Over the last month our family has been challenged by the concept of value. We have been discussing what value means to us and what we are willing to sacrifice in order to have it. As professed Christians, we find value in having a relationship with God. The problem is that, to have a Biblically accurate relationship with God, we must be willing to act on our faith, not simply have it. Remember the book of James?
Max put it best last night, as we were preparing for bed. He said, “Honestly, before our adventure, I only prayed at church and even then not every time. Now I pray at home and school and well, everywhere!”. I then asked everyone else if they had experienced the same thing. They all agreed that they only rarely prayed before our adventure and now it is a very real part of their everyday life. Max went on to share, “Before the adventure we were the people, that we would talk about, that went to church and did all of the good things but did not really know God.”
I must admit that Max’s statements are spot on for me as well. This adventure has caused me to take my faith from it’s comfortable perch and put it into dangerous action. Once I did that; prayer, fasting and Bible reading moved from something that I should do (had to make time for), to something that I had to do in order to survive. My faith is no longer an academic exercise. I have taken it out of the laboratory and put it into everyday application.
Here is the strange thing: the above concepts are not new to me. I have always wanted my children to have a real, dynamic relationship with God. I wanted to truly walk by faith and trust God for everything. Additionally, I had plans to accomplish these things. I wanted to do family devotions, love others unselfishly and develop a greater level of trust in God. One year ago, if you had asked me how I was doing on those endeavors, I would have told you I was doing quite well. We had family devotions (most of the time…) and we went to church and encouraged others. In hindsight; however, I realize that I had established an elaborate facade, so that I would believe that I had the relationship that I valued, when I did not.
I desperately wanted to have the relationship with God; however, I was never willing to put action to my faith. I had dreams of greatness for God, but I was content for them to happen “some day”. Instead of embracing those dreams, I convinced myself that I had everything I needed. I could even convince myself that I did act on my faith and care about the widows, poor and fatherless. This facade allowed me to have the best of both worlds; the American dream and a relationship with God. The problem is that it was not real.
I am not sad about this, quite the opposite. I am excited to realize that I no longer value the facade. I now see real, active faith in the lives of my children. I do not feel like I need to rush them off to a revival or “good” church service in order for them to connect with God and feel encouraged. I know they will do that at home and school and well, everywhere.
If you are looking to buy a piece of real estate and, while inspecting the property, you identify a rich vein of gold on it. You would gladly sell everything you have in order to buy that land. You do this because the gold is of more value than anything you currently have and once you possess that gold, the things you sold will pale in comparison.
This is how I feel about the relationship with God, and others, that I see in myself and my family. It’s value far outweighs anything I had to give up in order to get it. I feel like our entire family has been on an intensive 6 month course that has helped us see ourselves and God in a more clear way. I trust that this intense course will continue for the rest of our lives.