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Belief vs. Faith

I was challenged in my faith the other night by someone who was raised in a church going family. It was one of those experiences that not only impacted the person I was talking with but also impacted me.

Someone called me up and was very upset because of a failed relationship. She had broken up with someone but was still upset because she felt she would never find someone to trust. Not that this guy actually gave her reasons not to trust him. It was more along the line that she used her past experiences to question him and, when he didn’t give her the answers she wanted, she ended up breaking up with him.

She has many other dramas going on her life but most of the drama is not really real. She tends to extrapolate from the past in order to project drama onto her present and then imagine possible future failures. She went on and on and on about all the troubles in her life and then she asked me how I remained calm with everything going on in my life, i.e. unemployment, lack of money, lack of job prospects, etc.

I hesitated for a moment and debated quickly about whether or not to give her a flip answer and assure her all would be fine or to give her the truth. I settled quickly on the truth. So I told her that I prayed. She said that praying would not put food on the table. I kind of gasped and asked her where did she think that food and other necessities come from? I answered her before she had a chance to reply and explained that God provides everything I need and everything she needs.

I then launched into what could only be described as a mini-sermon siting Bible stories and explaining about God’s role in my life and hers. When I was finished, after about 15-20 minutes, I then said “And that is my sermon for the day”.

She then said she believed in God but she had a problem with believing as strongly as I do. We talked for a few more minutes and I ended up launching into another mini-sermon ending that with “And that will be my second sermon of the day”.

After we talked a while longer, she felt better about where her life is going and we ended the conversation. Then I began thinking about what had happened. I realized that it wasn’t me speaking to her but the Holy Spirit speaking through me. Otherwise I would not have remembered all those Bible stories and put them in the proper context.

But then I began thinking about belief versus faith. It occurred to me that many people believe in God. A HUGE number of people believe in what they like to refer to as a higher power. But they don’t have faith. Without faith, belief is simple a hollow thing.

Belief is head based. Faith is heart based.

Plain and simple.

It isn’t enough in this world to just believe in God. If you don’t have faith to back up your belief, you end up floundering in the world and being panicked and scared when Life throws it’s troubles at you.

Faith is knowing in your heart that God is in charge and he will take care of you. It may not look the way you want or the results may not be what you think they should be but it will be what he feels is best in the grand scheme of things.

The person I was talking to the other night brought up this guy who was shot in Portland last week. She wanted to know why God let that happen. I said that God didn’t “let” it happen but it happened. And maybe it was that guy’s time to go home to God. Who are we to say. I think that is what launched me into the story of Jonah. Especially this part of the story from Jonah chapter 4 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+4&version=NIV).

It isn’t up to us to question God. He is far above us in thought and his ideas are far beyond our ideas. I believe this and I have faith in this.

Granted, I have my moments of despair. I have my moments of crying out to God and yelling at him to make my life better. But then I calm down and spend time just praying and talking to him and he brings me peace and strengthens me. He assures me that he has plans to prosper me and he always, always, ALWAYS takes care of me. Then I am better. Because I have belief and faith.

So, just out of curiosity, do you believe in God? Is it just that or do you also have faith in God?

Try this prayer out: “Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief. Strengthen my weak and flickering faith. Amen”

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