What is your faith? Can you say that it is really yours? You can play the game all you want, blend in with everyone else just to get along, enjoy the freedom of “doing your own thing,” but at the end of the day where do YOU stand? What do you personally hold to when “push comes to shove?” It’s one thing to be somewhat contrary with others, flying all over if only to intellectually spar, but have you ever landed your plane? What can you say is your own faith? Or, is it someone else’s naturally inherited from your parents? Is it some faith conveniently accepted from your place of worship? What is your faith?
Personally I found that not only is my faith a gift to me (Eph. 2:8-9), but it also is to be discovered, developed and nurtured. It is a faith that I must actually own for myself. As for me, it was a process; far from something achieved over night. It took intentionality on my part (and still does), much of which I wrestled with over time. In the end, I still have not yet “arrived,” but I am all the more certain of what is truly mine.
Here are some suggestive phases I believe you may have to go through to own your faith, apart from or along with others:
- SEPARATE from someone else’s system of belief (family, friends, etc.)
- Often involves a degree of honest personal frustration, anger, rebellion or even complete rejection
- Acknowledge that you have a faith (versus none at all) no matter what other’s say to the contrary
- IDENTIFY with the faith that you have (not necessarily systematically)
- Often requires going deep; getting personal (if only privately)
- Describe or articulate what you believe (which may or may not differ from others)
- Write it down as best as you are able (without it becoming a task)
- GROW your faith through listening, reading, studying further what you believe
- Often becomes a restlessness or nagging inquisitiveness to understand more
- Test your faith (dialog, debate with others about what you believe) to see how it holds up to other beliefs
- Make necessary adjustments or adaptations as you deem necessary so that your faith remains organic (Note: prepare for personal paradigm shifts along the way or admitting where you were wrong about what you once believed)
- APPLY your faith to your daily life (so that it is more than just a belief system)
- Often takes stepping out of personal comfort zones
- Identify and grow with others who hold the same faith as yours (faith in isolation easily
- can in time become ingrown and stagnant)
- Practice being disciplined in exercising your faith on a daily basis
This is not to assume that your faith is somehow to be unique. Mine isn’t. But it’s still my faith! However, this is to encourage you that your faith is not to be something that is pulled off some dry, dusty shelf, nor is it to be plucked out of thin air. Rather your faith is to be alive and living; a genuine gift of God birthed within you, opened, matured, and enjoyed — owned by you.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13