The yesterday while I was stuck in traffic, my spiritual daughter who is 13 called me after she saw a church track that read “Faith isn’t faith until it’s all you’re holding on to”. Then she asked me “how can I know if my faith is enough?” This funny how God’s puts us in position to help other. A rainy Monday after a long day at work, stuck, not moving do to a accident and I’m asked to breakdown FAITH to my 13 year old. What a doesy, thanks God!
Before I could ask her anything, Just like a presumptuous teenager, she ran off that she looked up scriptures in her kid study bible on faith and came up with two of my favorites:
John 1:12 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
1 Timothy 1:16 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
That’s my girl! But then she stated she still was not sure about her’s? She said that she thinks she understands that a person either believes in God or doesn’t. So, if they believe in Christ and are saved, what more do you need to do? Isn’t that enough? Now just to remind you again she’s (13) asking these questions. I might admit I was proud and blown away all at the same tyme!
I tried my best not to be so Holy or Religious with my answer. I know she has a strong understanding of the word, but she’s still only 13. I explained that when it comes to salvation, a person is either saved or not saved. The Bible tells us that, spiritually, you are either dead or alive depending on whether you’ve accepted Christ. “We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5 CEV).
I explained that I don’t think measuring the health of your faith ends there. Your belief can be really alive, or kind of in a coma, or even dead. How do you measure it? Two questions came to mind, and I tried my best to ask her:
1) Are you trying to obey Christ’s commands? Most Christians live well for Christ in some areas of their lives, but struggle a lot in other parts. Even the Apostle Paul faced problems trying to do what was right. He said: “No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway” (Romans 7:19).
We all struggle and sin. But the important thing is whether we really desire to move closer and closer to God. If we are truly trying to live for God, we will regularly do things like pray, confess and turn away from our sins, read and study God’s Word, worship with others, and meet to learn with and from fellow Christians. And we will desire to remove stuff like gossip, jealousy, greed, lust, dishonesty, hatred and anger from our lives.
2) What’s the quality of your relationship with Jesus? Are you able to trust him, to exercise faith, to love? This goes beyond just how we act with me or your mother. It’s also in school or even when your at the park with your friends. Knowing Christ exists and being close to him are very different. You may love your mom. But let’s say you never talk to each other. Your relationship isn’t very healthy. With Jesus, we need to ask ourselves: What is our ability to respond to life with faith, hope and love? When your (BFF) breaks up with you or when a loved one passes away, can you lean on Jesus and expect him to redeem the situation? That’s an alive faith. Growth in Christ is not just avoiding sin, but is developing your ability to practice a living faith and confidence in God.
If you have no desire to grow, then you must seriously stop and ask if Christ has really come into our lives. You see, the Christian life isn’t just about whether or not we believe in God. It’s also about what we do with that belief. James 2:17 says this:
“Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all—it is dead and useless”.
- Moses ( Exodus 3:11; 4:1 )
- Abraham ( Genesis 12:10-13; 15:1-5 )
- Jacob ( Genesis 25:29-34; 27:1-46 )
- Elijah ( 1 Kings 19:4 )
- Peter ( Matthew 14:28-31; 26:69-75 )
- Thomas ( John 20:24-25 )
- The disciples ( Matthew 26:56 ).
These examples show that it isn’t the perfection of our trust that matters, but the perfection of God’s love and forgiveness. Perfect faith will be ours only when the Holy Spirit has completed His work of sanctification within us.
IN SUMMARY God not only convinces us, THROUGH FAITH makes us see what he sees, knowing what he knows… Faith is not based on what is not known – but on what is known. We cannot have faith in Christ until we know what Christ did. Given the context (Jesus telling a tree to die and it subsequently dying – and Peter seeming to be amazed at the fact it died) it is reasonable to think along those same lines – Jesus was saying (if I may paraphrase) Be like God in that you are fully assured that what you say will happen will come to pass.
As traffic began to slowly move forward finally after like twenty minutes of dead lock and my wipes swishing back and forth. She surprisingly asked me if she had the right understanding; “if your faith isn’t big enough for your life right now, it’s okay because God is. You may not be able to trust your faith, but you can trust that you are loved, you are forgiven, you are no longer alone. Because Jesus is really here for us and my faith is strong.”
And again I say “That’s my girl”!
“Be like God, in that you are fully assured that what you say will happen, and will come to pass.”