Faith is the bedrock of being a Christian. Few people would argue that fact. However, I recently read something that caused me to go, "Hmm... I never thought about it like that."
The author of the piece pointed out that faith no longer seems to mean what it once did. It, like so many other things and words in our society today, has been cheapened. That cheapening affects not just our understanding of the word but also how we put it into practice in our lives.
There are five definitions for faith on Dictionary.com. They are:
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing
2. belief that is not based on proof
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit
5. a system of religious belief
Our basic problem in Christianity stems from the fact that the world has, in the minds of many, replaced the first definition with the second.
The first definition speaks about "trust." The second only speaks about believing in something you cannot see.
Now don't misunderstand me. The second is important. The problem is when we completely supplant it for the first.
Let me offer it this way: I can believe in God--i.e. believe He exists without trusting Him.
Merely believing that He exists gets us no farther on our faith walk than believing another person exists gets us married. Yes, that belief in His existence is important, but you can believe God and Christ exist and not experience what Christian living is all about.
Because the belief in their existence is not what changes your life. It is only in experiencing and living the first definition of faith that real Christianity and real faith begin to be manifested.
Once I clear the first hurdle of believing in God, the next leap of faith--trusting Him must be made or "Christian life" will feel exactly as "non-Christian life" felt. It will still be all up to me. I will continue to try to self-effort myself through life.
You see these types of Christians all the time. They work and they do and they serve. They are in the choir and on the finance counsel. They run from church meeting to church meeting. If they aren't exhausted yet, they soon will be.
I know. I was one of those Christians.
It was only when God allowed my self-effort to prove to me how futile it was that I went seeking for another answer, and the Answer I found was in the first definition--in fully trusting God. It was only when I began to fully trust God and Christ and stop relying on myself that I found what I had been searching for the whole time: A victorious Christian walk etched in grace and forgiveness and love.
When I put that first definition into practice, I found that it really is as easy as just letting God love me and then giving that love to others.
It was only when I found real faith, rooted in the FIRST definition of faith that my life began to have meaning and peace and hope. I believe that life is offered to everyone, just don't fall for the trap that believing in God's existence is enough. You must take that second (albeit scary) step of fully trusting Him in every aspect of your life to experience the incredible freedom that God can in your spirit, your world, and your life.
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012
Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side. She is a #1 Best Selling Christian author and the founder of both Grace & Faith Author Connection and CrossReads--a site where Christian readers and authors can connect.
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