Talking with a friend this week, we found we shared a gap between our formal and lived theologies. We believe that God saved us because of his generosity and grace. Formal. But we both worry that we'll mess it all up. Lived.
This is a real problem.
It doesn't matter how Reformed my theology is. My fear of failing refuses to fade. The link between failing and rejection is burned so deeply across my heart. My lived theology screams doubt about God's generosity and grace.
And try though I might, I can't correct this lived theology by hammering away on my formal theology. But isn't this is what we all do?
We memorize Scripture and listen to sermons and whittle and wax our formal theology until it's so sharp and so focused it's only useful as a weapon. We turn this weapon on others, jabbing indiscriminately with our bright-edged theology until mission and abundant life collapse along with our allies.
And then we turn on ourselves.
But what if we found another way to get at our lived theology?
If God is truly free to be faithful, even when we're faithless ... then perhaps the way we correct our lived theology is through better lived theology.
I'm trying that this month ... I'm laying practices of intimate lived theology alongside my fearful lived theology. Prayer and journaling. Broad Bible reading. Risk and communion. (Practices mentioned a "Help for application" post years ago.)
There's something incongrous ... paradoxical ... about laying these elements of an intimate lived theology alongside my fear. My instincts tell me to focus on my fear, root it out directly, make room for prayer by "believing the gospel more," as if one can only come before the other. Starving the fear feels too slow.
But it's working for me. Today, at least.
What do you do when you fear your lack of faith will nullify God's faithfulness?