~ This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Peter DeWitt. You can hear the whole sermon, The Process of Faith, from Agathos Church – a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio by clicking here.
Often we leave many theological concepts in something of a “black box” – we know there is a process that goes on inside that box, but we do not have much insight into what is happening “behind the scenes” and therefore we are not able to self-correct when we don’t experience the results we are looking for. When I used to pitch, I had pitching lessons and I knew if I threw high and tight to a right-handed batter, my pitching arm had lagged behind the rest of my motion. At that point I knew one of two things had caused that: either I simply had a lazy pitching arm that I did not fully accelerate into the throw, or I had come out of my leg kick and into my stride too early for my arm. A rushed stride led to a lagging arm which led to a high and tight pitch.
This is what I call a theory or model . . . when you can say A + B = C. Knowing the moving pieces in any process leads to understanding. And understanding leads to CONSISTENT results because understanding lets you know how to repeat success or change failure. If you don’t have a theory, your results are only evaluative. If you have a theory, results become feedback. Evaluation is a value judgment and generally leads most people to clam up if given in isolation over a prolonged period. Feedback always carries with it action items. Action items carry with them hope. And hope is motivating. Feedback gets us back in the game. Feedback gets us trying again – and perhaps even trying new things.
Without understanding our results are senseless and we are left to either begin another aimless search for success or give up because we’ve become discouraged. So it is my hope to begin to isolate some of the elements of the process of faith so that your efforts in faith can become points of feedback instead of mere evaluative events.
We must not be content with theology. Knowledge is for action. Jesus taught to equip. Faith is not just a concept – it is THE assurance of things hoped for. Let’s dig in to how to OPERATE in faith!