A Spiritual Conundrum
One day a young circuit riding preacher approached John Wesley concerned about the state of his own faith. Legend has it that Wesley’s counsel to the young preach was “preach faith until you have faith.” At face value you might find that maddeningly unhelpful. If one is not sure about their own faith, how in the world could that same person preach it to another. The answer to this riddle lies within the very nature of faith itself.
What Does It Mean to Have Faith?
There are some traditions in the church that view faith as a finite set of theological propositions. If you subscribe to this set of statements then you have faith. There is a problem that emerges when faith is boiled down to assent to a set of statements. For generations, people of faith have gone deeper than human intellect to encounter God. They have discovered that trusting in God’s presence and work is more important than propositional assertions. I’m one of those folks who like to dig deeper than theological statements. While I do find the propositional statements valuable to my understanding of who God is, my faith is rooted in the ways that I experience God as a reality in my life. Therefore every prayer I offer, every service I render and every time I open Scripture I have an opportunity for my faith to grow.
Walking Through The Door
When our beliefs become the totality of our ‘relationship’ with God, faith can easily resemble our high school yearbook. A yearbook represents a set of memories that are important to us. Yearbooks often sit in a prominent place on our shelf. We can point to them as an important part of our life. However, it is rare that we actually open them. Jesus reveals God as relationship partner. As with every other relationship we value, we can grow in our understanding and trust in God. We can grow in our experience of God who is present daily in our life. God seeks relationship with us so that we might live new and transformed lives. God’s love poured out in our life empowers us to transcend all we encounter that would sap the life and vitality from us. We live into this faith through a growing life of prayer. Our understanding grows when we reflect on our experience through the lens of Scripture. Our witness grows when we learn to see the world through God’s eyes and serve aligned with that vision.
A Place For Resources
The Upper Room is a place to find resources on prayer and growing in faith. If you’re looking for access to a daily devotional here is a good place to start. The main Upper Room site can be reached here.