Snow falls insulate the world, creating a quiet we do not experience at other times. This picture, taken from our front porch around 7 AM Sunday, captures the pristine beauty of the sun coming over our woods. Since the thermometer registered 16 degrees, Dave took the picture. The photo, however, cannot convey the haunting sounds of the wind chimes as the breeze keeps them in almost constant motion. Something about snow slows me down, causes me to listen more carefully. That’s probably good since the sermon series currently deals with a biblical look at many psychological tags used in our culture. The series, entitled “Battling Unbelief,” has, thus far, looked at the scriptural side of anxiety, pride and shame. Although these are valid emotions, Americans are often too quick to proclaim an “it’s-not-my-fault” position without seeking a biblical lens. When did we let psychology access the soul without any consultation with the Great Physician?
Far too long Christians have defined belief as merely a cerebral agreement with facts. Our pastor says that belief is “mainly an appetite in the heart which fastens on Jesus for satisfaction.” If we don’t fasten on Jesus, we manufacture idols that quickly own us. Our unbelief occurs when we turn away from Jesus to find satisfaction somewhere else or in someone else. In the case of anxiety, I may be my own worst enemy. Have I gotten myself in over my head financially, emotionally, or with commitments outside my home or at the office? Then the cause of my anxiety lies within my grasp to change. Ah, but to lower my anxiety, I may have to admit my shortcomings. That snowballs headlong into my pride. When I can’t perform all the things I promised to do, I experience a sense of shame. Can you see why this sermon series has my attention? The root I have to examine is not a psychological one, but rather, an examination that tests the depth of my appetite for God. I often find the fight for humility is the fight of faith. The apostle Paul reminds me to “fight the good fight,” so I will continue to use these snowy. blustery days to meditate on battling unbelief: anxiety, pride, and shame.