Let’s get to the first question quickly: What is “faith”? Is the fact that I call myself a Christian make Christianity my faith? I would argue that Christianity is largely 3 things. Sociologically, it’s a movement. Culturally, it’s a religion. Spiritually, it’s a faith. The dictionary defines faith as “complete trust and confidence in someone or something”. Where does our trust lie? Does it really lie in an eternal perspective of God centered reality? Or is that just when we’re in church? Or in trouble? Perhaps we’re putting our trust in a certain activity, or a job and it’s title, or some person’s love and acceptance. How’s that working out for you?
So the real question is this; What does my faith look like? We can safely say that faith is not a set of rules; that’s religion. Neither is it a set of words and word pictures that I hold onto in order to describe God; that’s theology. My faith is basically the sum total of my physical life. It’s where my money is spent. It’s how my time is spent. It’s how I react to poverty in my city and around the world. It’s how I treat my family and friends (and enemies). It’s how I debate politics. It’s how I internalize the possessions I do have (blessed or need more). It’s what I watch on T.V or at the movies. It’s what I read. It’s the words I let fall out of my mouth about people. THAT’S my faith.
Will you take inventory with me for a moment?… Is your faith the faith you claim? Or is it a faith so far off from a public claim that you can only, honestly, say that you have faith in yourself and yourself alone? And doesn’t your past and perhaps even your present tell you that that’s possibly the weakest place wherein you could possibly build a so-called “faith”?
I have SO much work to do in this area. See, our faith is not how we feel. It’s not a box we check on our facebook’s info tab. It’s not even a set of ideals that draw out a picture of what we would like to be, someday, when we get it all together. Our faith is what we are now: today. I need to study my daily and hourly life. In the Bible, the book of James, chapter 2 says, “Faith without good works is dead”. This is saying that if I’m not making the choices and decisions that tell the story of my claimed faith, my faith, does not and cannot exist.
I realize that this entry isn’t a detailed and personal disclosure of the journey of my faith, but what I did intend to do was perhaps articulate more of an active, even invasive, definition of the word “faith”. A couple of folks that I follow on twitter even shared some quotes from A.W. Tozer on this very subject, confirming that I needed to work this out in my head, heart and hands. That’s pretty cool I think. Happy belated birthday to me!