Having faith is great. Knowing you have given your life to Jesus and he has saved you is the best feeling in the world. But is that it? Do you cuddle your faith to you and enjoy it by yourself?
What happens to your faith if you hide it away? A few months ago I had a fall and was nursing some spectacular bruises and a dented self confidence. My friend Trish came to our house for a Christianity Explored course and brought me a lovely plant as a get well gift. If I had cherished that plant by hiding it away in a cupboard, what would have happened to it? It would have sickened and died. It needs light and air and looking after.
The same is true of your faith.
I have heard people say, “You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” My reply is, “But if you’re a Christian, you need to be in church.”
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another. (Heb.10:25)
In the context of this post, I would add that you have to do more than turn up on Sunday. Paul said that we are all part of one body, and each part is needed (1 Cor.12:12-28).
So the first thing you should do with your faith is be actively involved in a local church.
I recently wrote a Bible study on faith and works. In that post, I was refuting the idea that you can be saved by doing good works. The question I am asking now is that once you have accepted God’s saving grace, what do you do next? We are saved by faith alone, but saving faith doesn’t come alone.
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. (James 2:17-18)
This is not proof to God, who knows our hearts, it is proof to other people. Can the people around you tell that you’re a Christian by the way you behave?
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15)
Peter said that we should always be prepared to give an answer, but does anybody ever ask you? Do you blend in with everyone at the office, the classroom, the school gates? Do you stand out? I’m not asking you to be obnoxious, just to live Christian values: to be kind, stand up for the underdog, speak out for Christian standards when the conversation turns to controversial topics.
So the second thing you should do with your faith is to show the world you’re a Christian.
That can be scary, but if your faith is alive and growing, your confidence will grow with it. Many Christians don’t want to let people know, because they are afraid of the questions they might be asked. You wouldn’t try to get a job as an engineer unless you had taken the time and the effort to study what you need to know. You wouldn’t take on any employment unless you were qualified. Why should Christianity be any different?
You don’t need to understand much in order to come to Christ and be saved, but you’re not supposed to stop there. As you study the Bible, listen to sermons, take part in Bible studies, and think and pray about your faith, you will grow in knowledge and insight, and be able to explain and defend your faith.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God. (Philip.1:9-11)
So the third thing you should do with your faith is to keep growing and learning.
I’m sure you can think of many more things you can do with your faith. Terry Tempest Williams certainly can.
This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers. (Terry Tempest Williams) [janefriedman.com]