I have three interrelated dimensions to my faith:
- Inward: My personal convictions and beliefs.
- Upward: How I relate to the God I believe in – prayer, church, reading my Bible…
- Outward: How my faith affects my daily life – the sort of person I am, the things I do.
Integrity requires both a consistency between these three dimensions and an honesty in doubt, inadequacies and insecurities…
We watched ‘Songs of Praise’ yesterday. Aled Jones (50 next month!) talked about his life from Welsh choirboy to singer and TV presenter and his faith journey.
He described his third dimension, the outworking of his faith, in his latest project: recording an album with people and music from different faiths, collaborating with Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus…
I smiled, imagining the reactions of some of my friends:
- ‘I’m delighted that he can share his faith and music with those who think differently.’
- ‘He’s compromising his faith and principles. I don’t understand how a Christian can do this.’
- ‘Aled who? So what?’
- ‘I’m a Christian. I’ve got Bible verses to prove I’m right…’
Musing on 2 Thessalonians 1:
People(1): This was a letter from people to people. We need to live people-centred lives. It’s not about stuff or me. It’s about the people around us.
Peace(2): Paul’s prayer was for their peace. In times of so much mental ill-health – fear, anxiety, depression – we need to seek and live peace.
Pleasure(3): Paul enjoyed people – observing and appreciating their faith; seeing and grateful for their growing love. We need to enjoy, appreciate and be grateful for others.
Patience, perseverance, persistence(4): The Thessalonian Christians kept going through tough times. A number of people have said, ‘I’m just fed up with this coronavirus.’ Others have talked about ‘compassion fatigue’. We need Thessalonian perseverance.
Paul encourages Thessalonians, Aled and us to live life in the third dimension – with a faith that affects our daily life.