For Easter my wife got me this necklace and it has meant a lot to me. The message to “keep the faith” is now more of a reminder than ever before. It also means a lot that she knows how important keeping the faith is to me.
So what does it mean to keep the faith?
It means to always strive to live a life that is pleasing to God and keeping my faith in Jesus Christ. Now I know today people cringe and look at you sideways when you say the name of Jesus Christ but a life with Jesus means hope. It never means I am perfect. I am far from that. I need God’s grace and mercy everyday. That also means I need to show it to others which can be a challenge. Keeping the faith doesn’t mean that I have the license to condemn other people or lifestyles that I don’t agree with. It means that I live the best life that I can live because I can’t possibly live someone else’s life or debate anyone into living their life in a certain way.
There are challenges of keeping the faith.
It isn’t easy to keep the faith. The most difficult times are when you are trusting God when everything is going against you or what you are praying for. Those times are the toughest of all. Praying for people is the most difficult challenge for me because no one can force another person to change. God can’t even make someone act or do a certain thing. As much as I want to reconcile with a person in my life, I can’t make it happen or pray enough to force God’s hand. That’s not how it works.
It’s also difficult to be consistent in keeping the faith everyday. I will be honest and admit that I get tired of praying sometimes. It’s not easy to pray when nothing changes or when things go totally in the opposite direction and when God doesn’t speak to me audibly. He never has. So, yes, the keeping part loses a little steam at times. But, when those times come, I have to find ways to encourage myself which, for me, it comes from a song or the silence of mediation.
I will always, always remember the time that my Pa Pa said he liked my testimony at a surprise birthday celebration we had for him many years ago. He said he liked my ability of sticking with God. That has encouraged me many times over the years through some of the darkest times of my life. Sticking with something means you have to put forth the effort. It’s not a passive experience to keep the faith.
Keeping the faith doesn’t mean I have always had it easy.
It bothers me when I hear other believers complain of experiencing setbacks that is common to us all. Just because we are believers doesn’t mean we won’t have a flat tire or have to deal with sickness. Stuff happens regardless how strong our faith is. Sometimes it is a test but most of the time it’s just life. Instead of asking WHY, I have learned to ask God HOW to get through it. No, I don’t always get it right but I do the best I can.
Keeping the faith has always been who I am.
My parents did a good job raising me and teaching me how to act. I developed my own faith from the foundation they poured for me. Although our relationship has suffered setbacks in my adult life, I am eternally grateful for what they started in me.
I have always believed in God differently than most others do. Unfortunately, I had to unlearn some things that the institution of the church taught which made God more like a perfectionist than one who is a loving father. I was once a part of a church that focused more on keeping their rules and laws than a God that could be my friend. It took a while to reboot my thinking and find a God that lives in the silence rather than the noise that I grew up with. I learned that you don’t have to holler and scream to get God’s attention but that it comes with a quiet and listening mind.
People may think I am crazy enough to believe that God can still perform miracles and do the impossible. Sorry but I won’t apologize for it, that’s who I am. One person even told me to my face that God doesn’t do things the way I believe that He can. I guess they have their God in a neat, tiny box. God can do whatever He wants to do whenever He wants to do it. No one will ever take that away from me.
Keeping the faith means that I strive to be an anchor for my wife and family. It took some hard times to get here but I am thankful for a God who has given me a second chance to be a better man and a woman who fits God’s description of a helpmeet.
So, I wear this necklace with determination and commitment. I am not ashamed to do so. It’s funny now wearing this necklace that speaks of my life’s statement would have been against the church teachings in my past.
Throughout my life I have been driven to keep the faith. From times when I faced the lowest parts of my life and even wondered about living life at all to the times when keeping the faith has led me to what a good father God has been to me.
No, it’s not an easy thing to keep the faith but I can assure you that for me it has been worth it.