My cousins and I all used to attend daycare at my grandma's house. On one side of her yard, halfway between the sidewalk and the front corner of the house, there was a large evergreen tree. This tree was always a point of enjoyment for us: sometimes we climbed it, sometimes we chased squirrels around it, and sometimes we had pinecone wars when the tree dropped them all to the ground. But one of the clearest memories for me is when we made it into our own little clubhouse.
The tree had some very lush branches at the base, and therefore the heavy branches formed an igloo shaped hideout as they arched to the ground from the weight. It wasn't much, but it was secluded and we had imaginations. The first thing we did was mark the tree trunk with chalk. All we did was put an "X" on the trunk at eye level, but it was our mark, claiming the tree as our own. Our second order of business, of course, was to write "No Girls Allowed" underneath the "X" (what can you expect from a club of boys?).
It's the bane of Twitter and Instagram. People, generally white girls if I'm being completely honest, use this hashtag for pretty much anything they enjoy.
"Just got a new pair of Ugg boots! #blessed"
"My boyfriend made me breakfast this morning. Isn't he amazing? #blessed"
"Oh my gosh, I just got a free fat free skim latte at Starbucks. #blessed #free #awesome #soblessed #lovecoffee #coffeeaddict"
Okay, enough with the sterotypes. My point is, we use the term "blessed" for so many things these days, it's difficult to get to the correct meaning. Does it just mean good things will happen to you? Does it just get used when you're happy? If you use Twitter as your standard of information (don't do that) then yes, you probably think that's how the word should be used. But there is a difference between a blessing and #blessed.
This post will be short, and not just because I don't feel like writing a book today (I don't). But I think that Hebrews 11 says more than I can about the topic I've chosen to write on today. If you've read Hebrews, or if you've been following my posts and read what I wrote previously, you know that I talk about faith as something that is done, not felt or thought about. So I'm going to simply ask you to read Hebrews 11, and think of one simple thing: how can you act in faith today?
This is a difficult thing to do. I'm constantly struggling with following and trusting God. Sometimes I act out of anger, fear, or mistrust. But God calls us to act in faith. Not simply reside in faith, nor think about it. Each example in Hebrews 11 shows someone doing something because God Called them to do it. God is calling you today. Are you listening? How can you act in faith?
I love the mountains. To me, they represent beauty and solitude, strength and peace. As an introvert, I approve. Anytime I see pictures of the Colorado landscape (I still haven't been there), I catch myself staring in awe. I've been to Austria and Switzerland, though, so I have been able to view the quiet beauty of mountains in person. The picture to the left is actually from my trip to Europe in high school.
I took a walk early in the morning to have some peace and quiet to myself, before the small town we were staying in woke up. I hiked a few small trails, and came across an outlook that gave me a gorgeous view of the sunrise over the mountainscape. It was breathtaking.
At times like that, I can help but feel joyous. My stomach flutters, and my heart races as endorphines rush through me, kick started by such a magnificent scene. It's strange to me that something so huge, so beautiful, had to be formed from something so destructive and ugly.
There are certain people who believe that once you become a Christian, it doesn't matter what you do because you're saved. For these people, even if you fall from faith, you'll end up in heaven because at one point in time you had faith. This is a dangerous road to travel on, and not very biblical.
We do nothing for our faith. That much is very clear. Faith is a gift from God, just as salvation itself is a gift from God. When you receive a gift, you don't get to choose when and how you get it. You don't do anything to get it at all. The act is completely foreign from you, initiated by the gift giver.
However, it is possible to reject a gift, and this is what the author of Hebrews warns us against in chapter 10.