After talking this Sunday about faith and what it means to live a life of faith, I wanted to find out what faith really is. Through the process, I came across an article about the abuse of faith and felt convicted. I wanted to share these not to discourage you, but to help us see where we need to grow in our understanding of faith. Many of these misconceptions came from an article called The (Ab)use of Faith by Jason Dulle.
1. “Faith is not denying reality, it is understanding God can change reality.”
I didn’t think I was prone to denying reality. I’m pretty sure I see reality clearly, for the most part. However, reading further into the explanation for that statement, I realized I have fallen into that way of thinking more than a time or two.
I can feel my sinuses congest and my head begin to throb and proclaim, “I’m not getting sick” to every person who asks how I’m feeling. Does that make me any less sick or any more faithful? It doesn’t change the reality that I am, in fact, getting sick. An example of genuine faith in that moment would be understanding that God can and will strengthen my immune system and prevent the sickness from ever coming to fruition.
2. “Faith is not telling God what we want and then believing hard enough in order to get it.”
Sounds a little like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, doesn’t it? It’s leaving the relationship aspect out of faith. It’s becomes less about a dialogue with our Creator or seeking His will in our situation and more about trying hard enough on our own. “Faith, then becomes hoping for something and praying hard enough and long enough until God gives us what we desire.”
3. Faith is not always reasonable and rational.
Sometimes it’s easy to rely on our own analyzation, evaluation, and prediction of potential scenarios and attribute it to our faith. Really, we just have a good inkling something is going to happen based on information.
“Some people never seem to have enough faith because they have turned faith into mental gymnastics wherein their will is imposed on God by ‘faith.’ Their lack of faith is not due to the fact that they are not spiritual enough, but because they have not yet given up the reigns of their life to God for Him to guide them and do what is best. What makes faith so difficult is that it demands that we relinquish all confidence in self, which includes our will, and rely solely on God. It demands that we quit trying to ‘make it happen’ and trust God ‘to make it happen’ in His way and in His time.”