Glencairn Methodist Church
Growing in Faith
In his second letter to the Church at Corinth, St Paul writes about one's faith "continuing to grow" (2 Cor 10:15) and St Peter in his letters encourages his readers to "grow up in your salvation" (1 Pet 2:2), and to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Pet 3:18). I have been reflecting a little on how all of this "growing" may take place.
In Proverbs 3: 19-20, we read about the Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom of God, and I want to see how our own knowledge, understanding and wisdom can help us to grow in faith.
Let me add the word information to my list. Information is "out there". It is in books or on the Internet which we can read, or we may hear someone speak. We take information into our brains and then it is our knowledge. Suppose we are moved by curiosity to read, say, the Gospel according to St Mark. We would then know part of the story of Jesus. We would know that he lived and died in Palestine at a certain time in history and we would know some of his teaching and know about some of the things he did, such as healing the sick. We will read the report of his resurrection. But to understand this knowledge we have to think about it, we have to try to relate it to what we already know, we have to question it and so make sense of it. To do this we may have to seek out further information and absorb that also. If we can now believe that the story is true then our faith-journey has begun. We may then decide to try to implement some of Jesus' teaching in our lives, such as to pray and to love other people. And through these life-experiences we may find that we grow in faith. And so we seek further knowledge and further understanding so that we continue to grow wiser and to grow in faith. Look at the cyclic nature of this journey as depicted in the figure below. There will be times when the diagram will be more chaotic. There will be times when we are foolish in our life-choices, but paradoxically, out of the pain of this foolishness will grow wisdom, helping us to avoid making the same bad choices again.
And so we grow in knowledge, understanding, wisdom and faith until we approach the ground of our being, our holy and loving God.
23 June 2008
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm