Know That You Don’t Know

I’m still trying to figure out the faith application of something that happened to me today. As some of you may know, I speak a little Spanish. I wouldn’t call myself “Bi-lingual” just yet, but I can manage a conversation with a (very patient) native speaker. So, I’m also on Twitter, and I use that to follow some Twitter feeds en Espanol so I can brush up a little. One of them had a link to a little quiz to test Spanish vocabulary.

I thought that was neat. I clicked on it, and was able to follow the directions- filling out data, basic instructions, things like that. Actually, that part wasn’t even totally easy, and the fact that immigrants to our country have huge language barriers didn’t escape me. What I could surmise was that they wanted me to click “yes” for words that I knew/thought I knew. On the flip side was that I was to click “no” for words I didn’t know OR thought were made up.

My results were that I was 29% proficient. Not bad, since most of the words were way above my head. Now, I admit that I clicked “no” on a lot of words… but I didn’t click affirmatively on any words that weren’t, well, actual words. Then I saw that there was an English version. I took it. Same rules, less difficulty in navigating through the directions (I’d already done it, but more importantly- it was en Ingles!)

These weren’t “gimme’s”, y’all- even so, my stats were higher. (One word was “eschatology”- I took advantage of the theological word!) But there *was* a category that was higher than in the Spanish version. I had clicked on 5 words that weren’t actually words! English fail! So this left me thinking about these results. I also did a Google search for one of them. Mumpish actually IS a word… just a very old, out-dated, no longer used word. (The spell checker underlined it just now. It makes me feel mumpish!)

OK, so where’s this all going? I realized that I’ve been preaching from Ephesians lately, and last week’s message was in Ephesians 2. What’s the most quoted passage from Ephesians 2? Verses 8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast.” (NIV)

I hope this isn’t too much of a stretch- but the way I see these events is that for me to take this little test in Spanish was sort of like relying on grace. I was in over my head, and my efforts didn’t provide all that much. Even getting started on it took me some time! The fact that I made no wrong answers in a foreign language is like God guiding His children in a land that isn’t supposed to be their own anymore. We at one time were a part of this world, but now we’re His. How does that come about? Grace.

In the English quiz, I felt like I knew enough on my own. Though I’m still protesting “mumpish” (there’s that red squiggly line again!), I see this as relying on my efforts and coming up short on the results. I led myself astray. And in our spiritual lives, if we feel like we can save ourselves apart from Christ, or if we want to wander away from His grace that sustains us, we’re in trouble.

How do you see this play out in your own life?

(just for fun- here’s the link to the Spanish version)  http://vocabulario.bcbl.eu/vocabulario/start

(and here’s the link to the English version)  http://vocabulary.ugent.be/

Until next time!

Accepting Corn Chowder By Faith

I’m not usually one to be tied down by food squeamishness.  I’m just at 6 feet tall, and I reside in the upper 230s to lower 240s.  I like me some food.  When Jenn and I were getting to know each other, it didn’t take her long to figure out that I would pretty much eat a food–granted it was not still moving.  That being said, I raised my eyebrows to a recent food purchase she made: corn chowder.   Now, I’m a big supporter of the clam chowder hailing from the place where they paahhk the caahh by the haahbaah.  Corn chowder?  Well, it may be an area of expertise to some but I’d never ventured into that “field”… until today.

My hesitation was rooted in some pre-conceived notions I had regarding some less-than-stellar corn puddings I’ve partaken of in the past.  It was an unfair comparison, but one that had me thinking that I was taking a big step of faith.  Then I saw it.  It was like a beacon to me.  A lighthouse shining its light, showing me the way to safety.  “Flavored with bacon”.  I abandoned any faith-stepping, and went out on sight there.  If it’s flavored with bacon, then I’ve just been armed with all the info I need pertaining to its eligibility for edibility.

In our daily walks with the Lord, isn’t that what we do a lot of the time?  Don’t we abandon our faith and trust in God and give in to making sure we “see” what we’re doing?  It requires a great deal of faith to accept Christ as your Savior.  The world at large doesn’t understand this commitment we make to Him, which is unfortunate, but true.  We have to go out on a limb, spiritually speaking, when we ask Him to save us from our sins.  That’s just where the faith journey begins, though!

Go back to the eating analogy (which I’m entitled to do as a Baptist!)  we don’t just eat once in our lives, and then abandon it do we?  I hope not!  We keep on eating… and eating… and- you get the point.  In our Christian lives, we don’t just accept Him in a bold move of faith and leave it at that.  We keep on practicing (or should) that same boldness and that same faith day in and day out.  If we have to test out our spiritual faith food by giving it the visual OK first, we’re missing the point.  2 Corinthians 5:7 tell us that we are to “live by faith, not by sight.”  In those things that God is trying to get us to do, we shouldn’t wait to see the label and see that it’s “flavored in bacon”.  It could be, and it could not be– but if it’s God’s will for us, then we’re a lot better off accepting it!

Oh, by the way- the corn chowder was delicious (and I could hardly taste the bacon–see where that got me?!)

Until next time.