If you are like me, you may struggle with your faith as I have. As a new Christian I was daunted by what I thought it meant to walk in faith. Though I was eager to learn, I had no deep root yet with which to anchor me so I was tossed about and buffeted by the temperamental winds of doctrine. The storms of doubt and confusion stirred up in their wake battered me and I was nearly uprooted before I had even begun to grow. In desperation, I cried out to God for peace that only His wisdom could bring and I set out to seek the truth beyond the veil of the tempest.
The bible says, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” and that is why I have long believed that there must be a simple underlying truth within the gospel message, one that pierces the fog of personal opinion, doctrine and denomination with the clarity of its simplicity. What I discovered was that the truth at the heart of our faith is very simple indeed and unites all authentic believers under the single banner of the God’s Kingdom.
“With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32
If the Kingdom of God is a mustard seed then I believe it is distributed among the hearts of mankind in the form of faith. God graciously gifts a specific measure of faith to every individual and the authority to choose where it is sown. Though there are many fields in this world, Jesus is the only field where salvation, the pearl of great price, is hidden and if we sow our faith in Him, we will reap the harvest of salvation.
Within each mustard seed of faith lies the imprint of the character of our Savior. Like a fingerprint, it is impressed upon us the moment we plant our faith in Him and become new creations. This character is the very nature of our Messiah and it is the same nature that now resides in us. Within this new nature, are seven core attitudes and their corresponding responses fundamental to an authentic relationship with God. As long as we abide in Christ, i.e., walk in Him, our spiritual life is self-perpetuating meaning simply, that the attitudes produce the response which fuel the attitudes which reproduce the response, and so on.
The word says we are all called to one faith and this, I have found, is the upward call of God at the heart of the gospel, at the heart of our faith. God calls each of us to submit humbly (Psalm 51:17; Prov. 22:4; James 4:10), believe confidently (Psalm 9:10; Prov. 3:5-6; Eph. 3:12), repent sincerely (2Chron. 7:14; Ezekiel 18:30; Rev. 3:19), seek earnestly (2Chron. 7:14; Jer. 29:13; Amos 5:4), love absolutely (Eph. 5:1-2; Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18), testify boldly (Mat. 10:32; Psalm 66:16; Rev. 12:11) and endure resolutely (Heb. 10:36; James 5:11; James 1:2-4). While these characteristics that we are to exemplify are truly impossible in our own might, the beauty in this design is that we are only called to be that which we already are in Him. This is what it means in Ephesians 2:10 when it says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
God has done all the real work but that doesn’t mean faith is effortless. Of course no amount of spiritual discipline and self-control on our part could create God’s character in us, however, through their faithful application, we can continue in the one He has already created in us through His Son. Essentially, all we have to do is not turn to the right nor the left and as Walt Disney said, “keep moving forward.”
It sounds simple, right? Except maybe for that word ‘faithful’. Having a lot of inconsistency in my past, I have always found that word a bit daunting. Many confuse the faithfulness of man with infallibility. However, faithfulness is the perfecting of our faith. It describes the practice of our faith made habit, not our flawless execution of its practice. In other words, faithfulness does not describe our being perfect but our being perfected. So fear not!
Well, there you have it, in the smallest nutshell I could fit it in, the truth I have struggled for so very long to write and even longer to learn. I believe that the truth of this simplicity is the reason Jesus said His yoke is light and His burden easy. We don’t have to try and become something we are not, we only have to rest and walk in what He has already made us to be and while walking by faith may not be effortless, it really is rather simple and that is good news indeed!
Enjoyed the read, James. You have a great way of putting it down in a way that is easily understood. Keep up the good work!