Monday, July 7, 2014

Faith - Maybe not what we think it is

When I hear people talk about faith, it is often talked about in terms of "no fear" or "no worry".  While I think we should always strive to not fear or worry, I think faith is more than simply not fearing.

I read a book by Jim Cymbala a few years back, and there's a quote of his which continues to strike me.  In referencing the faith of David, he says this: “David doesn’t say, ‘I am never attacked by fear,’ but rather ‘when I am afraid, I will trust in you…I will not be afraid.’” – Jim Cymbala

In other words, faith isn't about not having anything to fear or worry about.  Faith is about our response to these things.  If we would be willing to treat the initial stages of fear and worry as if they are temptations, I think the approach would be different.

Let me give an example.  If I am tempted to lie, the temptation itself is not a sin.  We all know this.  No one would accuse someone who is tempted to lie, but who told the truth instead, of sinning.

Nor, then, should we accuse those who are attacked by things which cause worry and despair to necessarily be lacking faith.  Certainly if they give in to these things, their faith needs to be examined.

If you struggle with faith, having fear and worry is not the problem.  It is when you give in to these things that it becomes a real problem.

On the other hand, if you will respond like David, who says that "when I am afraid, I will trust in you" (Psalm 56:3), then we are responding to these situations in a much better way.

So if you are one of those people who struggles with faith, let me encourage you.  Don't consider yourself defeated every time fear and worry comes into your life.  Instead, take the opportunity during those times to rest in God, whether through prayer, music, nature, Scripture reading or calling a Christian brother or sister for encouragement.

Be encouraged.  You are not alone.  The "man after God's own heart" (David), went through these same struggles.