How to prove your faith.
Somewhere amidst all the chaos of the past few weeks, I’ve read a book by Helen Roseveare called “Living Faith.” It’s all about asking God to stir in our hearts and encouraging us to give, to go, and to pray. (Can anyone say 365:24/7?) I thought this would be a quick read, since the thesis is something I’ve been walking through in my personal life for the past two years. However, I’ve been challenged by the book’s entirety, especially this quote:
“Seeking results is often a not-very-subtle means used to prove the reality of one's faith, when in actual fact it only shows the existence of doubts in one's minds. Results per se are not proof of the existence of faith, any more than the lack of visible results are the proof of the absence of faith.”
Whoah. I’m not entirely sure how this message hits me, but I know that it does. To whom am I trying to prove my faith through my actions? The outside world? My inner circle? WGM? God? Myself? And at what point do I think that I will achieve or find the approval I am looking for?
And the biggest question of all: how do I move from this place of proving faith to a place of resting confidently in God’s promises?
Roseveare gave another thought to ponder. She says that a person’s faith cannot grow over time; what grows is one’s awareness of the faith that has already been given by the Lord. For example, when I made the decision to follow God's calling to Uganda, that action did not increase my faith, but it simply made me more aware of the faith that He has already placed within me. I have never heard faith explained in this way, and it's given me a lot to think about.
Several weeks ago I was really struggling to get out of bed in the morning. It seemed like no matter how much work I did, it just wasn't enough for the people I was ministering to. Yes, I was at this one event, but why wasn't I at this other one? "Have you been lost?" "Do you not enjoy it?" "I thought you had left forever." It seemed like everywhere I turned I was letting someone down, which left me feeling like I didn't want to try at all. Didn't these people know that I'm learning how to rest!?
Now I've found freedom (or at least I'm working towards freedom) in Roseveare's quote. I don't have to prove that I am faithful: not to others, not to God, and not to myself. My faith is rooted in my personal relationship with Him, believing without visible proof that He sent His Son to die for my sins. While He does ask me to take steps of obedience, those steps are not the source of my faith. God Himself is the source.
I've been praying through Hebrews 11, and verse 1 is something I've heard a lot but never truly understood:
"Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen."
I am still processing these new ideas about faith, but I do know that I have confidence that God will keep His promises, even when I don't see how it will work out.
Lord, thank you for taking old verses and making them new. Thank you Lord that my faith is not dependent on my own actions and results, or even Your own visible acts, but that it is defined by our relationship with one another. Please help me to know this truth and live it out day by day. Amen.
I have a huge praise report, friends! University Discipleship Movement is officially functioning at its new location! Thank you for your prayers of energy and financing for such a massive job. I am so proud of our students for stepping up and getting the work done (and you best believe ya girl did some heavy lifting too).
Please continue to pray for UDM as we begin the next phase of renovations. We are praying that the Lord would keep the construction workers safe as they work, and that He would financially provide what is needed to complete those renovations and purchase the property (we are currently renting with the intention to buy).
Please pray for the WGM team as many of us (including myself) are traveling this week to different places around Uganda. If you would like to pray by name: Brady and Alicia, Kenneth and Delight, Nathan, Jonathan and myself.
Last week I asked for prayer regarding the Dignity Project's new book. Here we are a week later and I still haven't touched it. Please pray that I would be able to balance my time well and actually have time to write and edit!