfolds, PAPA is most likely to help us stand under His why, when, where and how of our life experiences.
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner & CEO
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://neighborhoodboutiques.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/linda-google-NB-profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]
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