Last Thursday I wrote a post entitled “Five Vital Things I Want My Children to Know About Church.” I have thought a great deal about that article and wanted to do a follow-up about a life of faith in general.
Here are some keys I want my children and you to know.
1. Faith is a marathon and not a sprint. This journey will last the rest of your life. The only way to survive is through regular daily discipline. It is great to read the Bible over a month, but it is better to read a little each day for 60 years. It is great to take an hour to pray during a difficult season, it is better to pray 5 minutes a day for 50 years. Serve selflessly every chance you get but pace yourself so that your service will last a lifetime.
2. God is never late, but also never early. One day you will ask God to show up. Soon you will begin to beg him. Then you will get desperate and convince yourself that he will never show up. At the moment, when you are about ready to give up, God will show up in a big way and answer your prayers better than you ever imagined. It will frustrate you and yet teach you patience. This will happen over and over in your life.
3. Failure is inevitable. Accept forgiveness. One day you will do something you never thought you were capable of doing. You will fail your God, yourself and possibly someone you love. You will hurt like never before. The brokenness you will feel is indescribable. God still loves you. He still offers forgiveness. You will need to accept it. You will need to believe it in your soul so that you can forgive yourself. You will need to walk in the grace and love of God, or your scars will never heal.
4. Your actions reveal what you really believe. It doesn’t really matter how many times you have prayed or attended Church. It doesn’t matter how many times you have read your Bible. Faith is not measured by our knowledge or our intentions. There have been thousands of people who have known the right things to do and yet not done it. Real faith is about action. It is about knowing the right thing to do and then going out and doing it. Anyone can talk a good game; the real thing walks the talk.
5. Most people you know will quit their faith. In John 6 Jesus preaches a sermon on “The Bread of Life.” The people are disappointed that he doesn’t just give them bread, and they clearly understand that he is calling them to a total life commitment. The end of the story is that crowd quickly leaves Jesus. One of the greatest surprises of this journey of faith is the number of people going the other way. They will get distracted by something momentary. They will give into to the temptations that surround them without restraint. They will simply get busy, and they will get bored. Stand strong despite the steady flow of people heading the wrong way.
I really wish I could write an article about how wonderful is the life of faith. The reality is that is both surprisingly hard and wonderful at the same time. It takes both brains and spiritual strength to make this journey of faith. One day you will look back in amazement at the journey God has taken you on through the years. Hang on, I know God has great plans for all of you.