“For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” – 2 Corinthians 1:20.
The hardest part about being a Christian is getting our “Yes” (intellectual assent) to line up with our “Amen” (making it so). The biggest problem is that when we first come to hear about or meet Christ we have no real grasp of what He is all about. But our Yes is motivated by the deep, abiding love that comes from God to us and we are drawn to Him. It is well that love is the first real knowledge we have of God and the magnet to which we are drawn…for God is love (1 John 4:16).
But love transforms us as we come to understand love in a new perspective. Love in worldly perspective is two things that confuse our concept of God and the relationship He desires to have with us: emotion and reciprocity. Most of our earthly love relations are first based on emotional attachment. Sadly, more often than not, it is ultimately a selfish attraction. We want to be loved so are drawn to relationships that make us feel loved, that is, appreciated, attractive, wanted, respected. We also respond out of our physical nature, drawn to fulfill the “multiply” command. It is a hormonal response that can overwhelm all sense of logic and prudence.
When we give love, according to our standards, we expect, even demand, love in return, and if it is not reciprocal we begin to isolate our feelings and start justifying, rationalizing why we should terminate the relationship since it no longer serves us emotionally and / or materially. Many are those who have walked away from a relationship with God when the emotional phase passed (see the Parable of the Sower!).
But for those who yield to the Amen!
Our emotional response to attraction or kindnesses bestowed is a hearty “Yes” as we seek to be known and to delve into intimacy with another. It is a matter of wanting to be safe, of being able to trust others with our deepest self. Out of fear, another emotion, we often hide from the other, keeping something of ourselves to ourselves, and thus short-circuiting true intimacy. Our relationships stagnate here at a level less than all they can be and keeping us from fulfilling our true selves.
“Amen” crosses a significant line. Amen means “so be it,” a statement of fact, not feeling. Amen then takes us beyond the emotional self into being what we truly claim to be. Amen means vulnerability, making our deepest, seemingly repugnant self known, willingly and without fear. It means living sacrificially where the needs of others take on higher meaning than our own needs. Amen is the way of the Cross, the way we are to take up daily. Amen is a commitment to action.
When we enter into the Amen of Christian faith it is as we are empowered by love, being perfected in it, without fear of judgment or rejection. We may yet be rejected in this world but there is a security found in knowing that we will not be rejected by God for the weaknesses and stumbling of our humanness. Yes drinks of the milk in our infancy with Christ, but Amen eats solid food (Hebrews 5:12-14).
God says, “I love you.” Our Yes comes from feeling loved and accepted. Amen comes from that love becoming more than words and we find peace, entering into the assurance of salvation and can comfortably take action on behalf of others. Yes is our “out-of-the-gate” response to God. Amen is the step into Christian maturity that says, with Job, “though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15a), into a faith that fears nothing at all, including the costs of self-sacrifice.
(This essay is one of twenty one included in Considering Faith, available in Kindle format for $4.99 here at Amazon.com.)