Over the past few days I have found myself confronted by another aspect of the “Faith of our Fathers” issue. A more positive one, but still spiritually deadly in its own right. If you have not read my first article on “Faith of our Fathers”, you can read it hereFaith of our fathers. However, a brief explanation of the phenomenon is this. Many of us who grew up in Christian homes find ourselves acquiring our parents’ patterns of faith without internalizing it for ourselves. Yes we are born again, but our maturity is based on learned behaviour rather than stemming from “working out our own salvation”. Sometimes it is in totality (the most dangerous)… at other times it is in partial areas, in our understanding of certain aspects of faith or church tradition, this last area is what i want to look at today.
Some of us grew up in Christian families that made us hate Christianity or love Christ but not quite love His Christians. But then there are those of us who grew up in wonderful Christian homes, some of our parents were church leaders, sometimes even several generations of the families we come from are part of the clergy. We experienced love and joy and blessings from the Lord. We had and still have a good name in society because of our relationship to the church and to God. But because we have been surrounded by these good feelings, and results because of our faith, it is hard for us to notice when we are operating on the “faith of our fathers”, rather than from a true to God’s word relationship with Him.
The complication arises when suddenly we are confronted by truths in the word of God that contradict what we have grown up hearing and doing all our life. To make it worse the difference in the word of God and what has been passed on may not necessarily be wrong and it even produced good results. Let me use a mild example here that will not raise a worldwide crisis in faith : ). It is common for us to say at the beginning of a service or other Christian meeting, “Lord we invite your presence to be here…” or something similar. I understand what we mean. However scripture clearly says, “ I will never leave you or forsake you…,” “ where two or three are gathered in my name am in their midst” and the psalmist asked where could he hide from the Lords presence. So it is unbiblical for us to ask God to come, He already is here. More often it is us who need His help to be aware of His never-ending presence and to everyday and every moment live our lives in response to this reality .
Now imagine if we learned the idea of inviting God’s presence from our clergy father who had the most powerful worship sessions and testified to their success stemming from such a prayer. Or an aunt who was a wonderful intercessor and taught us how to pray with fervency, and we have many fond memories of answered prayer because of the foundation and encouragement given by this sweet aunty. But she always asked and taught to invite God’s presence. I Love this family member and I see the positive results but the Bible says different. And therein lays the tension. Because of the love we hold for our family members it can often feel like betrayal to them or even disrespectful to acknowledge they and we were wrong, let alone confront them with the error.
May God help us Love Him and His word above father or mother, to remember that all else will pass but His word will not, and to know in following His truth we do not cease to honour or love the wonderful people He has put in our lives. Help us Lord to read your word through the eyes of your Holy Spirit, and not of the things we have seen, silence the voices that we adore and that are of influence, rather may your voice, Holy Spirit lead us into all truth. May we truly love you with our mind and soul. May our Faith be in and of The Father. Amen