By: Dr. Guy Chmieleski
If the measure of one’s life were in direct proportion to the size of risks taken, or the amount of experiences explored – how would yours measure up thus far?
I’d bet that some of you could point to some very sizeable risks taken. And others might be able to point to ways in which you’ve intentionally explored the bounds of life.
Yet, when it comes to faith in God, people often don’t approach it with the same interest. I think there are two primary reasons for this:
Two Factors That Prevent Some of Us from Fully Exploring Faith
1. “The Unbelieving” Are Often Held Back By Failed Attempts in the Past
The first reason many of us struggle to fully explore our faith is that we’ve already decided we don’t believe.
It might be that we’ve seen the ugly (in Christians or the Church) and we couldn’t imagine a God who would associate with such. Or some of us might have struggled to believe a good God could actually exist amidst all the pain and suffering in the world. Maybe we’ve searched for God, but never felt as if we’ve actually found Him. Or maybe we’ve simply decided that logically, it just doesn’t make sense.
So we cut God from the equation and proceeded with life as if it’s just not possible for something like God to exist.
2. “The Believing” Are Often Held Back By Fear of Implications in the Future
The second reason many of us struggle to explore our faith is that we fear what an honest exploration might yield. We fear someone (or something) might poke a hole in our set of beliefs. Or worse, expose some glaring deficiency that could result in the whole ball of yarn coming unwound. So we make a conscious decision to tuck our faith away in a “safe place” where it will be free from tampering.
This same “safe place,” however, also serves to render our faith completely ineffective while in lockdown.
The Possibility of Faith Outweighs Failure and Fear
With all of the things in life that can be traced back to God, the Bible, Jesus, and Christianity – why not take time to ask hard questions, explore new ideas, and appreciate some of the mystery the Divine has to offer? Why are we often so unwilling to do this when it comes to faith?
Open To Experimentation
For the unbelieving: What would it hurt to “try on” faith? To explore the truth and wisdom of the Bible and see how God might choose to reveal Himself to you? Do you fear what you might find? Or not find? Are you afraid of how it might infringe upon all of your “freedoms” or the “truths” you’ve already claimed for yourself?
For the believing: What is it you fear? If you believe what the Bible says about life as a child of God (with all of the peace, joy, and freedoms that come with it) then why would you not want God to be central to your life? What are the questions you fear asking, and why? How do you fear God will change your life?
- If it’s true that we’ve been created by God for relationship with Him (and I believe that it is)…
- And if it’s true that pain and suffering is not the result of the will of God but actually the will of man (which I believe it is)…
- And if it’s true that Jesus’ death on the cross has implications for our lives, not just after we die but in the present as well (which I also believe)…
- And if it’s true that God desires for us to be a part of restoring His creation, being part of the solution to a hurting world (which I believe that God does)…
…Then I think we ought to spend some of our explorative energies in the direction of seeing what the Christian faith is really all about.
Are You Willing To Go Where Truth Takes You?
May we be careful about allowing truth to be defined merely by what we’ve experienced in the past. And may we be careful about allowing truth to be confined to what we see and hear in the media and other outlets that claim to have it all “figured out.” Let’s not allow truth to be destroyed by a few who have misrepresented and/or abused the Good News for their own personal gain or glory.
Instead, let’s earnestly explore the possibility of the reality of God, and be open to how that might change absolutely everything.
If there’s something that’s holding you back, try to figure out what it is – and deal with it. It’s too important not to give serious time, attention, and energy to
Let Me Give You A Couple of “Assignments”
1. Whether you’re a “believer” or not, ask God to speak to you in a way that you can recognize, and ask Him to begin to reveal truth as it pertains to both faith and life.
2. Ask BIG questions. Doubt is fear-based. Faith is trust-based. Ask BIG questions and know that in some instance you might find answers. In some instances, you might not. And in some instances, your questions might lead to more questions. In this, I think you might just find the honest beginning of a journey towards a faith that could change you forever.
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GUEST BLOGGER: Dr. Guy Chmieleski is the University Minister at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. He has served college students on four different campuses over the past 15 years. He’s also the Founder of FaithONCampus.com where he blogs regularly. He lives just outside Nashville with his wife Heather and their four small children. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
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