Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Pastor Sam Lee who leads Catalyst Agape Church in Northern New Jersey, was first posted on October 31, 2013.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“The Three Facets to the Christian Faith”
Psalm 108:1-5 (NIV)
My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
There is a difference between knowing and experiencing the truth. For instance, those who have been raised in the church are ingrained with the truth that God is love, yet this becomes so personal when that truth is actually experienced. At that point, the truth of God’s love is not just part of our head knowledge but an integral part of our faith, heart and even worldview.
When I was first introduced to Christ a while ago, I learned that there are three facets to the Christian faith: First is gaining cognitive knowledge about the Bible, such as knowing that Jesus, after having lived a perfect life on earth, died on the cross for our sins, and then, arose from dead. Second is building experiential knowledge of God’s goodness, which is the result of having encountered His abiding presence, healing and deliverance, particularly during difficult moments in life; often tears and other overwhelming emotions are accompanied.
Another facet involves our volition, through which we make willful choices and commitment to Christ. This, I believe, holds the key to our spiritual growth and maturity. While at times doubts may challenge our knowledge and our emotions may run dry, we can always choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit who is in us, because “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13).
In this Psalm, David writes four times in the span of three verses, “I will” sing and praise the Lord. Although he went through difficult circumstances and turmoil in life, which would make most people to turn away from God, David willfully chose to sing and praise the Lord: “I will sing and make music. . . . I will praise you. . . . I will sing of you . . . for great is your love, higher than the heavens, your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” Why? Because he hadn’t forgotten all the wonderful things God had done for him in the past; this is the experiential knowledge of God, not just head knowledge. So whether or not we “feel” God’s love today, let’s willfully choose to live this day praising our great God.
Prayer: Lord, even though David felt as though God had rejected him in times of war (Ps. 108:11), he still chose to praise and trust You that You would bring victory. I pray to have this kind of faith. Dear Lord, increase my faith! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 45-46.