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Radical Grace/The Lutheran Difference

Nov 25, 2009

The difference between the definitions of the word "faith" that many churches and church bodies have adopted are extremely subtle.  On the one hand, many people take faith as "being optimistic", having a good attitude and such.  I remember years ago I had one of my first bosses tell me "attitude is everything", and he pretty much expected his employees to live and work by that advice.  Being young, in my very early twenties, I had no idea that life would come along and dash that advice to pieces.  Failure often comes even when we sincerely believe we'll succeed.

I recently looked at an article on Wikipedia on Fear, and there was some interesting information listed there.  The single most surprising thing I found was that teenagers these days fear, in order of most important, the following things:  terrorist attacks, spiders, death, being a failure...  being a failure?  They actually fear failure!  It's second only to death, and if we could examine the raw data I'm sure we would find that it's actually second on the list, since fear of terrorism would include fear of death, and perhaps spiders would fit that category as well.  The fear of failure is rampant in our culture, and it's likely that this fear drives nearly everything we do.  There are people who never try to succeed at anything because of fear of failure.  There are people who are overachievers because if they fail at one thing, it's not so bad because they are so successful at other things. 

And in this, we look for advice, life coaches, programs, self help books, anything that will help us with this drive to succeed and fear of failure.  But this simply isn't what our Christian faith is about.  In fact, our Christian faith tells us we are worse than failures.  We're sinners who have offended a just and holy God, who created us in His image, and because He freely chose to love us rather than destroy us, has accomplished in Jesus Christ everything we need.

Everything, people.