9/21/2004

FAITH BEGETS UNDERSTANDING

Understanding is the reward of faith. So do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe so that you may understand. Augustine

When we tell someone about the gospel, or about how the gospel has changed us, do we tell them hoping they will understand, and then believe? That is quite impossible, we should know.

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB

Approaching faith from an intellectual understanding is one of the great mistakes of our times. When we “try” to convince someone of the absolute sense the gospel makes, we are approaching the gospel from an intellectual angle. I think we might be handicapping those we speak with, if we do it like this.

The gospel cannot be understood by the mind, until the heart believes it. Then, how beautiful does it appear? Awesomely spectacular, with all of its wisdom attached to the man dangling from the cross. Utter foolishness it is to believe that this man, Jesus, can save anyone, if we approach it with our minds primarily. But when our heart is engaged, it seems as if God on the cross is the only thing that could ever make sense.

We approach the Word of God in the same manner, with our heads first. Why do we do this? Is it because we believe we have a pretty good understanding of the gospel? Is it because we fail to remain in Jesus the way He told us, which is by faith alone, and not by deeds, or by intellectual cunning? To remain, to abide in Christ, is to love Him, and obey Him. Love speaks nothing of the head, only of the heart. Thus, to abide must be a heart matter, not a knowledge base.

When we “lead” people to Christ, then, let us do it with our hearts, not with our heads, because the people who don’t know Jesus won’t understand the gospel unless they believe it first. What great fruit could we bear if we remained in faith? If we approach the gospel through faith, share it through faith, and live it through faith, understanding will follow. Let us pray understanding will follow for those we share the gospel with, for if it does, then they have believed!

7 comments:

Mwega said...

Its so true. I am guilty of that! So many times we look at our situations with our heads and question God, what do we do? What should we say? Why don't you give me the answers? More often than not, the reasons why I don't have answers is that I am not looking in the right places. I am looking with my head not my heart. Your heart is where the faith is, but it is easier said than done.

Its funny as I have talked about faith on my blog today as well http://heartformission.blogspot.com , as it was in the daily reading I got. So reading this was good, as it just confirmed really what I have been doing wrong. Thanks!

Tom Reindl said...

Mwega,

I visited your site. I like it. :)

"So reading this was good, as it just confirmed really what I have been doing wrong"

I am glad to help. But, I do hope you'll rememeber grace, and not get buried under feeling guilty. God is an encourager, and I hope you feel that every day in your walk. Thanks.

SteveW said...

I like your statement "When we “lead” people to Christ, then, let us do it with our hearts, not with our heads".

I think our hearts must lead and then our minds. When asked about the greatest commandment the Lord responded:

AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.'
(Mar 12:30 NASB)

Peterson, in The Message, says it like this:

so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.'
(Mar 12:30 MSG)

If only we all had the Lord's passion for the lost......

Tom Reindl said...

Steve,

Amen! If Scripture can be trusted then we will more and more have hearts for the lost, as we are conformed to His image. Great topic over on your blog. I keep forgetting to put that in my comments.

BruceD said...

So true, Tommy!

I like to encourage people to "love with the heart of the Father, and live with the FAITH of the Son."

What else is needed in life?

Tom Reindl said...

Bruce,

Absolutely nothing

T said...

I do love augustine. and thanks for the good word!