The who, what, when, where, how & why of FAITH

Faith_Faithful_EasterMy personal focus word for this year is faithful. When I chose the word, it was within the context of being faithful to my promise and to my promises. That is key in my life right now because it is a very real struggle, one that by choosing the word I fully acknowledged. I want to be faithful. I yearn to be faithful. And I have found that it is not easy. Because there are many influences inside of me and in my environment that quite often encourage the opposite of faithful. And some of them are there for a good purpose.

Blind faith is not necessarily a good thing. I am learning that there is a middle ground between absolute faith in something and impervious skepticism. It is the place of the student. One of my brothers puts it this way: Trust, but verify. So what happens when you can’t verify? When faith and trust are in fact the ultimate intuitive judgment call? That is the ageless question that faces many of us particularly when it comes to faith within a spiritual context.

What do you accept as proof? How do you believe purely on the basis of faith at a deep enough level for it to challenge and change you? For me, it comes down to this: We must make a decision, a choice based on what we do know.  In too many cases, we drift into our spiritual belief system based on the experiences of our childhood. We either reject what we experienced because we saw hypocrisy or experienced some perceived personal harm or we embrace it as a part of a legacy we’re intended to continue. Neither of those are, in fact, a valid choosing, they are default responses. We must each make a definitive choice or it is not our belief.

For me, it became a matter of three questions:

  1. Do I know what I believe?
  2. Do I know what I don’t believe?
  3. How do I demonstrate my belief?

The core word in all three questions? I

I often refer to my early mentor, Jim Rohn and on this subject he was a critical catalyst.  Here are his thoughts paraphrased:  Whatever you believe, be certain that is the product of your own conclusion. It is at the core of your personal philosophy and will impact everything you do in life. Start there. Be clear that your belief system and philosophy is the product of your own conclusion.

Are there hard facts to back up my belief? Perhaps or perhaps not. But there was sufficient evidence for me throughout history and in my own life to persuade and answer my questions.

Am I clear about what I believe? Yes. There isn’t anything ambiguous about my belief.

Am I clear about what I do not believe? In general. But it is here that there is always room for study and questions. From that will come more answers. In only choosing to be absolute in what I believe, I have created a better place for continued growth and understanding.

How do I demonstrate my belief? Here is where it all comes together because in truth, I demonstrate it in everything. If it is a true belief it influences everything. I believe in God as my creator. I believe I am made in His image and that I too have the ability and need to create. I believe in God as my companion. I believe I was made for the purpose of having a relationship with God.  That means an active and ongoing conversation with Him where we both listen and speak. I believe in God as my father. This carries the willingness to follow His guidance and teachings. That means I must study those and continue to grow in my understanding of what He expects of me and from me. I believe in God as my savior. This allows me to experience forgiveness and freedom at a fundamental level. It also means that I accept responsibility for the decisions I make and accept their outcome with respect but without fear.

That is my belief. My belief also includes that I was not created to dictate your belief. Only my own. This is the ultimate expression of personal responsibility. To celebrate my own belief I must acknowledge your freedom to choose your own without judgment. Because in the end, my belief was born from ultimate and unconditional love.

  • We create in love.
  • We communicate in love.
  • We grow in love.
  • We live in love.

That is the essence of what I believe and is my faith. It is then the essence and basis of faithful. As I was writing about this today I was reminded that it is only by practicing my faith that I am able to be faithful. A life that is created, shares, grows and is ultimately expressed in love including for ourselves, can only produce a life that has that as its outcome. It is only when we deviate from that guidance system that we falter.

A quote I saw recently was this:  “Strive to be remembered for what you would die for.” Powerful. That is what this Easter is about for me. A reminder that we must always do that knowing by faith that ultimately, when we are remembered for what we would die for, it is because that is what we lived for.  A compelling view of purpose.

Live well.

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