Wednesday, October 03, 2007

the inactivity of faith

As a rule, faith by nature is active. If you know me, and you are getting to know me a bit through blogging, you'll soon see me as prefering to be active. And that preference I find (and others too) can have its downside. All too often I keep doing or talking when I ought to be still and quiet.

Faith has as part of its practice the need for inactivity. Sometimes we need to be quiet and still. And I do mean this in the context of prayer, reading and meditating on Scripture, in humble fellowship with others in Jesus with both ears eager to listen and a mouth shut or slow to speak. I have found that a grace and peace comes as we try to, in a submissive stance before God simply look to him, waiting for him and for his help.

Now I can enter into this sense of grace and peace, but I can just as quickly abandon it by my overactivity. Yes, we need to become active again, but we need to seek to do so as those who do not speak or act on every impulse. I find that what I say and do as a rule goes much further if the quantity is turned down. I can get in the way of what God wants to do in and through others as well as in and through myself. I have to hold myself back, and especially so at times, when I want to speak or act. God's humbling work in our lives also helps us to do this.

This aspect of faith is for my own good which in turn ends up being for the good of others.


What about you? What have you learned about the inactivity of faith?

20 comments:

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I will refer you to Psalm 131:2, which by the way, is the topic of my next blog - when I ever find the time to write it! I think it (the scripture that is) will be of much help for you as you think through the differences among quiet, still and inactive.

joe said...

man ted. the idea of slowing down almost scares me. i should. i need to. i get so caught up in the go go go of life and ministry. thanks for the reminder.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Halfmom Susan,
I love that psalm and posted on it once. I look forward to what you have to share. But surely this inactivity is in the context of relationship with God at its heart.

I look forward to your post and the help we can get from that!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Joe,
I know. I have to keep working at it. But my speeding up doesn't encourage me for the most part as far as the fruit of it.

Kim said...

Ha! I don't do the submissive, waiting thing very well. Sigh...I have so much to learn. I can tell you, though, that when I've had no choice but inactivity, God blesses those times, and I grow spiritually in spite of myself. I call it "obedience by force" rather than by submitting my will, LOL. God is faithful, even when I am not.

Craver Vii said...

Good point. The exercising of restraint and self control can sometimes be harder than the business we tend to replace it with.

preacherman said...

Ted,
Great post.
One of my favorite passaages on faith is James 2:1-10. Even Rehab. Rahab was considered righteous for what she "did".

Ted M. Gossard said...

Kim,
Well, your gift is to speak and be active; some people are gifted more that way.

But you're so right. When we're forced, and that goes most of the time for me as well, forced through whatever circumstances, maybe going through some humbling, then that's when faith can come out of its dormancy or doldrums and come alive again.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Craver,
You're so right. But that business can be so empty or weak; I know that by experience. Or even end up being wrong and become sin.

I do think we have to know when we should cease and desist; and know the time there is to speak. Though the latter often should flow from the former.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Preacherman,
Yes, I just read of Rahab today in Joshua in "the Message". Good story for us. God had given her faith to know or begin to know the true God. And she acted on that.

It's important that we act according to faith; not according to our own understanding or feelings. She certainly did not, or she surely would have cowered along with all the other people in Jericho and that region.

Martin Stickland said...

Sounds like you are having a bad time, I hope that you get well soon (I told you to wear that wooley vest to keep out the cold!)

Ted M. Gossard said...

Martin,
They come in handy here when I don't need them.

bryan riley said...

I think sometimes the go go go is just a symptom of a lack of faith that God will take care of things. Our world just can't make it without our intervention. And, it's easier not to worry when we are too busy to do so.

NaNcY said...

i do better when i quit trying so hard to figure out everything and trying to do it myself. it is better for me to have faith in God to lead. i think this is where the time alone with God in prayer and in the word with the Holy Spirit is good. this time can seem like inactivity to me...however, i am learning that in reality it is not inactivity. i am learning that it is actually being active in my spiritual feeding and my walk with God. no on else can do this for me. and like you said, brother, if it helps me it will also help those around me.

praise God! all the time.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Bryan,
Great point. Reminds me of the lesson Martin Luther had to learn. And really we all have to learn. Though we may not learn it at all; that's the scary part.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Amen, sister! I like how you make this "inactivity" to be actually active in taking in God's help and grace to us.

The Walk said...

I don't wait or rest very well. I am reminded of something a friend once said--that God is big enough that I can take time off and let Him be in charge. Reminds me of the Sabbath, in a way.

Ted M. Gossard said...

The Walk,
Good point about the Sabbath. That we're to learn to live in the work and faithfulness of God is what the sabbath rest is, that is spoken of in Hebrews. We enter by faith, but what we enter needs to more and more enter us and become more and more a part of who we are.

Thanks for bringing this up, about the Sabbath and God being in charge.

NaNcY said...

sometimes, being busy with things can be a way to escape dealing with another. of course we all aready know that.

anyway...i think i am ready to get out of the way of God and follow Him...ready to take in His Grace and Help.

what else is there to do when things start to be overwhelming...

it reminds me of a song...turn your radio on that is on the randy travis disc...

Come and listen in to a radio station
Where the mighty hosts of heaven sing
Turn your radio on, turn your radio on
If you want to feel those good vibrations
Coming from the joy that His love can bring
Turn you radio on, turn your radio on.

Turn your radio on
And listen to the music in the air
Turn your radio on and glory share
Turn your lights down low
And listen to the Master's radio
Get in touch with God, and turn your radio on.

Everybody has a radio receiver
All you got to do is listen for the call
Turn your radio on, turn your radio on
If you listen in you will be a believer
Leanin' on the truths that'll never fall
Get in touch with God, turn the radio on.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Yes, I remember hearing that song. Reminds us that we need to be tuned into God all the time. Good reminder.