So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Faith is complex and challenging. It requires our intellect, our trust, and our continual response. Last Sunday I used an illustration in my sermon by theologian Alister McGrath, that he used in one of his books to help the faithful understand our call to faith. His analogy is found in his book, “Intellectuals Don’t Need God and other Modern Myths.” Dr. McGrath’s illustration is as follows:
Consider a bottle of penicillin, the antibiotic responsible for saving the lives of countless individuals who would otherwise have died from various forms of blood poisoning. Imagine that
a. This bottle is sitting on my bedside table and that
b. I am suffering from blood poisoning. What are my options?
- I may accept that this bottle of penicillin exists.
- I may trust that it is capable of curing my illness, which otherwise will probably kill me. But I shall never cure my blood poisoning, unless
- I act upon that trust and take the penicillin. If I do not, I shall die, accepting and trusting, but having failed to benefit at all from the resource which could have saved me.
Accepting the existence of God is a step in the process, but not, by itself, faith. Further, a person can even trust God is at work, but unless a person acts and offers him/herself to God, one’s faith is hollow.
Today, consider the ways you experience faith in your life. Accepting God is an act of our human intellect. That is a start, but not enough. Trusting God to respond in our world is a step forward, but still leaves a faithful person at a distance from the Almighty. It is not until we act, by responding to God, that our faith comes alive. Consider the ways you are responding to God. Continue to accept and trust God. Then, take the next step and act on your faith by inviting the Holy Spirit into your heart, and then let God guide your way.