Monday, August 28, 2023


What is faith?

It's the fundamental question about...well, everything. And yet, it's one of those questions that most of us aren't quite sure how to answer. 

The broadest answer is that faith is putting your trust in something. This is the core of it, and by this definition - everyone is living by faith in something. Whether it's God, Allah, science, human nature, "goodness" or whatever they choose to call it, everyone has trust in something that is guiding the decisions they make in their life, and this is faith. 

(This is why it's troubling when someone says to keep your faith out of politics; you can't. Every one of us brings our faith to every decision that we make, political or not, and we can't separate ourselves from the thing we put our trust in. Not without becoming hypocrites. It's no less faith just because your foundational "truth" is "science" and not "God.")

But for the Christian, this question is even deeper. Because we want to know not just what faith is - we kind of know because it is our "belief in God" - but what faith means for our living. How does it guide our lives?

How, then, shall we live? 

For many, faith is living with our eyes on eternity, on that glorious day when Jesus will come back and we will go to be with Him because we believe. We put the entire weight of our faith not just on tomorrow, but on a really future tomorrow when it will all make sense and pay off. This is a difficult kind of faith to keep because we don't live in tomorrow; we live in today. And it's really hard to keep holding onto a faith that isn't doing anything for you today.

For many others, faith is about being a basically good person. Doing your best to do the things that God wants you to do. So it becomes a set of rules or guidelines by which to live - don't steal, don't murder, only lie if you have to, try to go to church more often than you don't. It becomes a burden that we put on ourselves, then judge whether we are actually good or if we're failing at it...and either applaud or condemn ourselves on the basis of what we find there. This is a difficult kind of faith to keep, too, because we somehow always find a way to blur the lines and to justify our behavior. (We're experts at this.) 

But the truth is, what we're all really looking for is a faith that tells us not what to do, but how to live. How to approach life. What kind of philosophy we're supposed to adapt.

We want a faith that sets out not a guideline, but a guiding principle. Something we can turn to when we have questions and find an encouragement, a truth, an answer. Something to move forward on. Something that tells us how to look at whatever situation is in front of us. 

What is a life lived in faith? What does it look like? 

We've been asking this question for thousands of years. And we keep coming up with different answers, some of which are helpful and some that aren't. Some really connect with us; others leave us scratching our heads and maybe aren't our thing. 

I stumbled upon another definition of faith - at least for me - in recent weeks, and it's changing the way that I think about things. 

And it's come, from all places, through a season of vestibular rehabilitation....  

No comments:

Post a Comment