It Takes Faith
The Coca Cola Company makes multi-millions of dollars every year. They advertise on the television, magazines, stores, and much more! I enjoy collecting all Coca Cola products because the words "Coca Cola Classic" intrigues me. Nonetheless, just as it is advertised as "The Real Thing" meaning this is what people want, it has been said in today's society that Christians are so inoculated with just enough Christianity to make us so immune to "the real thing." Reflecting back on my own life, I would say that, as harsh as that statement is, it is very true. I have been so fed up with the religion because it is deceiving and confusing people. Religion is nothing more than rules, rituals and regulations and a belief in doctrine and dogma. It has been so injected into the lives of Christians that it is protecting them, if you will, from faith. I surrender myself to God in and through a life of loving service to others. Thomas Moore makes it clear that inoculation of this sort is a problem:
We can keep faith in a bubble of belief so that we don't see it having direct relevance in day-to-day living. I've worked with several people who are very devoted to religion and pride themselves on their faith. But they have no trust in themselves, and they don't entrust themselves to life. In fact, they use their belief system to keep at a distance.
The bubble of belief in which I was raised taught me that faith was one of the two theological terms; hope and love. Faith is a matter of quality and quantity. I always felt that I should have more of it, and that it should be stronger every time you practice your faith. Jesus says in the Gospels that if I had enough faith as small as a mustard seed, I would be able to move mountains. It is important to notice that it is not "I" meaning yourself that would move mountains, it is Jesus that moves the mountain for us. We have no power in ourselves to move any mountain in our lives; simply have faith in Jesus to move the mountain. Through any difficult times that we face, we can rest assured that God's closeness is there helping us along the way.
In my early years of being a Christian I use to doubt a lot. As I matured in my Christian walk, I realized that doubting means you have no faith. When it comes to matters such as faith, there is no room for doubt. I have had people tell me that they have no choice but to doubt God, because I cannot see Him. Friends, faith is taking action without knowing the result. It is seeing without believing! Let's look at the faith chapter in Hebrews 11. "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients commanded for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." Faith is a mystery that we cannot fathom, yet it is something we need to learn to trust. It is something that I had to learn in college on an emotional level. It wasn't until my junior year at Zion Bible College that I learned that is living the questions, not answering them, was what true faith required us, as Christians. In so doing, this has brought my life into a deeper understanding to live a life in a way that is open to God. Now, this is the whole point of faith. Although, true faith is a nothing more than a far cry from believing in everything we're taught about God, it is actually closely related to the word "believe." In order to believe in Jesus, one must have faith. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved" Acts 16:31.
Another big issue that is imperative to bring up is the issue of control. I don't really know about you, but as far as I'm concerned the majority of us wants to know what is coming at us so that way we can maneuver any obstacles before we set out on a journey. This has always been for me to be in control in my education, relationships, and even God. Control is something most of us like to have, but it is the one thing there is no room for in a life of faith.
Faith has more to do with God than it does in any relationship, workplace, or even your education. This is because God is not so far away from the human existence; as the philosopher Dick Westley points out, "Faith is not a way of knowing things which lie beyond the world of human experience. It is rather a way of seeing the deepest reality delivered to us in and by human experience."
Let's look at the well known story of doubting Thomas in John 20:24. This story speaks of a close connection between faith and life in the flesh. Thomas' weak initial faith was weak not because he refused to believe only by touching Jesus' wounds. But that, his faith was weak because he refused to open his heart, to become vulnerable and to enter into a right-relationship with Jesus. If faith is giving our hearts to God, and if God is the essence of our humanity, then withholding ourselves from a relationship is doubting God, this in turn, leads to atheism.
Feelings can be confused when it is dealt with faith. It was at Zion Bible College, I come to recognize that true faith is not about feeling God's closeness, but about embracing life with its disappointments and praises. It is like being in a relationship with your boy-friend or girl-friend. In the first year of dating, you are in-love with each other and would do anything for your lover. It is a stage that many call "infatuation." Every little mistake is overlooked and is "no big deal." You become infatuated with each other, however, that love only becomes a reality when infatuation ceases, and your mature love becomes "real love" and real love becomes commitment.
In this spiritual journey of faith that has been my life, I have come to realize that faith is not just a body where my beliefs resign. It is, rather, putting my body where my beliefs are. Faith is the wholehearted giving of myself to God's ongoing presence. Every moment of my life is filled with God. Every sight, sound and experience, is an open door, another opportunity to be in full communication with God. I give every attempt to give myself daily to the mystery of faith, which will draw me even closer to God.