The Eighteen-Inch Dilemma

This week we discuss the first of two challenges often preventing Christians from choosing holy desperation. Today we introduce The Eighteen-Inch Dilemma. This challenge refers to the seemingly infinite span between the head and the heart and the difficulty we have trying to bring them together. For us, this has to do with the difference between merely knowing about God and knowing God.

So why are these eighteen inches such an obstacle to holy desperation and gaining the kind of faith from which it is born? Because desperation comes from both the head and the heart. We can never just think ourselves into desperation any more than we can emotionally stir ourselves into the same. Desperation requires deep awareness of our need together with a burning passion for its realization.

How do we bridge this gap? First, we need desire; we must become hungry for such a desperate faith and unsatisfied until we get it. Second, we must act. We must put what we know in our heads into practice with our hands and hearts. This means we need to trust God to help us take obedience and holiness much more seriously. Yet, for many of us, putting into practice what we believe can be a scary thing. To bridge this gap is a step of faith because we risk the unknown. What will others think? What if something bad happens? What if God doesn’t provide? What if I fail?

Many Christians learn to live with this gulf and though they wish they had a more integrated faith it isn’t until the challenge of suffering, loss, and/or disillusionment that this dilemma suddenly becomes a crisis. Such times of calamity often reveal the superficiality of our faith and convict us of settling for convenience. Here we realize that answers and knowing are not enough for a truly satisfactory faith.

Yet, these crises are exactly what we need. They compel us to trust more deeply, pray more earnestly, and question our hearts with an honesty more brutal than we have ever allowed. For it is in these challenging times when our securities are finally stripped away and we are left with only a bare naked faith. So the crisis becomes a watershed moment as we are forced to consider if God really is enough after all.

If we persevere, God will prove his faithfulness in our minds and establish his love in our hearts. Eventually, his presence becomes the driving passion of our lives… for this is the reward of those who choose holy desperation. Next week, we look at the second hindrance to holy desperation—cultural Christianity.


What Do You Think?

Do you struggle with The Eighteen-Inch Dilemma? How? If honestly facing our insecurities and giving them to God is necessary for holy desperation, what would it take for you to face yours?


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Author: David Trementozzi

David Trementozzi is married to his wife, Emily and they have three children—Judah, Kaleb, and Halle. David likes to write on topics related to Christian faith and their contemporary relevance. He has a B.A. in Psychology (Messiah College), Masters of Divinity, and Ph.D in Theology (Regent University). David is currently a professor of Theology at Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels, Belgium. To learn more about David, go to the About David page above.