Does faith matter? Practically, would it make a difference in my life? For most people, the answer to this question is simply: no. Faith is wishful thinking at best, believing harmful fairy tales at worst. It’s wiser to remain open, choosing not to make any kind of affiliation or definitive statement. Not committing protects us from being wrong in an ultimate sense, while also not changing anything in present. We can continue to be the master of our own lives like everyone else. Why add faith?
It’s important to begin by defining faith. When we’re discussing Christian faith, we’re holding several different aspects of the word together. First, faith is trust in God. Faith is a child-like trust in a parent who loves us deeply. Second, faith is belief in God. People of faith believe there is a God—in this case, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Finally, faith is allegiance to God. We not only trust God or believe in Him intellectually, but we give our commitment to him. We live under His rule in our lives.
Faith is difficult. It fundamentally demands a release of autonomy. We give up our right to be the highest authority in our lives to trust in God instead. Jesus said, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” We give up control of our lives, but what do we get in return? What difference does it make? Actually, it’s a game-changer. Here’s 7 reasons to start us off:
1. You live shamelessly.
The graceful forgiveness of God creates the basis for faith. Through Jesus, God forgives us of our sins and our desire to rule our own lives. This forgiveness releases us from our internal feelings of shame. It releases us of the shame from the things we wish we hadn’t done, the things we wish we would have, and the things we have yet to do. We’re freed from ourselves; we’re also freed from the thoughts of others. We no longer fear what others might think or say because we’re playing for an audience of 1—God. With faith we can live in the shameless freedom of Jesus.
2. You enter a community.
A mentor of mine always finished baptizing someone who was committing their lives to faith in Jesus with, “Now you have a Father who loves you, a Brother who died for you, and a Spirit who lives inside you. You’re also stuck with all of us.” Faith comes with a community. Our spiritual communities love us, teach us, confront us, and even believe for us at times. They’re where we learn to live out the life of faith in real time, with real people. It’s challenging in all the ways we need, but don’t want; it’s encouraging in all the ways we think we don’t want, but really need.
3. Your passions out-weigh your fears.
Fear is an ever-present reality. We lock our doors. We don’t speak up. We keep doing all the same old things we’re used to. Faith first, challenges and transforms our passions. Then, it inflates our passions until they far out-weigh our fears. In time, a miniscule amount of faith grows into world changing actions. The life of faith allows us take big risks knowing that our passions are more real than our fears. We can risk everything because we’ve already given everything over to the creator of everything. He’s bigger than the potential risks.
4. You understand the world.
If God created the world, then wouldn’t it be critical to know Him to understand the world he created? Surely, we could know some things about the world. Maybe even a lot of things! However, at a fundamental level we wouldn’t be able to understand the world in the fullest sense. We might arrange some pieces in the right places, but you wouldn’t know how to complete the whole puzzle. Faith in God is necessary to understanding the world. He provides the framework of understanding.
5. You receive the resources to be who you desire to be.
At our best, we want to be good. We want to be good sons and daughters, good brothers and sisters, good students and co-workers. Unfortunately, the more the more we try to do those things, the seemingly worse we do. I continue to make mistakes as a husband. I continue to fret over the future. I continue to live in apathy. With faith, our need comes into contact with the endless resources of heaven. We find God willing and able to give us what we need to become the loving, peaceful, and passionate people we desire to be. Faith gives us what we need to really get what we most desperately want.
6. You know God.
Is there anything more amazing? Faith in Jesus implies a personal relationship. By claiming faith, we claim not just to know there is a God, but claim that we know the creator of the world in a personal way. What a statement. Incredible. Audacious. Really, quite offensive. What could be more of a privilege than to know God? Nothing. The privilege of knowing God causes us to lay down our own selfishness, to take up his righteousness. It pushes us to love everything and everyone our God created—not just the parts that benefit us.
7. You live forever.
Though we may die, we will never die. Each of us will go through a physical death just as Jesus did. However, we will also be raised to life again to live forever. We will live in a world perfected in love. Perfect in peace. Perfect in Justice. That’s the type of future we don’t just anticipate, we actively work toward making our current world look more and more like it.
Faith changes the game. It’s not an add on to an otherwise normal life. It transforms a normal life into something wholly different.