I saw this quote recently on Facebook and it got me thinking... We talk often about the journey of life, describing the metaphor of life being like travelling on a long road with all of its ups and downs. In Christian circles, we also talk about Faith as a journey. We ask "how are you going in your faith journey?" or "how are you travelling in your faith?"
These questions can be really obscure to a person who does not understand our Christian jargon! But this quote I think speaks to something that even the most unchurched person can associate with: that faith can be a guilt trip!
This is why I think this is a great quote and why I chose to put it up on our church sign today... There is a universal quality about the fact that religion is so often prescriptive and about rules and regulations, well what if I told you that faith does not have anything to do with that! What if I told that your faith has a lot more to do with the times where you are breaking the rules of religion... or the times where you are failing as a religious person than the times where you are winning?
The author of Hebrews gives us the best definition of faith we find in the Bible:
"...faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1 [NIV]
So then faith is not really about what you know... but what you don't know, faith is not really about what you have... but what you hope for, faith is not really about what you see... but what you don't see!
So why have we made being a person of faith something that is about what we see? Why have we made it about the regular church attendance or the appearance of Christianity? And probably more to the point, how have we gotten so far from the reality of faith that we have forgotten the Apostle's words:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9 [NIV]
So if it's not by works, then we cannot make faith... or even allow faith to become a guilt-trip! We do not to justice to the cross of Jesus Christ if we allow for our own conceit and pride in how we do church, or how we pray, or how we consider others get in the way of what faith is meant to be... a journey!
Faith should be the truest journey of all! It should be about stepping out of our comfort zones and onto the path that God has in store for us. It should be a road that we do not know... but a destination that we're familiar with, a road that has dips and bumps and winds at times, but that also has long stretches with scenic vistas and breathtaking scenery! If this is the faith journey you're on, let me commend you! Stay the course, because God has great things for you in your faith journey... But if you're not on such a faith journey, maybe because you did always think faith was a guilt-trip; then perhaps this is the time to look to Scripture, look to your fellow believers... and be prepared to step out in faith!