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Wednesday, March 27, 2019. Sometimes people think that faith is a matter of belief. It is about an opinion or conviction. And yes, what I believe with my complete life is very important here. But belief is just my attitude towards something or someone. If my belief is not based on facts, the story would be different. I can believe that someone has brown hair, but if he is blonde my belief is not linked to reality.
Not based on nice Words …
In his first letter to the Korinthians, the apostle Paul insists that the way he presents the gospel is not important. His own strength is not important. It is even not the most important that we have all the arguments sorted out completely. But what is important? Let us listen:
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers,1 did not come proclaiming to you the testimony2 of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (from 1 Kor 2)
Faith should be based on the power of God. It is the power of the holy spirit. It is his work, he is the one who brings people to Christ!
… but on God's Power …
You can discuss this on many layers, looking at you personally, your own search and your path of faith. We could also discuss activities in the Christian church and communities. What is our focus? What are we struggling with? Is our faith based on the power of Christ? Or are we basically trying to follow some particular image of a realization of what we think a life full of faith should look like?
Paul said he came in weakness and fear, with much trembling. He said he did not speak in plausible words. We could, of course, ask why someone who was with Christ in such an exceptional way still was full of fear. You could use biblical words to tell him that there is no fear in love. But that is not the point of Paul here. He wants to clarify completely that faith comes through the holy spirit, through the power of God!
We should not look necessarily think of particular miracles here, but when Paul talks about the power of God, he mainly refers to the work of the holy spirit in humans. The spirit shows to us our own life, our sin, our struggle, our desires, our hopes and dreams. The spirit enables us to clearly see the difficulties deep within our own life. It is a power of knowledge and wisdom which comes from the purity and clarity and wisdom of God himself. And the spirit looks at all of this with the mercy and love Christ. He does not have to condemn us - since we are reconciled through the crucifiction of Christ. Instead, he wants to heal us and offers himself as a companion and guide, the ultimate lover. (Roland Potthast) ... further texts