Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Answer to Everything

Of course, you don't have to be a fearful man or a doubtful man or a worrying, angry, or empty man. There is another way to change these traits in yourself other than to turn your fears, doubts, etc. toward God. This other way is more complicated, but it is an option.

This other way is to choose faith.

It comes as a surprise to most people that faith is the answer to everything. The fearful man so often thinks that courage is the answer to fear, that he must just push himself to do the very thing he is afraid of and then he will conquer his fear. Not true. He can do the thing he is afraid of, but he will only push his fear back. He will run into it again. Because fear and courage occupy the same ground. One is not stronger than the other; it's a battle of territory. The fearful man must choose faith. Only then can he conquer his fear. 

The doubtful man, too, must choose faith. He might say the obvious answer to his doubt is to simply believe, but this, too, is not quite true. He can believe the thing in which he doubts, but he will only push his doubt aside. He will run into it again. Because doubt and belief occupy the same ground. One is not stronger than the other; this is a battle of territory. The doubtful man must choose faith. Only then can he answer his doubt.

The worrying man thinks trust must be his answer. Trust is, after all, a natural outflow of security. He can simply replace his worry with trust, and this will solve his problem. Again, not true. He can trust in the face of insecurity, but he only pushes his worry aside. It will rear its ugly head again. Because worry and trust occupy the same ground. One is not stronger than the other; it's a battle of territory. The worrying man must choose faith. Only then can he confront his worry.

The angry man might be tempted to choose love. Are you sensing the pattern? Love will not answer his anger. It can't. It only pushes it aside until he fights the same battle again and again. Because anger and love occupy the same ground. The angry man must choose faith. The empty man is tempted to choose satisfaction. He thinks if he is satisfied, or content, with his situation then he will not feel such aching need. Maybe that's true, but only temporarily because need and contentment occupy the same ground. The empty man must choose faith.

Most of us spend our lives fighting battles on the ground on which we stand, feeling the pull between fear and courage, doubt and belief, worry and trust, anger and love, need and contentment. We're always drawn between two extremes. The moment we get the better to push away the latter, how quickly we find ourselves facing the same thing all over again. It's a pattern. Because we're fighting on the same ground.

Faith is the answer because faith changes the ground that we stand on. 

In faith, we believe there is nothing to fear. So we're no longer standing on shaky ground, choosing between fear and courage. There's no need. In faith, there can be no fear. It's no longer a question. In faith, we believe there's an answer to every question. There's no longer hesitation in our asking because we know the answer is there. With no hesitation, there is no doubt. We're no longer torn between doubt and belief because we're not paralyzed by our questions; we're standing on new ground. In faith, there is nothing to worry about. God tells us so much in His Word. So it's not about any more whether we worry or whether we trust. On the ground of faith, security is not a concern; it's a given. In faith, anger has no control over us. There is righteous anger, sure, but this anger is no sin. It's not a barrier. It doesn't stand in confrontation with love; it is love. We don't have to worry any more about how we feel and how we should feel. What we feel is pure because we've changed its foundation. In faith, our emptiness echoes with the sound of the angels. We're not haunted by our need any more, but we are driven by it to the feet of God. We aren't lost between need and contentment any more. We are both empty and full. Faith changes the battleground.

That's why faith is so powerful. It is the answer to everything not because it takes away our questions but because it provides a new foundation on which to ask them. It literally changes the ground that we walk on. You can spend your life choosing courage in the face of fear, but you'll have to make that decision a million times before you die. You can choose belief over doubt, trust over worry, love over anger, contentment over need but you will have to choose these things again and again and again and you'll lie awake at night wondering why you just can't seem to shake these troubles of a fallen man. 

But choose faith, and there is only one question. And maybe you have to answer it over and over and over again, but it becomes an answer you know intimately well. Because this question doesn't change with your circumstances; it changes your circumstances. The one question you must concern yourself with is this:

Do you have faith?

Whose ground are you standing on?

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