Paying Attention to Faith

Submitted by Michael Thompson on Mon, 06/13/2016 - 12:00am
The Warrior's Heart

Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods 'where they get off', you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.

C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

This found me the other day and made a huge impression. Lewis is making an incredible observation of which I feel a significant invitation; that we must pay attention to our inner world. The invitation to seeing and hearing (truly observing) my false self rebel is one of the pre-requsites to advancing in the Kingdom… seeing and hearing; paying attention. This is the same man who once wrote that no more does being in a garage make you a car than going to church makes you a Christian. There is a wonderful and very difficult challenge amidst one's faith… paying attention. One can call them moods or thoughts, attitudes or perspectives but can I feel what I feel and think on why I am thinking (or better, believing) the way I am about anything… because ALL OF IT are matters of faith.

This is where I find my heart these days, experiencing AND observing my inner life, matters of my heart, as the circumstances around me unfold. There is clearly an outer life that I am subject to, one that comes flowing at me from some place upstream, and an encounter is going to take place between me (my inner world) and it (the circumstances of my outer world). How will I see it, interpret it, how will that moment affect me, what will I believe about me, God, or others? The answers are only available as I make myself available to pay attention. I have found that most of the time (though digressing), my impulses and reactions are less true and less helpful to my growing in my faith. The training comes when I slow the world down inside, which then slows my world down outside, and I can ask questions of my heart that lead me upstream to God, and conversations with Him over what this moment is all about ensue.

I have found that I am not growing my faith by trying to grow my faith. It is a far deeper proposition that Lewis is suggesting. I believe he is saying we grow our faith by examining our reactions and moods to life, and through the exercising of our will, the letting go or unsubscribing or doing battle with those things that are false (lies) so we can push through to the truth of why those reactions are inside me. Now, I have something really worth repenting (turning in) to God. Maybe it is reprogramming (the renewing of my mind) through exchanging what I thought I knew, for an adventure of walking with God into what I've yet to know. That feels like faith to me... active, pursuing, exploring, uncertain, and confident... being still—ALL part of the growing up of me into Him. My moods and feelings are a great place to start the examination of my real-self versus the false one. Lewis is right, this is where the deeper work begins, the entering into a training, a practice, an art of faith... this is where I find myself in His care and attention everyday all-day, and He is guiding, oh how He is guiding, me in the practice of paying attention so that He can then guide me into the experience of Freedom connected only to a Life with Him.

Let's Pray...

Dear God, Blessed Trinity, we praise you today for all you are and all the good you are up to in our lives. Thank you for Life, you are Life, and you have brought us back to Life. We proclaim and confess your ways are higher, deeper, and more wonderful and dangerous than we might ever know this side of heaven. We entrust our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls to you again today. We declare you alone are worthy of all we are and all we are becoming.

Thank you Holy Spirit for guiding us into all truth—for taking up the great adventure of Faith deep in our hearts and renovating us from the inside out. We sign on again this day and pledge to pay more attention today than we did yesterday. Grant us Holy Spirit, strength and courage to walk so close to you that your shadow is our shadow and ours is yours. We confess, we need you. Without you the Kingdom Life is impossible and with you it is ours as we are yours.

Jesus, thank you for inviting us to faith, for igniting our faith, from bringing us from death to Life, and for transforming us from an old life to a new one in you, through you and with you. You are our King and you are the one we serve, praise, and have been declared your intimate allies. What an honor for us, what a privilege for us, what a glorious opportunity for us. We proclaim that you have rescued us from darkness and are now working to grow us up to be entrusted with the glories and mysteries of your Kingdom. Guide us today in seeing and hearing with the eyes and ears of our hearts—hearts attuned to you and your Kingdom, how it works, who we are in it, and most of all, who you truly are as Savior, Shepherd, and King.

Father, you are glorious in all your ways. Creation tells of your power, glory, beauty, and mystery. Thank you for taking us into your family, for raising us as sons and daughters, for aligning our hearts with yours over and over again. We confess we wander off from that alignment and are distracted or lured away by false things. We pray for courage to come back into alignment with you as often as the current pulls us away and that we, with your help and favor, would examine all things and hold onto that which is good, right, and true. We pray your blessing over Zoweh, the mission of Life, and the many opportunities to practice our art, the craft of our faith; LOVE. We pray all this in the name of our Savior and King, Jesus Christ, to whom all glory, honor, and praise is due.

Amen and AMEN!