Houston Forward Times

05 February 2014 Written by  James Washington

Spiritually Speaking…

Men, particularly Black men, survive in this natural world, lots of time on instinct, ego, stamina and an unwillingness to submit their wills to that of another man. Almost from birth, we are told we don’t have to take "that" off anyone. It can be difficult to reconcile the dilemma of faith and submission and that of sacrifice and accepting someone else’s will supersede our own. Life teaches us to be and act independently. Stand up for yourself and it’s better to be a leader than to be a follower. Then, as Christians, here comes the bible and it tells us in Hebrews 11:1-3 that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. So, we are to submit to the will of God, follow the teachings and the example of the life of Jesus Christ, and be guided by listening to the Holy Spirit; fly blindly into the fray, so to speak. Faith will be your lighthouse. Ultimately, we all know faith guided all of the prophets including Moses. Faith brought down the walls of Jericho. By faith the Red Sea was parted. Enoch was transformed by faith. Abraham was delivered by it. But the reality of faith can be foreign to those who rely on what they can see, touch and confirm by their senses. To do otherwise, goes against everything natural and learned in this life. If that sentiment were to prevail, then we all should pack our bags and go straight to hell because the devil has indeed won. I just have to believe there is more.

Even in the natural world, man does not live by bread alone. For example, love and its pursuit drive many of us to do great and sometimes extraordinary things. You can’t touch it. Friendship and special relationships are sometimes manifested in superhuman deeds on behalf of others. You can’t see it. Respect can change the behavior of the worst wrongdoers. Can’t taste or smell it. We are guided by the unseen everyday in situations where we honor and appreciate those whom we love and are honor bound to protect. Then I submit to you that we must focus on our faith in God as opposed to our faith in men. You can, I can, easily have faith in someone we trust. That manifests itself as loyalty. When we deliberately put God into the mix, then we are face to face with what we truly believe in. You know that you know and He knows that you know. I believe everyone struggles with this as they look for a personal encounter with the Lord. It takes a while to get there, but once there, decisions are simple. Faith based decisions lead to confirmation of who God is and who we are to Him. The promise is that "If you have the faith of a mustard seed…nothing is impossible to you." Matthew 17:20.

My point is that the dilemma of faith and submission can keep us from seeking and confronting our faith. I believe it to be another trick of the devil. As long as we do not confront the faith question, we will never find our personal road to salvation. We can actually get in our own way. I am going on record that I have work to do coming to grips with my own faith. But there is no doubt in my mind that I live under the fulfilled promise of grace. Jesus completed His task and a new covenant has been established. The things of this world can sometimes cloud that fact but each and every time my faith is challenged, my faith wins out. I will inherit the promise of grace and the rest of this stuff is irrelevant. It doesn’t mean anything anyway.

May God bless and keep you always, James