Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Faith Based Personal Initiative

In exploring and examining my own faith, I've found, in many ways, I've come up far short of where I... well... wished I was.

Last Saturday night at church over at The Rock of Rocklin, they had a special speaker. He was a good friend of the senior pastor, someone he'd known for years. I can't think now of his name, and it really doesn't matter. What does matter is what he said. During this message he said some things that really found their mark with me. After writing about atheists a few posts back, I find the turn of the tables personally very ironic.

He talked about faith, on the theme of "Why Not Us... Why Not Now?" The crux of the message had to do with how much faith do you have in your God? Do you really, really believe that your God is able to do anything, and that God wants the very best for you? After all, that's what the Bible teaches. Romans 8:28 says "We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose ."

But so many people who claim to have faith act as if they do not. They do not truly trust God in all areas of their lives. That's a scary thing, to truly trust someone else, much less an unseen God, with guiding your life.

I was reading in the book of Hebrews and found some interesting verses.

Hebrews 11:1 says "To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see."

Hebrews 11:6 "It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him."

And the speaker spoke from this verse, Hebrews 10:38 : "Those whose faith has made them good in God's sight must live by faith, trusting him in everything. Otherwise, if they shrink back, God will have no pleasure in them."

(Or, as The Message phrases that last verse, "...anyone who is right with me (God) thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won't be very happy."

So I've been asking myself, just how much faith do I have? Just how deep is my belief in God and Jesus and all that? Do I tend to cut and run?

The speaker talked about areas of my life where God can make a real difference, if I'd just trust God. (I've actually seen my relationships with my children completly changed when I prayed and asked God for help, so I know from personal experience there's something to it.)

The speaker challenged me to re-think and examine my faith. If I claim to have faith, then I should live by that faith, truly trusting the things I say I believe in. That's a bold step. The kind of step that David took when he walked out and faced Goliath.

So I'll be examining my faith and beliefs in the coming months. Not in the sense that I think I am wrong or misguided, because I truly do believe deeply in the sacrifice of Jesus and his atonement for mankind, and that the acceptance of that sacrifice is the only way to reach God. But I'll be examining how I believe it, and examining how that belief should effect my life.

I really believe a good soul search is a positive thing, no matter if you are Christian or not. It's always good to take some time and assess your thoughts and beliefs and see if you can do things better, or find a better idea.

That to me is the essense of a spiritual journey. Formulating ideas, testing them out, discussing them, and seeing if what you believe holds up. If you think it does, then good. If it does not, then keep searching.

I believe there is only ONE truth. Whatever that truth is, someday we'll all know what it is.

(And with my luck, just as in the South Park episode where everyone winds up in Hell.... the only people that get it right will be the Mormons.) ;-)

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