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.
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”.