When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 1 Cor 13:11
Let’s challenge our thinking, specifically how we carry out our faith, as we seek to put our childish ways behind us.
I used to boast that I took the bible literally.
Then I heard about a book called, How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth. I also listened to a tape series by a scholar on the historical Jesus. I learned that the Bible is made up of many kinds of literature including; prophecy, poetry, letters, genealogical, historical, legal, and parables. The gospels, although inspired, were written by four different authors to four different audiences.
Although I wanted it to interpret the bible literally, it isn't a history book. It's so much richer and beautiful than that. I wanted it to be literal so I wouldn’t have to question anything in it. That was childish thinking. As an adult, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
Adulthood is difficult, however. In addition to reading the Bible for all it was worth, I also had to rely on the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus walked the earth, he didn’t instruct us to write down everything he said and read it over and over. Instead, He told us that God would be sending us a gift, the Holy Spirit, to guide us.
Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:4
What a perfect plan! Having the Holy Spirit live in us is like always having the most current version of software on your computer!
Although I believe some fundamental truths about my faith, it'll continue to be challenged. I believe God wanted it that way. None of us have all the answers right now. It’s childish to think we do. It’s arrogant and proud. It leaves His gift of the Holy Spirit out of the equation.
I have to continue to challenge my thinking and listen to God's voice, the Spirit. As I've grown in my spiritual life, I’ve learned new things not only through reading the scriptures but through my struggles, through writers who are inspired by God today, through pastors, teachers, friends and family. All of these are gifts. My faith is evolving and changing. It isn't the faith of my childhood or the same as any decade since. It will become greater and wider based on what the Spirit and life teach me.
Things change – we all know that. Cars have changed, the way we raise children has changed, relationships have changed, our food supply has changed, science keeps changing and of course, technology changes. Most of these changes are for the good but some aren’t.
My parents lived through the depression. When 9/11 hit, my dad who was 73 at the time, wanted to enlist to fight for our country. That’s a kind of patriotism that hardly exists today! Because she was a woman, my mom saw herself as second class. That idea was common then but thankfully less common now. My parents trusted every single word their doctor told them and believed that their priest had the final word on spiritual matters. It's no longer necessary to solely rely on others for decisions best made by ourselves.
To adapt to our changing world, we have to challenge our thinking and change. Our faith can’t be any different. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit as we respond to the current challenges and opportunities in front of us. We have to adapt in order to be relevant and share our God-given gifts and talents.
If we cling to past ways of thinking, we lose our ability to be used by God in the current time. The more we know, the more our faith can become. That's where the Holy Spirit's guidance comes in. We don't need to be afraid of change, we need to embrace it.
Here are some questions for you to challenge the thinking of your own faith journey.
- What do you believe about faith?
- What parts of your faith are yours and what parts are simply remnants of your parent’s faith?
- Does faith scare you? Why or why not?
- Do you have room for both science and faith in your life? Why or why not?
- How much of your faith has been put there by your peer group? Is that a good idea?
- Do you find it difficult to learn about faith because it’s wrapped up in ‘religion’? What’s the solution?
- Where do you go with your questions about faith? Is that a reliable source?
- How has your faith evolved over time? Is it moving in a positive direction?
Statement of faith
I challenge you to write your own statement of faith. Make sure you believe it. Then tell someone about it.
Allow your faith to change over time. Look forward to where you’ll go in the future.
Here are some definitions of faith to help you get started.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
2. 2a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religionb (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof <clinging to the faith that her missing son would one day return> (2) : complete trust
3. 3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing; or the observance of an obligation from loyalty; or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement or it may refer to a particular system of religious belief,such as in which faith is confidence based on some perceived degree of warrant.
Read my other blogs about challenging your thinking:
Mental Health - Challenge Your Thinking - Growing Mentally and Emotionally
Physical Health - Challenge Your Thinking About Your Body