Strength of Faith
Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away.
Over the next twenty-six weeks we are going to focus on how we live out the Christian faith, how we can walk in Strength of Faith.
In the text of todayâ€™s Epistle, we hear Paul say that we aspire to please him [i.e., God], whether we are at home or away. Hearing that immediately took me back to the days of family vacations. At home or away.
The first family vacation I remember was to Florida, Coral Gables, and my Uncle Frankâ€™s house. Both of our families had been touched by tragedy, the loss of my dad and Frankâ€™s loss of his wife, his childrenâ€™s mom. This was still a pretty fresh memory for all of us.
This time gave us some freedom from those thoughts. I recall each thing we did, the visit to the breach, the salt water of the ocean, shells, going to the Venetian Gardens and its beautiful pools, running away after taking a wedge out of the green on a very nice golf course (I think theyâ€™re still looking for me). Being with my cousins. Visiting Ma Easter, an in-law to Uncle Frank, a great, very funny, and vivacious southern woman. Going to the planetarium and seeing moon rocks.
Some of this was culture shock, most just plan fun, and parts even scary. Life is like that, and the overriding question is: How do we approach life? Paul was writing about how we are to live. He boils it down to living in the strength of faith.
The love of God encompasses everything. Grounded in Godâ€™s love through Christâ€™s grace and the Holy Spiritâ€™s communion, we can be what we have been called to be; commending ourselves with confidence to everyone regardless of circumstances, regardless of where we are.
In fact, all that we do while we are in our bodies will be manifest before â€œthe judgment seat of Christâ€ â€“ the moment when Christ, coming in power, will judge all. This reference to Christâ€™s â€œjudgment seatâ€ and how we are to live is not a threat or something we should fear, but rather a promise and an expectation of the fullness of the kingdom for those who live in strength of faith.
Although we live in a world where tech savvy, wealth, power, and the call to constant conflict with neighbors seem to override and even wipe out thoughts of Godâ€™s steadfast love, justice, and righteousness, we can be confident that God, and we who live His way, will prevail in the end.
Our â€œtransformationâ€ into Christâ€™s image takes place not in some otherworldly place, only at the end, but here and now in how we live. Here is where we need to live and act in strength of faith, to go the way of Christ when we feel the pull to conflict, greed, the need to repost criticisms, to finger-point, to REACT. Godâ€™s grace is sufficient power to overcome, to live in strength of faith and to be truly Christian.