“But strive first for the
~Matthew 6:33 (NRSV).
Faith is highly functional thing, or at least it’s meant to be.
Yet, when we think about being “saved” it doesn’t offer us much living advantage in this life. It’s an investment for the life hereafter. How many people sell their faith short for half a marvellous truth?
This is what the practice of faith promises: a resilient way of living. But there’s more. Faith is not just about surviving; it’s thriving that’s within our reach also.
Expectant faith is about both surviving resiliently, and thriving, mainly with a view for what is still coming.
We can’t get to ‘thriving faith’ without first achieving surviving faith.
This is quintessentially putting the
This is the variety of faith that knows how to get through a difficult time. It’s not magic, nor is it denial. It’s just the patient way of enduring the valleys that intersperse the crests.
Though it’s the most basic of faith, it’s also the most difficult; it requires, by far, the most Christian character. This is the sort of faith that will get is through bouts of non-clinical, life-adjusting or grief-induced, depression. It’s usually characterised by a gargantuan struggle where we might readily think we’re failing but, in fact, because we don’t give up, we succeed eventually.
As hope is restored we can then engage in thriving faith.
This is a matter of joy in growth. Many times we find growth comes, but at a price. Growth is most often associated with the upward curve; it presumes a difficult time.
But equally, there are times when we forge ahead in unadulterated joy.
This thriving faith, then, is characterised by doing the important work mentioned above — that of putting the kingdom first — then reaping the blessings of such encounters as we actively note God’s Presence and provision in our lives. Nothing ‘fills’ us like it.
This is the last frontier. When we can imagine ourselves as blessed now, and yet even more abundantly blessed are we to be in the time coming, were suddenly being filled to overflowing in the Spiritual realm of God.
From this position, we can’t help but somehow know — without sight — the irrefutable nature of the blessing now and to come. It’s so visible that it’s before our spiritual sight of hope all the time. We’re ever hopeful. It’s hardly a surprise when we see miracles occur — we claim them as signs from God.
It’s easy to see from this position how wonderfully set up we are to survive and thrive in our faith. This ‘destination’ of faith is conditional only upon the obedience to the command of Matthew 6:33. This faith, as a reward, comes thereafter.
Are we living at truth? What are we putting first?
Faith to survive so we can ultimately thrive, to then experience the expectation of faith — an active God in this world — this is what it means to ‘live by faith, not by sight’, so we see the fullest revelation of God.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: Norma Cornes.