My #2 Pencil Faith illustration originally grew out of an attempt to calm the nerves of people I met who believed their walk with the Lord had come to an impasse. Some feared a complete meltdown of faith and wondered if God was not already punishing them for their failure to stand up under their circumstances.
If life is a journey and if faith is a learning experience, then our conversation of faith must be seen as a novel, not a cliché slapped on a bumper sticker or trinket we purchase at our local Christian bookstore. As well, faith itself must be linked to our relationship with Jesus, and can never be seen as an indication of individual achievement.
When I talk with people going through a trial, I am always amazed by how quickly they revert to a work-based faith. I am not talking about the erroneous notion of salvation by works, but rather the idea that faith itself is a work. I have discovered this is what is swirling around in people’s minds as they try to figure out why God hasn’t answered their prayers as they had hoped. They surmise it is because they lack faith, and they speculate on how much more faith they might need to gain God’s favor. Exactly how such a faith can be acquired is a bit of a mystery to them. Perhaps if they worship more, pray with greater fervor, or do some good deed God will affirm them. I am not suggesting these are bad activities, but rather that this is a mistaken view of faith, and one that leads to unnecessary distress.
Do you believe you have ever tried to build a “works-based” faith? How can this approach turn a good activity into a negative one?
Dear God, help me put my trust in You alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.