How Do You Have Faith When You Don’t Have Faith?

Screenshot 2018-08-30 at 12.20.33 PM“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

This was the confession of the father who’s boy had been possessed with an impure spirit. He desperately wanted and needed to believe that Jesus had the power to deliver his son. And, yet, this wasn’t the first time someone had claimed to be able to help his son. There had been others. They had not only failed him. They had taken advantage of him…his deep desperation to see his son delivered.

Ever been there?

After all the stuff I’ve done, after all the things that have been done to me…could God really forgive me? make me new?

The good news seems to too good to be true.

The gospel seems unbelievable.

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

How do you have faith when you don’t have faith?

Let these truths sink in:

  • Faith is not an emotion. Faith is not something one possesses. Faith is something one chooses. 
  • Faith is not about what you feel. Faith is what you declare based on God’s revealed truth.


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There are days, when for no reason, I feel anxious about stuff.

I am not normally that way.

99% of the time, I am pretty well grounded and secure because I know God is in control. But every once in a while I go through spats when I’m just anxious…anxious about stuff…anxious about everything.

I’ve noticed that these spats of anxiety seem to accompany times when I am not feeling well, not getting enough sleep and rest. So I am sure lack of sleep and rest has something to do with it. I haven’t slept much in the last couple of days as I’ve been traveling on my way back from Bangkok.

Here’s what else I noticed about anxiety. Anxiety isn’t just bad for one’s health and well-being. But anxiety is an offense to a loving and caring God.
Anxiety is the antithesis to faith.

You see, anxiety my anxiety was saying to God, “You can’t take care of me. You can’t protect me. You can’t satisfy me.”

How absurd! How egregious! How offensive to a God who died for me on the cross!

As soon as I realized how absurd this was to God, I confessed and repented, guess what? Anxiety is gone! God took care of it. I don’t know how it works, but that’s what happened.

I don’t want to make light of those who suffer seasons of anxiety nor those who battle with depression. I don’t know why this doesn’t work for you in the same way. But I do want you to know that you are not alone for God is with you. And if you find yourself in a dark season, please know that people love you and God does too. Please seek help. Let someone know. Do not go through this season alone.

Now for the rest of us, know that God loves you, God wants what is best for you, and God is with you too.

Turn and trust God.

Oh, and get some sleep!

Faith and the Idolization of Individualism

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As Americans, there are fewer things we value more than our individualism.

This idolization of individualism has lead to a myriad of issues. One of the serious consequences of this individualism is putting the self at the center of what is and what is not true. In this highly individualistic culture, the self has become the ultimate determinant for what is true and what is not.

  • No longer do we accept a higher authority – God – as the determiner of what is right or wrong. If what God says doesn’t jive with me and my  experience, my personal experience trumps God’s standards.
  • No longer do we accept a shared-cultural understanding of social and moral norms.
  • What works for you doesn’t work for me. As long as what I believe and what I do doesn’t hurt you, who are you to tell me that what I’m doing is wrong?

One of the problems of this heightened individualism is that the individual experience is never sufficient for properly understanding the world around us.

We need the voice and the experiences of others. We need the wisdom and the value of others to help us to get a proper perspective of the world. Our understanding and our perspective will always be limited and incomplete without the voice of others.

I write all this because, it seems to me, the idolization of individualism has worked its way in how American Christians view our faith. We place our individualistic experience, our personal understanding of what God says above all other authorities. We have a hard time submitting to the understanding, teaching, and the authority of the church.

What we seek – the connection between who God is and who we are on a personal level – is not a bad thing. This is, in fact, a good thing. Who God is must make a difference at a personal level.

However, how we pursue this as individuals in a culture that has made an idol of individualism is the problem.

Faith, by its very nature is communal. Faith is never the possession of one. Faith belongs to the community. Faith is birthed in community. Faith is nurtured in community.

And it’s in community our communal sharing of life and faith that faith begins to make sense to the individual person. You take the individual outside of faith, and a faith experience apart from community is a mutation. Such faith is not what God ever intended.

Faith is birthed, shaped, formed, and lived out in community.