Growing in Faith

Growing in Faith – Part 2: What is Faith?

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith is such a hard concept for me to explain in person or through my writing. But, it’s a state of mind,of heart and of soul the Bible states and describes so easily: “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, [and] the conviction of things not seen,” as stated in the above quote. My spiritual journey has been a long one, intermittent, lonely, amazing, and so many more adjectives. It’s been a wild ride to say the least. My faith fills me with a hope and a peace that is indescribable.  It is a hope that cannot be surpassed by anything on this Earth: not through my friends or my husband or my career or through anything else that I’ve used in my life to fill a void that I avoided for too many years. When I was brainstorming my idea for this post, I found this picture:

"STEPPING OUT IN FAITH" by Vern Herschberger
“STEPPING OUT IN FAITH” by Vern Herschberger

Believing in God requires taking a leap off Mount Everest blindfolded–to fully trust Him. I know that sounds a bit scary since we cannot see God. Our sin separates us from Him. It’s not to say that believers shouldn’t continue to seek truth because that is exactly what we should do, but believers must also understand that our finite human minds will never be able to fully understand God, His ways or His will. He is far beyond our knowledge realm, and I, for one, have so many questions to ask Him when that day comes. But, this should push us to get to know Him, the gospel, and explore theology. The Bible tells us repeatedly that we should not test our God by asking for signs or other such nonsense, and as I’ve been reading the Bible, I’ve also learned that God does not hear or answer the prayers of those who do not believe in Him. (“Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.” John 9:31). The Bible simply calls for us to believe with our whole heart, mind, and soul. It seems so much easier said than done especially in a world that tests faith on a daily basis. I would say that most, if not all, Christians struggle with some sort of doubt at some points in their lives, but the Bible simply says  to believe completely. I’ve used any such intellectual doubt that creeps into my head to push me to find answers–whether they be in Scripture or spelled out by a theologian  that can explain a passage in the Bible far better than I can. However, God does say not to doubt. He makes that so clear, and this is also clear in Jesus’ teachings to his disciples. I’ve been devouring C.S. Lewis pretty recently. The man went from being a devout atheist to a devout Christian before his death in the late 1980s, and his writing is incredible. He was truly blessed with the talent of writing. I’m about 15% of the way through his book, “Mere Christianity,” and I do plan to sum up my feelings of the book in a blog post later down the road. It’s natural as a human to seek for answers, to seek truth, and to seek purpose. I’m still at the beginnings of my journey, but my faith is what rings true to my heart. It’s been true to me since I was a little girl, and even when I fell away from actively showing and strengthening my faith (remember, faith without action is dead) as I entered high school God definitely found me again. I think Avicii said it best in the song, “Wake Me Up:” I didn’t know I was lost. I didn’t really realize how broken I was until I slowed down and listened to the whispers in my heart.

I’ve been in school for so long. I’ve been taught to think analytically, logically, and yet, nothing in school ever swayed my belief in God. I can’t look out my window at the intricacy of plants and animals and deny that there is a Creator. Somehow science, math, and everything in this universe work in unison. The universe is filled with stars too numerous for man to count, and we really have no idea how vast the universe really is (See NASA). Science and math leave us with so many unanswered questions, and so does the Bible, but that’s the point: we’re not supposed to know all the answers. It will all make sense in time. My faith has given me a brand new perspective on life–through my faith I see things clearer. It’s also pushed me to examine myself: I’m impatient to an absurd degree, I’m a workaholic, I hate depending on other people (this includes my husband), and the feeling of losing control is frightening to me. But, in examining these negative traits of myself I’m learning to relinquish my worries and put my faith in God 100%. I’m learning to lean on Him in times of great weakness because I know I can’t save myself. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

The other part of faith is action. This was a concept that took me a long time to grasp onto. As I stated in my previous post, faith without action is dead. Action is how we proclaim our faith–by abiding to God’s laws, repenting and spreading the gospel where possible. Believers live for Christ alone. God promises us persecution and tribulation in this life. I know that I will be mocked and degraded for what I believe in at some points in my life. My faith is tested daily. I always like to think of  Job in the Bible when I think of persecution and tribulation. Job endured great trials, disease, and pain, and yet he clung to faith and continued to praise God. Job was restored. I’ll talk about why God allows suffering in another post, but what I’m trying to make clear is that being a follower of Christ is not a path of roses all the time. In fact, it is a narrow path that is often filled with thorns and many believers will be tested to a great degree. God doesn’t want a bunch of robots, which is where free will comes in, and these are times when we must cling even harder to our faith in God.

My faith has answered all of those huge questions that many don’t like to confront: what happens after I die? why am I here? why was I created? what is my purpose? There is no end to my journey. It won’t end until the day I take my last breath, but until then, I will continue to seek truth, to pray, to ask for God’s guidance in my life. Death is only the beginning of something amazing to come–incomprehensible and glorious.

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