with Bob Condly
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September 2016

What to Do When Your Faith No Longer Fits

(https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/shrinknp_400_400/p/2/005/0ad/284/2aa36ce.jpg)
(https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/shrinknp_400_400/p/2/005/0ad/284/2aa36ce.jpg)

Do you feel like you’ve outgrown your faith? Maybe you have. Perhaps you have attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives that no longer fit you or your place in the world and in God’s kingdom. The Lord hasn’t changed, but you have. And that worries you.

Unlike the rote answers you used to churn out to routine questions, the ideas you now contemplate don’t align with you’ve been taught about the Bible.

Maybe you should back off. After all, John warns that “anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” There’s safety in staying put.

But how can you settle when your heart wants to explore? What if the problem here lies not with the gospel, but with your narrow interpretation of it? Viewpoints that served you well no longer do. It’s time to let them go so you can receive the fullness of what Christ wants for you.

You can’t wear your favorite childhood clothing forever. When I was a kid, I used to own a green New York Jets jacket with white vinyl sleeves. I loved its bright colors and wore it as often as the weather permitted, but to my dismay, I outgrew the jacket.

Adult clothing doesn’t last, either. When I was a freshman in college, I bought a t-shirt at a Phil Keaggy concert. A simple, black memento, its clean design (the name Phil Keaggy juxtaposed beside an image of half an acoustic guitar) attracted attention. I was so proud of that shirt! Determined to keep it a lifetime, I held onto it until the fabric got holes in it and I had to throw it out!

Some Christians treat their faith like old clothing. They value it until they discover they’ve outgrown it.

Yet faith isn’t static; it’s supposed to develop. Paul says that “when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

So continue to build up your faith in God. Take your issues, challenges, and questions to Jesus. Learn to deal with the problems and joys of life with the Lord, not by yourself.

His Word will help you. As Paul urges, “as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

You’ve begun your journey with the Spirit; now continue with Him. Don’t pitch the Bible; keep it. You haven’t outgrown God’s Word. There’s more there, a lot more!

White Space

(http://www.unionroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/whitespace.jpg)
(http://www.unionroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/whitespace.jpg)

Designers stress white space in every communicative medium they fashion. From blogs to billboards to books–the more white space, the better.

Which would you rather read (assuming you know Latin, of course)?

(http://milq.github.io/white-space/white-space.png)
(http://milq.github.io/white-space/white-space.png)

To render your thoughts and intentions readable, emphasize white space.

The more white space you have, the more everything within it gets noticed.

Hard to miss him!

(http://cdn.playbuzz.com/cdn/d97d969f-99d3-4dde-8ca7-5120a70506d8/69b7d1a3-5ffa-4b37-8976-9aa5b25f3549.png)
(http://cdn.playbuzz.com/cdn/d97d969f-99d3-4dde-8ca7-5120a70506d8/69b7d1a3-5ffa-4b37-8976-9aa5b25f3549.png)

How about this one?

 

whitespace-question-markThe question mark symbolizes the soul. It’s you.

  • Your desires–Can I have that?
  • Your confusion–Now what do I do?
  • Your searching–What’s a better way?

When you inquire, you may feel lonely. Everyone else appears certain, so you swallow your doubts and your what ifs. You’re all by yourself.

(https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAkxAAAAJDE2YTJjMWNiLWYwNzUtNDdlYi04NjZiLTY3MDU5MzY2YmNlMA.jpg)
(https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAkxAAAAJDE2YTJjMWNiLWYwNzUtNDdlYi04NjZiLTY3MDU5MzY2YmNlMA.jpg)

But you’re surrounded. By white space.

What does white space represent? God Himself! “For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

So enjoy white space. Relax in His presence.

But, you may reply, “I need more! I need letters and numbers. Even punctuation! How else can I communicate?”

I agree. Appreciating white space is good, but you must also associate with other characters.

Discover your life in God but share it. Bless people.

whitespace-this-is-church

Live in such a way that people can read your life and learn from it. Don’t crowd out the white space; the more you have, the easier it is for people to comprehend your purpose. More of Jesus and less of you: “He must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Diminish but don’t disappear. May others see enough of you to read the will of God. “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).

Capitalize on contrast. Dark characters look great against a light background. You’re not God and you don’t have to be. You just have to be the person God intended. Set within the Spirit, you’ll be visible and you’ll communicate.

White space doesn’t look like much; in fact, it looks like nothing. But the intended beauty, simplicity, and comprehension of design falter without it.

We need the Lord, even if we can’t see Him. So take courage. “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).

with Bob Condly

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