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Faith

We use the same words in the Christian community, but the meanings vary depending on the opinions and background of the person speaking.  One of the most common words that can be heard spoken often across the spectrum of Christianity is the word “faith”.  For some, it is an empty word that means throwing away all reason and taking a leap into the darkness.  For others, it is their belief that it is a sacred mantra that can coerce God to do what the person believes if that person has enough faith.  And, faith is a word that means wishful thinking to those that state with a sense of abandon, “All we can do is to trust God and have faith.”

Lots of folks have penned their thoughts on faith and the working of faith in a Christian life……

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie ten Boom.   “God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars.” Elbert Hubbard“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” Søren Kierkegaard“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring.

In a national study of Protestant churches done a number of years ago, Peter Benson and Carolyn Eklin surveyed hundreds of people and distilled seven characteristics of a mature faith. You may not agree with everything on their list, but it’s still instructive to look at their conclusions.

  1. Trusts in God’s saving grace and believes firmly in the humanity and divinity of Jesus.
  2. Experiences a sense of personal well-being, security, and peace.
  3. Integrates faith and life, seeing work, family, social relationships, and political choices as part of one’s religious life.
  4. Seeks spiritual growth through study, reflection, prayer, discussion with others.
  5. Seeks to be part of a community of believers who give witness to their faith and support and nourish one another.
  6. Holds life-affirming values, including commitment to racial and gender equality, affirmation of cultural diversity, and a personal sense of responsibility for the welfare of others.
  7. Serves humanity, consistently and passionately, through acts of love and justice. (Copied).

For any true Christ follower, the Bible is the final word on any doctrine or definition.  Scripture records…Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.  And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  (Heb. 11:1-3, 6).