There have been several times in my life when I have surveyed my current circumstances and thought to myself, how on earth am I going to get through this one? This past January my shortly lived six month “grace period” ended after I graduated college and Sallie Mae began sending me emails about paying back on the atrocious amount of student debt I had acquired over the past five years studying and becoming a well-educated citizen. I remember looking at the dollar amount and feeling so overwhelmed. At the time, my full-time job was paying me a below poverty line wage and my part-time job was demanding that I work late hours often getting home around 2 a.m.
I remember venting to a friend and her reply was to “have faith.” Have faith?! I’m sure she meant it as words of comfort but to me it sounded like, sweep your problems under the rug, cross your fingers, close your eyes and pray that one day good ol’ Sallie Mae would call you and say “Never mind we don’t need your money go on and live your life.”
This is a blind and terrible way to live your life, and yet I feel as though as believers we often walk as though faith means following God the same way, blindly.
I’ve been reading a book called Stomping Out the Darkness that compared some people’s perceptions to following Christ a lot like a scene out of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In the film the last clue leads him to a ledge where he must take a “leap of faith.”
Is this the kind of faith that God desires from us? It is no doubt that faith is both vital and central to being a follower of Christ. In Hebrews 11:6 it says Without faith it is impossible to please Him. And in Colossians 2:6 Paul wrote “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” How did we receive Christ? By faith. How are we to walk in him? By Faith.
But what is faith? Is it a blind leap into nothingness as in the Indiana Jones clip? Not at all. Here are three main ideas around faith that might change the way we approach our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
- What are you putting your faith into?
Every day I drive by faith. I have faith that the cars in the other lane are not going to decide to take their hands off the wheel and run into me as I drive into and from work. I put my faith in my Husband that he’s not going to go home to another woman and that when my friend invites me to coffee that she’s going to show up. But what happens when our faith in an object fails? Sometimes it can take years to repair when our faith in a person is shattered. Other things are more reliable. We all have faith that the Earth is going to continue to rotate on its axis and that the sun will continue to rise each morning. Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” He has been eternally faithful to us meaning that we can put our faith in Him.
- Strength of Faith is Determined by Depth of Knowledge.
I know that the bible says that Jesus never changes but He didn’t seem very reliable when my dad got cancer and still hasn’t healed him completely. He didn’t seem very faithful when my mom tells the story of her two-year-old sister getting ran over which eventually lead to a nasty divorce between my grandparents. He didn’t seem very faithful when my friend and her husband have had several miscarriages even though they keep trying to have a family.
It’s easy to look at God in these ugly circumstances and tell him to “get lost.” But we must know that our faith doesn’t get shaky because God is insufficient, but rather because what we think we know about God is insufficient. If you have little knowledge about God and his word, you will have little faith. The greater knowledge and the deeper the relationship, the stronger the faith in Him. It’s no different with my relationships in this life. If I don’t know someone very well, why on earth would I put my faith in them during my greatest times of need? It would be silly to expect that from anyone you barely knew.
- Faith Is A Verb
I’m sure we’ve all heard the verse from James 2:17-18. It says So also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. I’ve never particularly loved this verse. Not because I don’t like service but rather because I’ve heard too many sermons on our performance earning God’s love and grace. I know that I can’t earn God’s grace or his acceptance or his love. That his love for me knows no bounds, but this verse still never sat well with me until I was shown a different way to look at it.
I have two step-sons with my husband their names are Scott and Eli. The youngest was four-years-old when I met him and typically was quite the adventurer. I remember one time we took them ice skating for the first time and I will never forget how white their knuckles were- clenching on to the side of the wall, wobbly knees shaking and barely standing on both feet. Jason took the oldest between his legs and grabbed his hands and skated alongside him with ease. However, Eli refused to let go of the wall. “Do you believe that I will hold on to you?” I asked him. Yes. How did I know that he believed me? Because finger by finger, he let go of the wall and put his hands out in mine and eventually we went skating together. Imagine that he would have said yes and then continued to clutch on to the wall. Would he really have had faith that I was going to hold on to him? No. Faith involves action. To have faith in God we must do what he says, otherwise do we really believe him?
During times of hardship do you push into your relationship with God looking to grow in your faith? Or do you question him or have a hard time believing that He is good? As a team, I challenge all of us to lean into Him. If we lived like this, and had such a relationship with the one who created us, how would your life look different?