“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” – Paul

My faith is a dirty thing.
I have fought and rolled around with her (it’s definitely a she in my life) in the back alleys of my sanctification. With every punch I have thrown, she has thrown a stronger one back. There are moments where we sit as best friends understanding absolutely everything about each other and reading each others every thought.
Then there are moments where nothing about her makes sense to me and she looks at me with pity.
Then we fight again.

I hear people talk about their relationship with God like they bought it at a Build A Bear Workshop at the mall.
If you haven’t been into one of those places…
a) because you don’t have kids or
b) because you are not a sketchy single guy…
…then you have to just trust me.
You walk in, pick the bear you want, take its outsides, find clothes you want to dress it in, then you pick out a heart.
You pick it out and they stick it inside the bear.
Then they stick that a tube into the back of that badboy i pump it full of stuffing.
In about 30 seconds your bear is as cute as Teddy Ruxspin in his heyday.
You name your bear, get a birth certificate, and walk out with a new soul.
Or at least your bear does.
This seems eerily similar to the way I hear many talk about their faith process.

Then I go home, sit on my back porch, drink half a bottle of wine, stare up at the giant oak tree wrapping her branches over me, and scream curses past her at the midnight sky because I don’t get it.
Then we start fighting.
Me and Faith.
And we wrestle, and we shout, and we cry, then she holds me, until I finish throwing my fit, and tells me that this is my way.
That the dirty, confusion and complication of my faith is where I will keep finding Jesus.
The fact that when I hear a sermon, I don’t trust it until I take it home and dance with it in the pages of God’s Word.
And then I end up either saying “Man that pastor got it, or man I need to call that pastor and tell them that the little box and bow they wrapped up that scripture in is like sticking a land mine into a Easter basket.

Right now I know a few things.
1. I love Jesus, the Christ with a fuel and passion like I have not in years.
2. I dislike with a passion the product we have turned Him into that it actually creates a tension in many of my current “Christian” relationships.
3. Everything I once believed about my Faith is being questioned right now, and so we continue to throw punches in the back alley and I actually am winning some of the fights. And that is ok.

Ragamuffins…If you are in a season of dancing a waltz with your Faith, then enjoy the rhythm of the movements of that dance.
But when you look up from the dance and realized that the ballroom lights are gone and your hand is no longer around the waist of Faith, but around her neck, don’t panic.

With fear and trembling…