Commitment and Suffering

Dough_Serious Eats

Photo Credit: Daniel Gritzer

“No, we cannot commit ourselves in a day, because we cannot, merely by saying we will, put our whole trust in God. To trust in God is a thing which has to be learned. We may stand up and make our profession of faith, clasp a missioner’s hand and say, ‘I have taken Christ for my Savior, I trust him for all.’ But we shall still trust ourselves to do our part in the new covenant we have entered. For we do not learn what dependence on God is except through having our self-dependence broken in the mill of life, slowly and painfully. Many tears, much shame, continual repentance, this is the lot of those who pledge themselves to God. A paradoxical pledge; we learn to keep it by breaking it.” ~ Austin Farrer, “A Faith of Our Own,” 171-2.

Many Christians operate on a one-time faith. One time on a Sunday, one time at a conference, one time in your car, one time with an evangelist. Our faith is reduced to a point, a moment of confession in time. But this isn’t faith. Faith is the business of taking that point and stretching it out to fill a life, like dough in the hands of a baker. Pressing outward, letting it rest, pressing outward again, kneading a difficult bit, working it continuously to serve its ultimate purpose. Do you claim to have faith? Then you will have suffering–the suffering, at the very least, of your commitment to die to yourself each day. And in faith you will, each day, each moment, call upon the help of God in your struggle.

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