My problem with faith.

One of the things that I think about often is how many of my friends who went to High School and Bible college with me who are not currently living for Christ. It breaks my heart. I have thought about it many, many times. About a year ago I think I came to an understanding as to why my friends abandoned their faith.

The conclusion I’ve come to is faith was misrepresented to them. I grew up in a very Pentecostal background, I don’t apologize for that at all I am grateful for the things I experienced learned and are now a part of who I am. One of the things I think that Pentecostals need to change if they want to see their kids embrace the fullness of who Christ is, is what they teach about faith.

Over the past 4 years I have been on a journey where I lost my faith for a while, but the crazy part is in losing my faith I really found it. I know that sounds crazy but I think what happened to me is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew.

Matthew 10:39
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

I was always told that faith is a thing you obtain, it can be measured, some people have more, there are certain kids of faith that are better than others. That the more you do for christ is proof of the faith you have in him. Four years ago every presupposition and pat answer I had about faith crumbled under the situation I was facing. I went through a season where I couldn’t pray or read my bible because God let me down.

That was the beginning of an amazing journey that I am grateful to God for because in losing myself I rediscovered my faith in Christ alone. I am so thankful beyond words my kids don’t have to grow up in an environment where their worth is measured and their spirituality is gauged by external hoops they successfully jump through.

One of the things I used to fear was dying early because I love my family and kids so much. If I got sick I would say I wasn’t because I was speaking in faith, but I was living in denial. The reason why that kind of faith doesn’t transform our world is because it’s weird. I now know that faith isn’t a formula it’s simply me knowing that while I was a sinner Christ died for me and loved me and because of that I can trust him.

I sit here typing this crying not because I don’t measure up, because I don’t but because of Christ’s overwhelming love for me. I understand that and it motivates me to live a life that pleases him because of the radical love He bestows on me. That’s what faith is all about. I used to be a Pharisee, praying with a watch on my desk timing my prayers so I could pray for an hour. I now pray more than an hour but it looks very different because my motivation has changed from what I can do to what he has done.

It makes me sad that for years I tried so hard to have faith but yet I didn’t truly trust. I no longer fear death because I understand faith is all about trust. If I died tomorrow my family would miss me but they would be fine because God plays on a different level than us. I can truly say losing my faith was the best thing I ever did because in doing so I learned what I tell my kids all the time “Jesus is everything”.

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26 thoughts on “My problem with faith.

  1. Sam,

    Great post. Thanks for being so transparent about your own faith and struggles. I think part of the problem is that, so many times, when faith is mis-defined people are afraid to face those doubts and struggles because they fear it is in indication that they have no faith. Thanks for reminding us that it is through exactly those kinds of struggles and challenges to our faith that we can find true faith in Christ alone.

    As a dad and husband, I struggled with the same thing when I was "new in the faith." I wanted to see my kids grow up and grow old with my wife. I would give lip service to verses like "to die is gain" but I didn't really believe it. Only as my relationship with Christ has deepened have I come to understand the truth of that verse and the immeasurable beauty and depth of My Savior's love for me.

    Even still, I have not arrived. I find myself frequently praying the prayer of the father in Mark 9: "I do believe; help me with my unbelief."

    Thanks again for the thought provoking and challenging article!

  2. Thanks Larry such a great point to often we run from doubt when it's the very thing that helps define what faith really is. Jesus is fine with our doubts he welcomes them and overwhelms them.

  3. This article sounds like your heart!!! A wonderful heartfelt article and Sam, " faith IS all about trust" … trust in what God has done & says about us! 🙂 Thank you. You are encouraging. –RL

  4. Sam,

    Great post. Thanks for being so transparent about your own faith and struggles. I think part of the problem is that, so many times, when faith is mis-defined people are afraid to face those doubts and struggles because they fear it is in indication that they have no faith. Thanks for reminding us that it is through exactly those kinds of struggles and challenges to our faith that we can find true faith in Christ alone.

    As a dad and husband, I struggled with the same thing when I was "new in the faith." I wanted to see my kids grow up and grow old with my wife. I would give lip service to verses like "to die is gain" but I didn't really believe it. Only as my relationship with Christ has deepened have I come to understand the truth of that verse and the immeasurable beauty and depth of My Savior's love for me.

    Even still, I have not arrived. I find myself frequently praying the prayer of the father in Mark 9: "I do believe; help me with my unbelief."

    Thanks again for the thought provoking and challenging article!

  5. Thanks Larry such a great point to often we run from doubt when it's the very thing that helps define what faith really is. Jesus is fine with our doubts he welcomes them and overwhelms them.

  6. One of the best blog posts I've read. Period.

    This is truly inspirational and edifying. Thanks for your honesty and faith.

    Have you heard Andy Stanley's teaching on faith in the Faith Hope and Luck series? Your post fits well with that teaching.

    • Craig thanks for taking time to comment. I appreciate your encouragement. I really enjoyed being in Infuse with you. We definitely need to stay in touch.

