Tidbits and Blessings Blog
by Jeanie Malone
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This spring, two of our home’s window ledges became nesting spots for a couple of house wren families. The inhabitation of the wrens comes with much noise. While their song can be beautiful, it is annoying when sung repeatedly at a frenzied pace.
One of the nests just happens to be at our bedroom window where we awaken to the chattering of these wrens before the sun is up. While researching house wrens, I learned that it is against state and federal law to move their nest during their nesting, mating, and egg season. We cannot move the nests until after the baby birds leave.
To add to my mixed feelings about these window dwellers, I learned that they often destroy the eggs and nests of other native birds I love to have in our yard, such as the Eastern bluebird. The wrens aren’t acting out of malice because they don’t have the ability to reason. They are simply acting on instinct.
This reminds me that only humans possess reason. Only humans can look at the evidence and use reason and rationale to make decisions. All other species act solely out of instinct.
God blessed humans to have dominion over all other species on earth. He gave us souls and a measure of faith. The faith He gives each person enables us to use reason.
Sometimes we think of faith as blind, but on the contrary, it is in conjunction with reason; therefore, it is not blind but employs reason to evaluate evidence and then choose what to believe. Millard J. Erickson states in Christian Theology, “Faith, once engaged in, enables us to reason and to recognize various supporting evidences. This means that faith is a form of knowledge; it works in concert with, not against, reason” (871).
It seems the two sides of faith are the ability to believe as one gift from God, and the choice to believe or dismiss, another gift from God to use our ability to reason. He gives us the ability to believe using the faith He gives us. He also gives us the choice to believe or not.
God gives us all a measure of faith to believe and have a personal conviction, but how we respond to that inborn faith is our choice. The God who created us all uniquely in His love knows that we are different in our ways of thinking and our context. The God who created us considers our context, giving us the evidence we need to act on the faith He gave us.
Remember Thomas, the disciple who wasn’t present with the others when the resurrected Jesus appeared and showed them his hands and his side. Thomas had the same measure of faith as the other disciples but needed to personally experience the evidence to believe. Eight days after stating his need for further personal experience as evidence, Thomas was with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them and invited Thomas to verify the truth by the evidence he sought.
We are told that Jesus did many more miracles than this after his resurrection, but this is told for the historical record that we might believe also (John 20). Though Thomas seemed to already have the evidence he needed to believe, his request for more evidence through personal experience was given by Jesus.
Not only do we have the persuasion by God necessary to place our faith and personal trust, but we are also given any further evidence we need to make our faith active. The end choice, however, is up to us.
Think about Judas Iscariot who also had what he needed to believe, having witnessed Jesus’ miracles and more for over three years. He had a soul, the measure of faith, the ability to reason, and the ability to choose, yet he chose wrong. Judas sought to betray Jesus; he had a choice. He guided his thinking with pride, desire, greed, and jealousy instead of by reason and faith. After recognizing more fully the ramifications to come of his sin, considering the evidence, he went to the chief priests and elders to return the silver he’d been given for betraying Jesus, but it was too late. You can read the account in Matthew 27.
By God’s design, He loves and cares for all His creation, but He made humans distinctly for a relationship with Him through the unique gift of the soul, faith, and the ability to reason. I am thankful we aren’t made to go through life merely on instinct or without a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
We were clearly made for more by the perfect Creator of the universe. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He gives us all that we need to have a close, saving relationship with Him.
What we do with the faith, our ability to reason, and the evidence God graciously provides is up to us. We don’t have to go through life unsure or with doubt. By design, we cannot go through life solely by instinct. We have a soul, a measure of faith, and the ability to reason. We can choose poorly; we can choose to dull our ability to reason; we can choose to believe a lie over the truth. However, we can never undo the unique gift God gave humans for the opportunity, not the certainty, of a close, saving relationship with Him.
Our life now and eternally is up to us; it is a direct result of how we choose to use or ignore the unique gifts God gives only to us, a unique species, in His grand creation. We make our choices, and our choices make us. God gives us everything we need to choose Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, but He gives us the free will to make our own choice.
Erickson, M. J. (2013). Christian theology. Baker Publishing Group.
I'm tired of running from God and am trying to learn to run to Him instead.