Friday, March 26, 2010

How's Your Faith Working Out for You?

One of the ways that I work out my faith is to ask myself the same questions that the skeptics ask to see if I can answer them to my satisfaction. In my early adult years, the skeptics were asking, “Is there really a God?” I struggled with this question for decades. In fact, it was just eleven years ago that God settled the debate for me and made it possible for me to take the leap of faith in giving my life to him. Every generation has its own unique questions when it comes to faith and I don’t look at these questions as a challenge to my faith, but as a stepping stone to a deeper understanding of my faith, of my relationship with God and of who he is. Today’s skeptics want to know, “How’s that working for you?!”

So how is my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior working out for me? To the casual observer, my life may seem to prove that this “faith in Christ” thing isn’t working out very well at all for me. I’m not rich, famous or successful and I’m reasonably sure I never will be. Even in my own local community I don’t stand out among the crowd. I’m the person you’d never see in a roomful of people and if you did, it would be to pity me because I don’t have the “loving husband, 2.5 kids, two cars in the driveway, three-bedroom home, vacation every year, fully-funded retirement plan” life we’ve all adopted as the ideal life. All I have is the memories of one dead child, two failed marriages, and more abuse than one person should ever know. So to the outsider, my faith may seem misplaced.

But for me, my life proves that faith in Christ is the only way to live. God has redeemed and continues to renew my life through faith. I have not only survived, but with God’s strength and support, have thrived in life. I may not have much in the way of material things, but I have enough. I have a place of my own to call home, I sleep in a bed every night, wake up to a hot shower every morning, food in my cupboards and a working car in the parking lot. I’m in good health, I have a job to go to and friends and family to share my life with. That’s more than most people have. My faith gives me security – the kind of security that only comes from knowing and loving and being loved by the great God of the Universe. There is nothing he can’t do and he will provide all I need. He is my strength, my courage and my inspiration. His will is the plan for my life and his Spirit who is my constant Companion guides, protects, and comforts me. God wants to shower me with his love and will not abandon me. There are no words to describe the intimacy that God and I enjoy and it is a relationship he wants to have with all people.

Okay. So my faith works for me, you say, but that doesn’t mean it works for everyone. After all, look at how the membership numbers of Christian religions are declining in the U.S and how about all the corruption in the leadership of the different Christian religions and TV Ministries? I can only say that faith should never be a matter of popularity, so deciding the validity of faith on the basis of who else and how many others believe is poor judgment. I guess I would have to ask if all of your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you? Then why decide your eternal fate on what everyone else is doing?

Corruption and sin can be found in every facet of life. As God’s people, we are supposed to be shining examples of integrity, selflessness, and generosity. We are supposed to be living our lives according to God’s will as we strive to be more Christ-like. So when we sin and our leaders are found to be as corrupt as non-Christians, what are the skeptics to think of our faith? The only answer I have is that no one is righteous (Romans 3:10). That’s why we need a Savior. When we believe, that doesn’t give us a magical pass to never sin again. It gives us a Savior who took our every judgment on himself and who forgives us every time we sin through his act of love for us on the cross. Everyone sins. Only Christians know the One who will take the consequences of our sin upon himself. Whether the skeptics admit it or not, Jesus died for their sins too. That’s what makes my faith work for everyone. May you be blessed in this coming week as we celebrate the Victory of the Death and Resurrection of the Savior of the World.
About the pictures:
Welcome Spring! Pittsburgh, PA (March 2010)

1 comment:

Common Household Mom said...

You wrote:
"... I don’t stand out among the crowd. "
You stand out in MY crowd - time and again your ready smile has lifted my spirit.

Good post, with lots and lots to think about. I seem to circle around and around those questions. I settle on my answer and sometime later the same question pops up again.