When values are internalized (learning a playbook, rehearsing the steps in a dance) there is less need for rules and more opportunity for improvisation.
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Live with the End in Mind
We Value the formation of our future by the imagination of faith in the absolute commands and principles of God’s Word.
We only know what the Lord requires as we examine the sacred text and see the life that he intends from and for all of humanity. Our life will be called into account and judged. Your life will have an end and this life will have an end…live in light of the end.
God now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. Acts 17:30-31
Imagine being at a funeral and all of your friends and relatives are there. As you walk by to view the body, you notice that you are attending…your own funeral.
• Family and friends are reminiscing about your life, how will you be remembered?
• If you can imagine how you will be remembered, then you have probably come up with the principles that will order and reward your life, offer a definition of success and help you write your personal mission statement.
You might think it’s a morbid exercise, but Jesus lived in light of the end of his life. From the wedding at Cana to weeping in Gethsemene, he measured life by his final hour.
• John 13:1 when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
• John 17:4 I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
To Live with the End in Mind is based on imagination. Faith’s ability to envision what you cannot at present see with your eyes. Through imagination we can visualize the uncreated potential within us and all around us. God declares, I am God, and there is no other; Declaring the end from the beginning, Isaiah 46:9-10
We are image bearers of the Creator, and we bear his ability to speak, calls things forth, create…
Creative faith is based on the principle that all things are created twice.
1. The mental/verbal creation
2. The physical or realized creation
All things are created twice: God said and then God saw. Our lives testify to this imaginative ability to create…we think, believe, say and do. Getting married, having a baby, training children, constructing a building, planning a trip, going to the store…etc. A grocery list is not the same as possessing the groceries or eating the groceries.
If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then by default you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life. Don’t let others create your world for you because they will always create it to small.
If you do not believe that you have a new heart you may hold your own imagination in contempt or condemnation. Imagination is the way to recover what faith is.
1 Cor 2:9-10 “ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. (Isaiah 64:4)
We live our lives in memory or imagination. We need healed memories and helpful imaginations.
We need to develop a biblical imagination so that we may gain the mind of Christ, the heart of the Father and the voice of Spirit as we are: reading, hearing, studying, praying, singing, meditating and memorizing the Scriptures.
• Listen for his voice and its echo
• Look for his presence and its shadow
• Long for his touch and its memory
We orient ourselves to God by faith. Hebrews 11:6 Anyone that comes to God, must believe that He is and that he is the rewarder of them that seek him. Faith is not a lesser or inferior way of knowing empirical data, it is just a different way to access the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in the mind/heart/voice of God. Faith is the technology of another dimension.
Faith is the orientation to following God through life. Our orientation to God gives meaning to our movement, or else you end up disoriented. New students in school take an orientation class in order to give direction to their new life, how much more do we all need an orientation (catechism) to our life of faith.
The Scriptures are our primary means of orientation. The best way to learn faith is to imitate people of faith (Hebrews 11) then you will get better at it. Faith is like playing golf: I have clubs, balls, might even be a member and I attend occasionally, but I’ve never taken a lesson so I’m not very good at it, but I can get better if I will practice.
Performers, dancers, artists, chefs, athletes, etc…are visualizers. They see it “in their mind’s eye” before they do it. “If you can sense it then it is only a matter of time until you will see it.” Bishop T.D. Jakes
Faith grows because it has the nature of a seed. Like a seed it is not suddenly or sensational, but a slow motion miracle…you’ll need a time lapse camera to watch it unfold.
Faith is to bring about what God wills not what I want. It is not to meet our greeds, but our needs. It gives us the power to alter things around us, and we should start with things that are rooted in our life that do not belong there: attitudes, actions, fears, anger, shame, addiction, etc.
Faith speaks…faith comes from hearing the Word (not just listening, but to him who has ears to hear what the Spirit is speaking…a rhema – a now present timely word. God’s word has creative, evocative power…Jesus said, ask me and I will give it to you.
John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. The Greek particle and tense indicates that if there is something that you desire that is not yet created, ask me and I will create it for you.
Faith creates the possibilities of the other dimension to be experienced in this life. Faith sees the invisible and does the impossible. We should by faith expect to find access points into the realm of God and the prayer of faith asks for the will of the Father to be done on earth as it is in heaven. For example, what if walking on water is something that we forgot? What else have we forgotten?
• We don’t walk on the Water, but we can Walk on the Water of the Word.
• We are not looking for footprints in the sand, but on the water
• The word was spoken before it was written so that what was written would be spoken.
• The content of the Word is limited, but the revelation of the Word is limitless.
• The only way to release faith is to speak it.
• God wants what he spoke to be spoken again…by you.
Jesus changed life all round him by the words that he spoke and told us to do likewise. Mark 11:23-24 I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
We get to invent our future. We are invited to write a script out of scripture. A script that is healthier, more congruent with our deepest values and the heart of God, which means that we need to be in the Word in order to rightly order our hearts and lives.
The real Bible is the one that has become flesh in your life. The word that you have received in your life…it has authority. Speak from it and add to it. We confess more than we can explain which is why a Sacramental theology is necessary in order to keep the faith incarnational.