I attempted to print 150 copies of a form today at work. Sounds like a lot, but our printer at work are designed of this kind of load. Except, today, it didn’t. I checked the print log and noticed that one printer had documents from 4 weeks ago still in the print queue. At some point, the printer ran completely out of 3 colors of toner. Instead of replacing the cartridges, people started using the other printer. (Incidentally, it was running low on toner.) My best guess is that for most people, technology is intimidating. In reality, modern printers make it very easy to replace toner cartridges because it is the most common need for a printer. Pop a door open, pull out the old cartridge, place the new one and the printer does the rest. Fear lead to a work around that would eventually fail.
We approach difficult theology the same way.
My daughter caught me by surprise the other night. It was one of those rare opportunities where it was just her and I in the car. We were on the way to her mother’s house to drop her off and somehow we navigated the conversation to the divorce. I expressed the ache in my heart I feel every time I drop her off and how I am sorry that she has to deal with the divorce . Her response: “That’s ok, Dad. You marriage wasn’t meant to be and I am ok with that.”
It bothered me tremendously. In her mind, the marriage wasn’t part of God’s plans, so it just fell apart. Her concept was flawed. It negates the need for us as parents taking ownership of the choices we made that lead to the divorce. In reality, God’s desire was for us both to be part of redemption and reconciliation. But how do you explain that to a 10 year old little girl who has found her way to cope?
It’s tough theology. It’s difficult faith. Some times our journey with Christ leads us to places we don’t understand and our response is often passivity. “Sunday Only” faith is great a dodging exasperation, often leaving us ill equipped to change life’s toner.
Instead, we should embrace our relationship with God like the front side of that printer. We pop it open, we pull the old stuff out – all the things we just grew up believing because we were told to – and we put in a new faith. One that is tested by experience & intention, and affirmed by our affections for the Father and the Spirit’s work in our life.
- Prayer – Simple as it sounds, a mature faith comes through constant and intentional communication with the Father. Talk to Him on your commute to work. Talk to Him on your afternoon coffee break. Take a random walk around the park and talk to Him. Make an effort in the relationship. By doing this, you strengthen your dependence on God, especially in the difficult conversations.
- Study – I love a good sermon. Throw some Matt Chandler, Steven Furtick or some good ole’ John Piper my way and I will eat it up. The problem is that we become codependent on our pastors for our theology. When in reality the responsibility of knowing scripture rests on our shoulders, not theirs. Ask them for guidance, lean on them for strength, but take the initiative to study your faith.
- Community – I love God’s design of the Body of Christ. Not a single one of us has the market on correct theology. Yet at the same time, the same Holy Spirit dwells in each of us calling us to a deeper faith. So, when you are faced with a demanding situation, call on the mature in faith. Discuss it. Hash it out (in love). Wrestle with you faith in a healthy environment.
Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians: