We stand for HONEST FAITH JOURNEYS.
Our leadership team recently finished a study on values for Mt Olive and these values were presented at our congregational assembly several weeks ago. I have begun delving into each one of these values here each week, and we continue today.
The more we solidify our course around these values, the more unified we become as a body of Christ and the more influential we will be in our community as a dynamic force for good - for the sake of sharing the gospel.
We stand for HONEST FAITH JOURNEYS.
This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness; not health, but healing; not being, but becoming; not rest, but exercise.We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it. The process is not yet finished, but it is going on. This is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.
— Martin Luther
Luther is speaking in bold terms about the honest faith journey to which each believer is attached. We are not a finished product, but we are being developed and shaped in our walk of faith by the Word of God, by the Spirit of God, and by our brothers and sisters in faith.
As a pastor I hear many burdened hearts cry out for honest dialogue about the journey of faith. Some are surprised that they are the only ones who fail and fall flat; some sense a raggedness that is not evident in anyone else. Some make apologetic remarks: “I know I shouldn’t worry; I know that this is not where my heart should be; I know that my attitude could be better,” etc. What is that type of remark or feeling other than an honest acknowledgement that God’s work in us is not finished yet. “…not righteousness, but growth in righteousness; not health, but healing; not being, but becoming; not rest, but exercise.” Thanks, Luther, for letting us see the journey of faith in real and honest terms.
Everything we do at Mount Olive bolsters honest faith journeys. Faith is a journey of continually seeking and knowing Jesus. Because we know we are all at a different place in that walk, we humbly strive to be genuine, to continually invite honest dialogue, to build relationships and community, and to create a welcoming and encouraging environment for all.
Do I really want to hide? YES, I do! But is there growth in hiding the true [unfinished] self? NO! So why hide any longer? Jesus says, (Luke 12:1-3) “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”
Hypocrisy means covering up or hiding what is happening inside. Jesus says to guard against hiding the truth of my spiritual struggle. So, I will find ways to shout about my journey from the rooftops: “I’m not done yet; God’s still working on me.” I will make it a point, especially in my small group time, to let people see parts of me that are not yet “righteousness” but “growth in righteousness.” I want to be honest with my kids and my neighbors that there is a better me on the other side of today. So I submit to the truth that I’m not all that God has planned for me. I submit to his plan to carry me on that journey. I submit to the covering of his righteous and perfect life so that, in my bold and brazen, honest confessions, I do not feel naked and alone, but covered and forgiven and empowered. And I walk in fellowship with other sinners on this same road to a better end, a newer and brighter self.
So God bless your honesty as you share that you are not yet a finished product but on a journey toward that place. God bless you as you confess and receive the kindness and forgiveness and support of your brothers and sisters in faith. God bless you as you embrace his completed act of redemption and access its power for your accelerated journey of faith.
God bless you in your week of being who you are, preparing for what you will be.