We can’t do it by ourselves

The prophet Isaiah talked of God as “a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.”
We are in reality dependant on God in every need and situation. There is no way we can earn grace or mercy. And no way we can control destiny by “helping ourselves”.

Sociologists state that fear of unknown powers, mysterious events, hunger and especially eventual death are natural horrors to man.

There is much fear of random violence, nuclear war and road rage. And psychologists have coined a word – AtmosFear – to describe the widely held belief the world’s supply of good food, water and air is about to run out.

Collectively, we are afraid of almost everything. Instead of natural harmony, we see disorder, chaos and extinction.

Religion has often not been the antidote to fear. Indeed, some religions have consciously and unconsciously, verbally and non-verbally, taught fear of damnation, fear of nature (particularly our own), fear of our bodies, fear of others and fear of the world.

Religions built on fear must keep preaching their fears to survive. They do injustice to the mystery of faith.
Fear has driven many to seek solace in ridiculous pseudo-sciences. Nervously clutching crystals and consulting horoscopes, they slide back into superstition and, sadly, greater fear.

It is hard to learn wisdom when you lack a basic trust in a loving creator. It should not be this way.

It is a matter of realizing our own inadequacy and the importance of being healed to regain faith. This reconciliation ought to be a function of religion.

Pistuein, the original Greek word most often used in the New Testament to convey “faith”, also means “trust”.
Jesus said faith, or trust, had the power to heal the sick; even to move mountains. But we can’t do it by ourselves.

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5 thoughts on “We can’t do it by ourselves

  1. Religions built on fear must keep preaching their fears to survive. They do injustice to the mystery of faith.

    Preach the truth and people will come. Move away from the truth and no amount of guitar playing, singing, hand clapping and McDonalds will bring people back.

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  2. Life is complex, we all have different needs, and different things are expected of us. God gave each of us a brain. We are meant to use it. We can see danger ahead for ourselves or others, and avoid it, or let go and let God deal with it. The tricky bit is accepting when it’s too hard, and then surrendering the problem to God.

    When it’s not too hard, surely we’re expected to pull our weight as God’s servants, knowing that whenever we need respite God is there, “a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.”

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    • (This is not connected with the current thread. So hoping that Lee catches this.)

      G’day Lee,
      Thanks, I read your commentary on Christianity and salvation, for which I thank you.
      I am left with some degree of bemusement. On one hand you make so many definite and final statements about the essential nature of Christian conversion and commitment, and at the same time you express yourself as not knowing all of the God’s requirements. I refer to the age of infants and Catholics prior to the Reformation and so on.

      Since there are a number of apparent exceptions to the rule of God’s demand, I am led to wonder if there are not still more qualifications in the matter that you haven’t thought of. Which of us really knows just what variations might enable passing of scrutiny at the hypothetical Last Judgement?

      Looking at the Gospels, I see a number of people helped by Jesus for healing etc, but who were not evangelised by him in the process, the Roman Centurion, the Syrophenician woman and others. Even the Roman official described as watching the Crucifixion is not to be automatically taken as being converted at the time. His reported words ‘Surely this was Son of God’ is not really to be taken as anything extraordinary. The idea that there were ‘Sons of God’ in the world in human form was held by many pagans then. If the incident is true, and if he really said it, then the good soldier might have been an initiated member of the Mithras devotees.

      One wonders too about the practical advisability of seeking to preach the Gospel among the heathen. I recall a famous story quoted by Don Cupitt in his little book “The Debate about Christ”. The case apparently happened a hundred years or more ago, when the Scottish General Assembly ‘decided not to send out missionaries to the heathen because hearing the gospel would, if they rejected it, have the unfortunate effect of reducing their chances of salvation’. As I said before, the very surest way to guarantee a person’s salvation would be to murder him while still a baby, and in the process, sacrifice oneself of course.

      Cheers, Rian.

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