What is Faith?
There was a time in my life when I thought 'faith' was believing that God exists. End of story. And so if someone had asked me if I was a person of faith, I would have answered 'yes.'
I've come to understand that believing that God exists is merely the starting point of a long and wondrous journey. All journeys have a starting point and the journey of faith begins with believing that God exists. At least for me that's where it began.
Is that enough to get you into heaven? Maybe. I'm not sure. Some people think so and so their journey ends there.
Some people believe the journey begins with baptism and I guess that could also be true. But I was baptized on somebody else's faith. I don't think I truly began to 'grow' until it became my faith. My parents planted the seed but eventually it took root in my own heart.
I believe that this particular journey can last a life time. It can take you as far as you want to go. For me, I look back and see how far I've come and I'm filled with wonder. I look ahead to see how far I can still go and I get excited.
My journey began with simple faith. I believed. Later I developed a love of scripture. Reading scripture helped me to learn 'about' Jesus. And then one day, knowing 'about' Him wasn't enough for me anymore. I wanted to know Him personally. I wanted a relationship. My faith began to come alive when I began to 'live' what I believe. Or maybe I should say 'try' to live what I believe. It's a struggle sometimes. It means rising above pettiness to embrace the bigger picture of love and forgiveness. It means trying to separate myself from this world and live for the kingdom of God which is hard to find amidst all the chaos of our physical world.
It means trusting God with my whole heart and soul. Trusting His wisdom and His love.
It means letting go of anger and forgiving someone - even when I still kind of hurt. It means 'doing' what Scripture says is right - even when I WANT to do it my way. It means not judging other people for their shortcomings - because God knows I have enough shortcomings of my own to overcome!
Faith is understanding that I do not live for this world but for the Kingdom of God. I do not have to be upset when somebody mistreats me - because GOD will hold them accountable. That doesn't mean they're going to hell necessarily. It just means that when God gets done with them they will have a clear understanding of how they hurt me by their selfishness or greed or whatever and they WILL receive justice at the hands of my Father. (Vengeance is MINE says the Lord) Yes, faith is giving my anger to GOD and KNOWING that HE will see that justice is done. Faith is understanding that if I insist on holding on to that anger, I am simply holding myself back on my walk with God. I hurt myself when I do not forgive - not the other person.
Faith is knowing that God loves me and wants me to grow to full maturity. He will never abandon me but He will not remove all trials from my life. He loves me so much that He allows me to grow THROUGH these trials. He will not permit any trial in my life that He cannot use to make me stronger in my walk with Him.
Faith is KNOWING that God is my Father. Faith is KNOWING that He loves ME even more than I love my OWN kids - and that's a lot! But I'm just a human and I can't possibly love as purely as He loves. Faith is KNOWING that He is REAL and ALIVE and ACTIVELY involved in my life. He knows ALL and He loves me anyway. He knows that I love Him and that I'm doing my best. And that's what counts. I'm trying. I don't have to be perfect - I just have to do my best. He will do the rest.