Because I am so bad at blogging (at very least, infrequent), I decided to post this short excerpt from Robert Wilken’s “The Spirit of Early Christian Thought” which challenged me today. Is my faith in Christ marked by love and hope? If not, is it truly faith in Christ?
“Believing in God, says Augustine, does not only mean one believes that something is the case, but that one loves God: ‘By believing we love him, by believing we esteem God, by believing we enter into him and are incorporated in his members. This is why God asks faith of us.’ Faith throws open the door that leads to the knowledge of God.
‘It makes a great deal of difference,’ said Augustine in one of his sermons, ‘whether someone believes that Jesus is the Christ, or whether he believes in Christ. After all, that he is the Christ even the demons believed, but all the same the demons didn’t believe in Christ. You believe in Christ, you see, when you both hope in Christ and love Christ. If you have faith without hope and without love, you believe that he is the Christ, but you don’t believe in Christ. So when you believe in Christ, by your believing in Christ, Christ comes into you, and you are somehow or other united to him and made into a member of his body. And this cannot happen unless hope and love come along too.'”
The object in whom (or which) I put my faith is undoubtedly connected to the effectiveness of that faith. True faith, when placed on Christ, the source of transformation, should result in Christ-like qualities being realized in my own life, such as hope and love. When I actually look at myself, the state of my heart and mind, I have to ask, where have I put my faith? Admittedly, I am lacking hope and love, not just in some ‘we can always have more’ sort of way, but really, my hope seems fickle and my love, shallow and deficient.
I must return to true, wholehearted belief in Christ, uniting with him, esteeming him, and loving him above all else. In him alone are life, joy, hope, and love, of which I am so desperately in need.