  7. Great post and enjoyed as everyone else has hit on your openess. The only addition I would want to add would be, not all Pentecostal people can be lumped into the description you found yourself in. When I am sick, I am sick. LOL…

    Again, great honest post.

    • Thanks for your comment Todd, to be clear I don't think that all Pentecostals believe that. I do however think that there is a large number that do. Also I am very grateful for my pentecostal roots although I don't agree with all of it. I believe every movement brings to light truth that needs to be embraced by all.

  8. Let me start by saying, you're awesome.
    As someone who grew up Pentecostal and is now a minister in a Pentecostal fellowship, I can see where you could have grown up with some of those thoughts, Fortunately, I didn't. But it is a great reminder that I need to be careful that the kids who are in my church. I want them growing up with a firm foundation of faith.
    There are days when I'm sick or struggling and I just want to hop over to the store and pick up some extra faith, or sprinkle on some holy water, or pray a little harder, but as long as I am a fallen human in a fallen world, I'm going to get sick and people around me are going to have to face death. It's tough, because I believe that God can heal them and I want so bad for them to get better, but I have to trust Him.
    True faith is being certain of what we do not see. I don't always see God's hand at work in every situation, but I have faith (I trust) that He's at work.
    Oh and I agree with Todd. Not all Pentecostals are crazy. 🙂

  9. Great post and enjoyed as everyone else has hit on your openess. The only addition I would want to add would be, not all Pentecostal people can be lumped into the description you found yourself in. When I am sick, I am sick. LOL…

    Again, great honest post.

    • Thanks for your comment Todd, to be clear I don't think that all Pentecostals believe that. I do however think that there is a large number that do. Also I am very grateful for my pentecostal roots although I don't agree with all of it. I believe every movement brings to light truth that needs to be embraced by all.

  10. Let me start by saying, you're awesome.
    As someone who grew up Pentecostal and is now a minister in a Pentecostal fellowship, I can see where you could have grown up with some of those thoughts, Fortunately, I didn't. But it is a great reminder that I need to be careful that the kids who are in my church. I want them growing up with a firm foundation of faith.
    There are days when I'm sick or struggling and I just want to hop over to the store and pick up some extra faith, or sprinkle on some holy water, or pray a little harder, but as long as I am a fallen human in a fallen world, I'm going to get sick and people around me are going to have to face death. It's tough, because I believe that God can heal them and I want so bad for them to get better, but I have to trust Him.
    True faith is being certain of what we do not see. I don't always see God's hand at work in every situation, but I have faith (I trust) that He's at work.
    Oh and I agree with Todd. Not all Pentecostals are crazy. 🙂

  11. I have to disagree with Todd and Jared… we (those with Pentecostal backgrounds) are crazy 😉

    On a more serious note, thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. I think that many times we go through times of doubt like this and think we are alone or have to put on a happy face. The more we can all just be honest with ourselves and each other, the better I think we will be. We can build each other up, cry with each other, pray with each other and struggle with each other. Faith is a funny thing. It can be both liberating and frustrating. I think that if any of us never have issues with it, then we aren't truly working out our faith. Great post.

  12. I have to disagree with Todd and Jared… we (those with Pentecostal backgrounds) are crazy 😉

    On a more serious note, thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. I think that many times we go through times of doubt like this and think we are alone or have to put on a happy face. The more we can all just be honest with ourselves and each other, the better I think we will be. We can build each other up, cry with each other, pray with each other and struggle with each other. Faith is a funny thing. It can be both liberating and frustrating. I think that if any of us never have issues with it, then we aren't truly working out our faith. Great post.

  13. Great post Sam.

    It honestly sounds like your journey is similar to several people, including my own. Thanks for being transparent.

    Jeff

  14. Great post Sam.

    It honestly sounds like your journey is similar to several people, including my own. Thanks for being transparent.

    Jeff

  15. Great post, Sam.
    Pentocostal background here and my entire family, to some extent or another, has left their faith or left the church. I know Pentacostal movement is not responsible for *everyone* leaving God, but it is an issue with those who grew up in it.
    I loved your description of true faith and I still pray the prayer, just about every day, "Lord, I believe, help me with my unbelief." I think my biggest issue and fear about dying young and not seeing my kids grow up is the fear they would forget me, or more specifically forget how much I love them.
    Hannah

  16. Hannah thanks for your comment. I by no means believe that Pentecostals are responsible for the epidemic of Young adults leaving their faith. Pentecostalism is all I new growing up I can't speak to what Baptists, or Catholics struggle with growing up. I can say I believe the issue of faith and how I was taught it lead to many of my friends losing their faith when they graduated from High School because the never experienced or understood the Grace of God. They were never taught that God loves them with a never stopping, never ceasing, unbreakable always and forever love, and that because of that love we can trust God no matter what. I love being Pentecostal, I also want my kids to know that they are saved by grace, and that faith comes as a result of what Christ did not because of anything I can do.