Colossians 2:6-7 (The Message)
“My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.”
The phrase “owning your own faith” has been something I have been thinking about.
Dr. Phil says there are about 10 defining moments in everyone’s life. Seven are critical, and five are pivotal. I would have to agree with him.
I think about Abraham and Sarah and their story in the book of Genesis. They were called to leave the land of their fathers and go to a place they knew nothing about. By doing that, they had to stand on their own; they had to own their own faith.
Owning your own faith can be risky business. Just like everything else in life, we all have some concern as to whether or not we may fail. However, the difference is who your faith is in. It is not about you or me, the pastor at your local church, the leader of a Bible study or how strong you believe your faith to be. It is all about the one who holds us. It is more about Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is the one who initiates and perfects our faith.
Tolstoy, the Russian writer and philosopher said, “Faith is that thing which people live.”
No one is reconciled to God by someone else’s faith; we must each have our own faith in Jesus Christ.
I was blessed to have been born into a family that believed in God. My parents were both Christian, but members of different dominations. So the four of us kids went to church with mom.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when your relationship with God must become your own. As we grow up, we each face ‘line in the sand’ type of decisions. There were choices that I had to make on my own that really reflected my own personal faith, not the faith of my parents.
I remember at an early age—probably second grade—in gym class, we were asked to do something called the frog dance. It was just a little exercise where you squatted down and kicked your legs out to the side (This will give you some insight into my upbringing). I participated in the frog dance but with a heavy heart. I went home and burst into tears and confessed to my mom that that day in school I danced! I was sure I was going to hell, as my family did not dance! My mom very graciously explained that I was more than likely not going to go to hell, and she prayed with me. She then called the school and told them I was not allowed to dance. The next time, the very same exercise was called the frog kick and it was completely OK. No tears of guilt!
I believe this was one of those critical times in my life. It started me thinking, “Why did the word dance make a difference?” I was doing the same thing. It was exercise. The other part to this was that I began to realize that there would be a time when I would need to stand up for what I believe. Mom will not be the one calling the school, but I would need to state that I was going to or not going to do something on the spot, based on what I believed in my heart to be right or wrong.
I became bolder. There was a decision that I had to make on my own when I was in the eighth grade. My friends’ parents began to take vacations without their children. We were old enough to be trusted, or had older siblings that were in charge. There were occasions when alcohol was introduced. I knew what this could do to families. I had an uncle who was addicted. I clearly stood for what I knew to be the best decision for me, and that was, ‘I don’t drink, and I won’t try it.’ All through high school this was my stand. In fact, I had not ever tasted beer until I was 40 years old!
One more story: I fell in love with my husband, Dan, the summer of my junior/senior year in high school. Because of our differing Christian beliefs, we had some heated discussions about child rearing and what church would we attend, etc. Together, we had to decide what was right for us as a couple. We were married several years later, and after 35 years, we are still together and have the ability to calmly discuss our faith with each other and bridge the gaps of our differences.
There are many other things that have happened in my life, during which I have had to stand on my own faith:
There are some wonderful traits that I see in people who live out their own faith, rather than simply depend on outside influences to fulfill their needs:
I’d like to share a short Skit Guys video clip. It’s called “What I Believe,” and talks about John 3:16. Sometimes, we are not sure what we believe or how we should think about a situation. But we should have a foundation for our faith.
Let me know if there are certain aspects of faith you’d like me or one of the other Mission Effectiveness staff at the Good Samaritan Society to write about in future articles.
May God bless you in your spiritual journey!
By Gail Deckert
Mission Effectiveness Administrative Assistant