Thursday, January 8, 2009

Walking in the light...

The First Letter of John contains one of those summaries of the faith often seen in Paul's letters and the Gospels as well, that serves to focus or to concentrate the eye and heart of the reader. 1 John: 1: 5-7 "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and are cleansed from all sin." The walk is the important thing, practicing the truth. James Walker makes this point in his sermon, "Means of Strengthening an Infirm Faith"

"Dismiss from your minds every vestige of the conceit of scepticism. Do not allow your minds to dwell exclusively or unduly on the difficulties of the subject; or be willing, at any rate, to consider that, if there are difficulties in the way of believing, there are greater ones in the way of not believing. Above all, begin, begin today, to live up to the measure of light and faith to which you have already attained... If still he does not believe enough, and is anxious to believe more, his next step should be to make the most of what he does believe...Religion, I hardly need say, is not so much a matter of speculation as of practice... Let him begin by reducing to practice what he does believe, be it little or much. If as yet he believes but little, let him begin by bringing his life into faithful and strict accordance with that little, as a condition of believing more. And here let me remind you again, that a faithful and strict conformity to this little, to one or two doctrines of natural religion, will not turn out to be a small matter...
But this is not all. I do not count on the power of the sceptic to persevere in a righteous course on the strength of his doubts, supposing his doubts to continue. My argument is, that he should make the most of the measure of faith he already has, as the appointed and necessary condition of his having more. The habit of obedience, the habit of piety, the habit of prayer, generates a conviction of the reality of moral and spiritual things, which nothing else can give. Who has not found that, in his best moods,— when, for example, he is in the midst of a good work, or when his heart is full of generous affections and purposes, or when he is under the influence of good and holy men, —he finds no difficulty in believing what religion teaches ? We have, therefore, but to make our best moods our constant moods, and our doubts would never return."

There is much to be said for the adage that it is better to act your way into thinking than to think your way into acting...Walk in the light.

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