Friday, August 26, 2005

Deconstructing Your Faith

As I approach my new series on "how to find faith" (September 4) I'm anticipating that for many believers, this series will challenge their faith in a way that's surprising. As I help those with no faith process the road to faith, undoubtedly there will be some (if not many) that have a faith that will realize that the faith they have no longer holds water. They will realize that their faith is not a good faith and before they can go forward they really need to go back - to "deconstruct" their faith - to dismantle it and start over.

For some, this will feel like losing faith. What once was so sure, so settled, will suddenly become weak and possibly even give way completely. That's not a bad thing if their faith was built on a foundation of sand to begin with. What IS bad is to have a faith that leads to a superficial or self-serving lifestyle. What IS bad is to have a faith that allows oppression and injustice in the home the church or the world. What IS bad is to have a faith that doesn't connect with God but only produces meaningless religious activity. So the best thing a true seeker can do is to back up and make sure their faith is solid - that it's a faith that pleases God.

I think many people come to a quick conclusion about faith and as a result it either leads them to a bad place or a boring place. But I want to encourage you to take time in your approach to faith. I don't mean be lax or lazy about it. I mean be willing to ask lots of questions. Don't assume too much or jump to conclusions. It's like marriage. There are many divorces because there are few that take a slow and reasoned approach to their commitment. In the same way, there are many who jettison their "faith" because they mistakenly "came to faith" for the wrong reasons. I'll talk about those reasons soon.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Are You Afraid of Jesus?

I met with a young man the other day who was clearly in the grasp of God. It was like I could see his mind changing and his whole life shifting in front of me.

I got a kick out of what he said though. He said he was reading through the Old Testament and enjoying it. But he was afraid to get to the part about Jesus. When I asked him why he said that, he was afraid that he'd believe it. I said, "So what's wrong with that?" And he said, "I don't know if I can do it. And I don't know if I want to be like that." "Be like what?" I asked. "Well, you know, religious - go to church all the time and never swear and be nice." I laughed and told him that God wasn't grabbing a hold of him so he could be nice and religious. How boring is that?

Did he really think that the God of the universe, the God who spoke the world into existence, has nothing more exciting to do in his life than to make him nice? I told him that God wants to flip every switch inside of him and make him more alive than he's ever been. God wants to "pull out all the stops" and breathe life into him like he's never lived it before.

He stopped me and said that that was already true. He said that his world had turned to black and white after his girlfriend died. He became self-destructive and cruel. But ever since he started being open to God the color has come back into his life. The grass was greener and the sky was bluer than it had ever been. He smelled things that he hadn't smelled in years.

I said, "That's just the beginning. God wants to show you things and do things in your life that you haven't even dreamed of. So throw out your ideas of what it means to be religious and get ready for God to blow you away."

It was quite the conversation. I don't know if I've ever shared my faith with someone who lit up quite like he did. I tell you about it here because maybe you need to hear these things. Maybe you are hesitating to follow Jesus because you are afraid that he will subtract from your life and not add to it. Don't believe that for a minute. He's got things in store for you that you can't imagine. So don't lose another minute. Life is too short.