Read Deuteronomy 11:18-23
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalms 119:105)
One of the things I have noticed in the past several years of ministry, is that most people don’t know much about their own faith heritage. I certainly cannot speak for other faiths outside of Christianity, but within the Christian faith, there seems to be more people who DON’T even really know WHAT they believe, let alone why they believe it. To add to that, most people don’t even know the Bible that they claim their faith is based in.
As a Christian educator and, in particular, as someone who has taught many confirmation classes, I have made it a priority to encourage, promote and provide opportunity for Christian education. In confirmation class, I developed a curriculum in which the confirmands had to learn Christian history, become acquainted with doctrine and its historical and theological development, gain working knowledge of the way our church operates, and begin to think theologically for themselves. While, no doubt, this sounds like a lot for someone at the age of confirmation…my students will attest that the process was immensely rewarding for them as they grew in ways they didn’t know they could.
John Wesley believed in the vital importance of “attending to the ordinances of God.” In other words, in order to maintain our spiritual well-being, including spiritual growth, people need to actively participate in their faith. It is important for a Christian to be actively a part of the Christian community (aka church). It is important for a Christian to participate in the sacraments. It is important for a Christian to maintain a consistent prayer life. It is also vitally important for a Christian to study his or her Bible. And, of course, anyone who has read the Bible knows that it teaches us of the vital importance to serve others and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
The fact of the matter is that many people do not invest themselves in their faith. When it comes to their faith, most people only know what they have heard from others and have no real or personal understanding of why it is they believe what say they believe. They take what they hear at face value without ever really taking the time to probe into it. As a result, many people find themselves stagnating in their faith, rather than seeing themselves grow and transform. For many people faith is just another one of those “religious” words.
Today’s challenge…and to be honest, this is a challenge for the rest of our lives…is for us to begin to take our faith more seriously. We should be seeking to devote time to reading and getting to know Scripture. We should be seeking to join Bible and/or book studies to enhance our understanding. We should be seeking to participate in all of the ordinances of God so that we not only claim to believe, but that we also know WHAT we believe and WHY we believe it.
It is such conviction that will lead us to live out our beliefs. If we are merely claiming to believe something, then their is no REAL reason for us to carry it out beyond our mental assent. If we do not know WHAT we believe, there is no way we can act upon our beliefs. If we don’t know WHY we believe, then we will not have the conviction it takes to act upon those beliefs. So, take the challenge and find ways to grow in your faith. Seek to gain an understanding of what you believe and why you believe it, study the Bible and it’s historical contexts, and actively participate in the life and mission of the Christian community! Invest in your faith and you’ll find it was well worth the investment!
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Belief is so much more than mere mental assent.
Lord, spark a passion for investing in my faith and grounding myself in what I believe so that I may live in a way that reflects that faith. Amen.