March 12, 2010

Love As Action II: Sitting in Chairs

I am sitting in this chair as I type because I trust it. I believe that this chair will continue to support me and keep my off the floor for as long as I remain in it. If you asked me if I believe that the chair would keep me off the floor, I would say yes, I do. This would be evidenced by the fact that I would, at some future point, proceed to sit upon the chair.

What if I never sat in the chair after that? You might become suspicious of my earlier stated conviction about the chair. You might ask me, and rightfully so, if I actually believe that the chair would hold me. I had essentially professed a belief in in the consequence of an action of mine, an if-then statement: if I sit down in the chair, then it will hold me off the ground. My verbal statement of belief, which isn't physical, is directly connected to tangible reality: my actions.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? [...]

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

-James 2:14-19

If we are not willing to wake up in the morning and die to ourselves, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether or not we are really following Jesus.

-Quoted from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

I claim to believe in chairs, gravity, and the sturdiness of wood. Therefore, I sit in chairs.

I claim to believe in Jesus as the Son of God, as completely God and completely man, as the savior of broken people, as my personal, all-powerful savior. I don't always sit in that chair, so to speak. By God's grace I've learned the importance of loving Him; but I can't claim that every little action I take is motivated by the desire to love God and love other people with His love. I want it to be that way though; yes, it's an "ideal," but half the time someone tries to comfort me with that it's because they don't see the purpose in trying.

When I do fall short, I must not wallow in shame and guilt; there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," because He has set us free from the law (Romans 8:1-2). However, I shouldn't abuse grace and use that as an excuse to become lazy and idle in my pursuit of Him (Romans 6:15-18); that would be manipulative of God, and trust me, He'd know.

When I claim to be a God follower, a Jesus freak, it follows that I am saying I want to live like Jesus. I say I believe this with no reservations, and I don't want to shy away from it because I believe that the brokenness of the world, God, Jesus, and His desire for people to come to Him and His love are objective truths. It's easy enough to write bold things like that as I sit here in an empty house, but my desire is to live that out with my daily life, with each of my actions, so that God's love might be shown. I'm not perfect, but God knows that. He knew that before I did, and planned well in advance for that... in fact, it's an integral part of His plan. So is your imperfection. Since He's the one I'm relying on, I don't have to worry about Him not coming through for me.

I trust in the chair beneath me, but only for temporary resistance to gravity. I trust in the God above me, for salvation and provision in this live. The chair's made of wood; while sturdy, I don't think it could handle all my shortcomings if they physicalized themselves suddenly. But I'm still trusting the chair enough to sit in it. God's a lot more than wood, and I'm learning to trust him with a lot more than just keeping my butt off of the ground.


  1. amen, Zach ~ the good news is that He doesn't just keep our butts off the ground, but He lifts our faces to His ~ Hallelujah! And He makes our feet like hinds' feet...we just have to learn to use them that, dependence, moment by moment faith in His refereeing and our heart's transformation which renews our minds to be more and more reacting like Him. Praise GOD that He is faithful to complete this as we are helpless to even begin without His grace ~

  2. Zach, I just found your blog, and I am psyched! I'm really encouraged to find someone else who considers the Word of God worth investigating. I'm also convicted and challenged by the inclusion of scripture passages in your post- I am willing to admit my own postings fall short in that area!

    On the topic of this posting, I agree with you emphatically! And *wow* did I need that reminder today. Depending on God, and "using" in my life when its convenient and necessary isn't what I am called to do. Becoming a Christian (in ASL, it is translated "Jesus Person") means that I become dependent on God for everything. He is the magnet that point my compass north, and His word is the needle I use to discern His direction! Everything about what I do and who I am depends on Him.

    That's what makes living here possible :)