The Kinetic Faith of a "Proverbs 16 Christian"
Science never was my subject growing up. Perhaps, some of you can relate. However, one thing I do remember from those textbooks full of 52-letter words is the part about potential and kinetic energy. I say I remember them, though I'll admit, I googled them just make sure I was correct before writing this post. Potential energy is energy stored within a substance, waiting to be released, such as a coiled spring. Kinetic, on the other hand, is active energy, found often in detonated atomic bombs or small children.
In regards to our faith, we often live with a potential faith instead of a kinetic faith. Misguided by cultural expectations or perhaps just ignorant of what Jesus asks of His disciples, people store faith away as an intellectual pursuit, never realizing it as an active lifestyle.
We should take ownership of our faith because faith, like life, must be kinetic to grow and move forward.
Let me illustrate this with a topic very near and dear to my heart: working out. I hate working out. Nothing about it excites me and I am easily persuaded to suddenly be "busy" during my scheduled workouts. I realize that there is some mystical end goal to going to the gym but due to my obsessive need to see results, I have a hard time not giving up a week or two in.
If you're like me, you'll relate, if not, play along.
Imagine that you've just had your mind blown by a ripped man in a tank top and gym shorts.
"You'll gain ten pounds of muscle in thirty days and you'll feel like you can conquer the world".
"Yes, YES! That's exactly what I need."
"Excellent, please fill out this form, sir."
You've just signed your Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and those delicious cheeseburgers away. But no worries, you're going to get ripped!
Monday morning comes around and you wake up to your cell phone buzzing on the night stand.
"WHERE ARE YOU SOLDIER? YOUR SORRY BUTT SHOULD HAVE BEEN AT THE GYM TEN MINUTES AGO!"
"....pFfftTTttfjWHAT?? What do you mean? I actually have to come into the gym?"
How preposterous does that sound? No one believes that your trainer can get you ripped without a little effort on your part. Likewise, God is not going to magically turn you into SuperChristian just because recited a prayer on Sunday. Faith is kinetic.
Proverbs 16 takes our potential faith and lights the fuse.
The common misconception is that, "the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say" (Luke 12:12) without any preparation on your part. Sure, the Holy Spirit will give us the words to speak but this isn't a horror film. He isn't taking control of our bodies, glossing over our eyes and speaking through us in an unnatural James Earl Jones voice. He uses the Scripture, knowledge and wisdom which we have filled our mind and heart with, recalling it to our memory so that we might speak what He would have us to speak. 1 Peter 3:15 says, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;" Being ready constitutes training, practice, and preparation. You have to get out of bed and go to the Spiritual gym!
Prepare your heart.
Now this one is cool. At first, when I read this verse I thought it was backwards. Shouldn't we commit our heart to the Lord and our works will be established? God, instead, asks us to commit our work to Him and our plans will be established. After considering it further I realized it's a cycle!
In our hearts, we commit our work to the Lord -> In our dedication and pursuit of His will, our desires align with His -> Which establishes our plans -> Which guides our work in glorifying God (which we committed to Him in the first place thus completing the cycle)
But notice that the whole cycle begins with an active choice on our part to dedicate our works to Him. Many passive Christians assume that if they continue in a lifestyle of sin after accepting Jesus as their Lord, that God hasn't begun His transforming work in them yet or that they were never really saved, when it's quite the opposite way around. We must first commit ourselves to His ways and only then will He begin His work in us.
Commit your work to the Lord.
Out of this chapter, verse 9 might be my favorite because it doesn't leave room for the slackers. How many of us at one point or another have said, "Man, I just don't know what God's will for my life is" or "I'm just waiting on God's will." Truthfully, we may have not known what God's will was for our lives but it isn't for lack of being told. I bet you that we heard/read His will and it just wasn't what we were expecting. As a result, we begin using these ignorant phrases as justification for inaction. We justify our potential faith remaining potential and never being released to do great things.
So what is His will? God is saying, "Look at your heart. I have equipped you with a unique personality, an aptitude for a talent or skill, and the fields are ripe for the harvest." He's asking us to do something with what He has given us so that His name might be glorified and His kingdom might be multiplied. That is His will.
We must, therefore, plan our way in our kinetic pursuit of Jesus and He will establish our steps along our path. You may be tied up deciding between three really great life paths that all glorify God. Just pick one. You can change direction later if you feel led to. But don't be a static Christian. Turn this world upside down (Acts 17:6).
Plan your way.
The kinetic Christian doesn't just talk about being kinetic. They have the successes, the failures, the battle wounds and the T-shirts to prove it. They don't see the Word of God as an instruction manual as it is often called. Instruction manuals are boring, man. Instead, they see the Word of God as just that, a Word from God. We should be hanging on every jot and tiddle, anxious to hear more from the Creator of the Universe. Kinetic Christians are the people who create something with what God has given them whether that is a relationship or a handmade wooden rocking-chair or an apple pie and they bless others through it. They take ownership of their faith and have no choice but to realize their faith in action.