We come to faith as individuals, with our own set of life situations, circumstances and preferences. These “elements,” let’s call them, comprise the externals of our lives, but they must never be allowed to define our faith.
These elements make up who we are – how we are seen as we go about our lives. These are on display in the way we live, communicate and behave.
Our faith, however, is not defined or comprised of these elements. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit calls us to live according to Him. While we live in the world, we are called out of the world.
Unfortunately, often our preferences are the result of a fallen mind and its thoughts and attitudes – a mind which reflects the values and priorities of the world.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him,” says the Apostle John.
Dangerously, believers may see these preferences informing their faith, rather than faith informing their preferences. At that point, we have put our faith into a box.
One can put anything they want into their own personalized “faith box.” Money is always accepted in a faith box. Ethno-centered in your worldview? You can put your all-American, blond haired, blue eyed Jesus icon in your faith box.
Partisan political convictions of most any kind can be housed in your very own personally engraved faith box. Socialist? Throw it in! Capitalist? Why not? There’s room for anything and everything – your nation’s flag, its military might and all of its “achievements.” Even your tailor-made sexual orientation – which amounts to whatever you can conceive of – can go in the box. Remember – God loves you….
By the utilization of your faith box, your faith will be a reflection of none other than……YOU! Then, just as atheists say to believers, you have made your own god!
But it will not be the true God. Faith in a box – nominal, compartmentalized faith – is as old as man.
We are souls, individually created by God, and He made each of us unique. This individuality is God-ordained. And we are created to use our uniqueness to serve Him. We are never to self-justify, projecting ourselves onto faith.
We are His instruments, not the instruments of our own desire. The Supreme Potter has made us for better use.
The example of the Savior is a selfless example. We, as God’s people, cannot allow ourselves to impose our personal values – our preferences – on Him, as we immerse ourselves in the cravings of fallen identities.
His ideals for living are shown to us in His truth revealed. These ideals transcend denominations, ethnicity and nationality. They transcend socio-economic standing and achievement.
God calls us to stand above many values that a civilization or culture holds sacred. His truth alone informs us as to what is sacred. It defines the elements of our lives – our situations, circumstances and preferences. It tells us who we really are.
Note: Thanks go out to J. Perey for his allusion to a jack-in-the-box in his September, 2018 article “God-in-the-box.”