Here are the next 10 beliefs on my list of 29 things that make up my world-view:
11. Churches are made up of sinners. I work for a church filled with people who really love Jesus. I work for a guy who leads with more grace and humility than I know what to do with. Despite this reality, I encounter people daily who seem to be bitterly disappointed in us. I encounter places in my own heart of frustration or judgement.
It’s been painful, learning that my leaders are sinners, but it’s a beautiful truth. Being a legitimate Christian doesn’t meant that your life perfectly reflects every single belief you hold. That’s what it means to be Christ.
12. Grace is only grace if I give it to people who don’t meet my standards. The mark of a true grace giver is that you extend grace to the people who fail to live up to your standard.
Grace isn’t grace if you only give it to people who do what you think is ‘right’. I give grace to the sinner, but do I give it to the pharisee? Do I eagerly give grace to those who don’t live up to my expectations of what a person should be like?
13. The lives of saints are encouraging. I love it when I stumble across the life of a radical saint who has gone before me. I love reading about their walk with God and hearing struggles and stories that resonate with me so deeply that it literally builds faith in me.
14. The lives of sinners are encouraging. Not all the people whose lives encourage me have testimonies filled with flawless integrity though.
I remember a couple of years ago, sitting on the couch watching a documentary of Ted Haggard try to put his life back together after it was torn apart by sin. I know God more intimately because of Haggard’s life. I am so thankful for the way his story was written. I wept on the couch that night because on that screen I watched the promises of God unfold. In the life of Ted Haggard I can see that God will get glory from all of us. I can see that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ – not life or death, not public sexual sin, or being abandoned by your community, not even messing up your ministry.
15. Suffering is God’s grace. Turns out God really values suffering. I’m hoping He’ll teach me to do the same.
16. Ministry is for screw-ups. There can often be the misconception that full-time ministry is for the more ‘advanced’ among us. Here’s the deal: God put me in ministry because it’s what I need today to keep me running this race. I’m so prone to wonder that He’s keeping me near to Him through my job. He keeps his most rebellious children the closest.
17. The greatest dangers rarely dress up like dangers. The sneaky thing about sin is that it’s not usually the ‘bad’ things that tear you away from Jesus.
My roommate and I have been processing this question: if something was going to tear you away from Jesus what would it be? For both of us it’s not something bad; it’s not something that we are called to avoid. The dangers in our lives dress up as good things. For me, the dangers actually dress up like Jesus.
18. Prayer matters. Any thoughts I have would be directly stolen from this book.
19. Fight sin or die.
There are many professing Christians who have a view of salvation that disconnects it from real life, and that nullifies the threats of the Bible, and puts the sinning person who claims to be a Christian beyond the reach of biblical warnings. I believe this view is comforting thousands who are on the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). Jesus said, if you don’t fight lust, you won’t go to heaven. Not that saints always succeed. The issue is that we resolve to fight, not that we succeed flawlessly. – John Piper in Future Grace
20. There is only one God. Despite all of the gods we give our lives, passion and souls to, there is only one true God. There is only one worthy of worship. There is only one worthy of honor.
Oh for the faith to believe this! I long to believe. I long for His glory to be on the bottom of my heart and the source of all my joy.
Sometimes when I’m driving in my car I say to myself: Fabs, imagine for a moment that all that you believe is ACTUALLY true. Imagine that God is real, and on His throne right now and for you. The same God who made a promise to Abraham in the middle of the night, the same God who pursued Jacob and parted the Red Sea, this same God is with me even now.
This is a firm foundation under the feet of the faithful. This is our God. He is the only one with true power. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the only one in full control, the only uncreated being. And He is my Father, my protector, my advocate, my refuge.
[Tomorrow I’ll celebrate my birthday by walking through the final 9 of my beliefs!]