I (Jennifer) labored over the topic of faith for this post. I’m not sure how to describe the seasons and my ever-growing understanding of faith. I define it like this—
Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. Hebrews 11:1 CSB
Faith can be as easy as sitting in a chair, knowing it will hold the weight; but it can seem as complex as stepping out of the boat onto the waves driven by strong winds (Matthew 14:21-33). How are these two scenarios related? It’s the unknown factor in both. The chair may not hold me. I may not walk on the waves; I might even drown. I’ve yet to suffer a panic attack over a chair, but the waves…those could terrify me.
My faith has been like that. Simple chairs. Crashing waves.
Faith requires following through when we can’t see the path we’ll take or the destination.
My experience of faith is like that. When I first began to live with God, I was happy to trust Jesus with my laundry list of sins. It was long and ugly. I had obviously offended God with my decisions if I just looked at the “Big Ten” in Exodus 20. My Bible showed every kind of proof that Jesus could be trusted with my sin. Through trust in Jesus’ payment at the cross I could have peace with the holy, perfect God.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 CSB (emphasis mine)
But, could I trust the Father with my “somewhere out there eternity” and my life? Life decisions are tiny and moment-by-moment—and they are monumental every so often. Can He be trusted with everything? This is all about the waves!
At the crux of it are two straightforward, difficult decisions: trust Jesus with your sins at the cross for the saving of your life and trust Him with more and more life choices for the direction and course correction of your life.
Having only a vague idea where each decision may land but making the decision based in biblical truth anyway—that’s faith. For some, that’s embarking on an exciting adventure. For others, it’s a frightening look at the waves, wondering if they will bear the weight. Faith is like that.
Something you should know is that I can be happy in the land of obvious, easy black and white. In one season of life I thought my faith was like that: things should fit neatly in the right-wrong or good-bad extreme categories. That feels easy when the discussion is about lying, stealing, and murder. It’s troubling when a beer, a tattoo, or junk food becomes the topic of conversation. I held strong, self-assured opinions, and I forced my perspectives and stark contrasts on others. I’m not proud of it. That had little to do with biblical faith.
And then God did something new.
One of many beautiful, golden threads woven into the fabric of faith is grace. Someone pointed out graceless words flowing from my heart, and I was stunned. Admittedly, my black-white paradigm was often unloving and uncaring when I talked with others.
“As a Christian, you can’t do THAT! You’re sinning!”
I couldn’t argue with the evidence. I had once cherished the grace upon grace I read about in the Bible, but I began to overlook the lovely gracious words to focus on the hard, “no wiggle room” truth. In my eyes, the scales of truth and justice became much larger than the distant, old, wooden cross.
Faith decisions only came out of extremes, rather than asking important questions—What does God have to say about this for me? What true and loving thing does He say about this for the people of God?
That season was longer and sadder than I’d like to admit, but by God’s grace I was drawn back to the Word of God again. Out of that precious time came a little known place in the blogosphere: Fragrant Grace.
That’s when faith, truth, and grace intertwined. So precious!
Then a new season began to take hold—the season I’m waking to and discovering now.
Just one thing: live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27a
When I remember Jesus’ incredible, loving sacrifice on the cross, it starts to get real. I accept the benefits of the blood of Jesus and His name as my identity confidently now and forever. As a daughter of God something in my heart, mind, words, and actions starts to look different (even if it’s far from perfect!). I’m not doing anything as if I earn points, but I do it because I love the One who assigned infinite value to my life by dying for me. I begin to want to live a life worthy of the God who saved me from myself and my sin. It’s a bit more bold and a little louder. Why? Because rightly placed and understood faith makes an eternal difference for me—and for every single soul on earth. And because I’m not sure the unseen, private faith turns out to be any faith at all.