This past Sunday, Alex Whitaker preached a terrific sermon on faith. In it, he reminded us of the common evangelical problem in defining faith: the tendency to rely on “belief” only, and not include obedience/deeds (James 2:14-24). This ignited some curiosity on my part, informed by (of course) therapy perspectives.
In therapy, when we make psychological assessments with new clients, we typically cover a “Bio/Psycho/Social/Spiritual” protocol–we want to be thinking about how the client is doing in these contexts. Part of that psychological piece is what I remember as “CAB”, that is, Cognition, Affect, and Behavior observations of the client.
Might we engage faith more fully by being mindful of these three? Take a look:
Cognition–Reason is on the side of Faith, not against it! It is reasonable to be a faithful person: God’s promises are clear and explicit, and God has proven, over and over again, His faithfulness. Employing Reason can change our faith.
Affect–our feelings really matter. We often say, “feelings flow from actions,” and this can be true, but often actions flow from feelings too. (When we’re inspired, we tend to take action). Feelings are always telling us something; they are crucial information about the inner parts of our hearts. When we face our fear, confess it rather than hide it, New Faith is possible. When we feel dull, engaging Compassion for others can almost transcend Fear–as one writer put it, we may not so much need “more faith” as we need “more love.” When we feel doubt, Faith is right there in the shadows, reminding us that certainty is never automatic. In fact, as Kierkegaard once noted, Faith is impossible without Doubt; in other words, where there is mathematical Certainty, faith is not necessary. Employing our feelings mindfully can change our faith.
Behavior–here, not only James 2 comes to mind, but also John 7:17–“If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” Trying matters. Small steps matter. When Peter stepped out upon the lake, he was, in a sense, “performing his faith.” Doubt was there too, yes, and so was Jesus to catch him. But I am convinced Peter’s faith was irrevocably changed that day by the attempt to walk on water towards Jesus.
How, then, is your CAB faith? Enjoy the rest of the fall.