Faith in God: What it means

So instead of actually learning about faith to grow yours, you get the ‘Christianese’ on lockdown that everyone believes you are a mini Abraham. Sadly, you can’t fool God nor can you fool yourself.

If you are a Christian attending a bible believing church, you have definitely heard of faith and most likely have some level of faith in God. More ordinarily, every individual has some kind of faith, albeit not in Jesus.

At the basic level, faith in Jesus is believing that He is (exists) and that the things we desire of him will come to fruition. Faith is one of the most talked about subjects in the bible and in christianity but that does not translate to increasing faith amongst christians.

Quite frankly, it often gets tough to believe against evidence which is what faith is. Hebrews 11:1 says ‘it is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen’.

Faith in God

Generally, I consider myself to be a person of faith but recently, I had an encounter that challenged that and brought to the fore some issues that we have as ‘faith filled’ christians.

Have you ever listened to a sermon and the preacher starts talking about a mighty miracle that happened and then you just roll your eyes to the back of your skull because of unbelief? Yes, that was me a few weeks ago.

We put up defenses to some testimonies because we believe this is just an exaggerated story and we are way too educated to fall for this concocted story. After that service, I went home and started reading a book which interestingly gave me even more reason to roll my eyes and ‘yimu’ as the Nigerian that I am.

However, a day or two later, I was reading my bible and I was so receptive to all these miracles which humanly speaking were much more ridiculous than the ones from church and the book.

And then the Holy Spirit taught me a lesson that challenged my faith. I am going to share five things that will let you check your faith to see if you truly are a faith filled Christian.

Faith connects us to what we need

You never see results– The purpose of having faith is for it to produce results in the given area. Sometimes, the results may not come at the time we want or in the form we want but effective faith MUST produce results.

As a Christian, saying you have faith, praying for something and never seeing results is not enough. It means that there is a need to reevaluate your understanding of faith or grow your faith. You can’t just go on your whole life claiming to have faith and never seeing any result.

You are a doubter at heart– You have a natural inclination to disbelief. You are always critical and never thankful or receptive. Sometimes, even after praying for something and seeing the result, you begin to wonder if it was God or it was just the ‘universe’. You wonder if that blessing was not a coincidence and if it would not have come anyway.

How can you believe that Jesus rose from death? and the sun stood still, and that Enoch never saw death but you struggle to believe God can heal your illness? It means you actually do not believe the bible as much as you think you do.

You have faith in words but never act on it– You are always so quick to ‘believe’ in God not because you actually believe but because it is the Christian thing to do. You definitely do not want to be the outcast in your Christian circle who has doubts.

So instead of actually learning about faith to grow yours, you get the ‘Christianese’ on lockdown that everyone believes you are a mini Abraham. Sadly, you can’t fool God nor can you fool yourself.

You always have faith for others but never for yourself – In the same vein as the earlier point, when people have worries or doubts, you are quick yo ask them to pray and have faith because it is what a good Christian would say. Or because that’s what you heard in the sermon last week.

But when you get away with fooling others, you still have to face the truth when you need to apply faith. You realise that you lack faith. Faith is not theoretical but practical.

You use it as a filler word or tool of encouragement– People often make sentences like ‘I have faith that…’ or ‘I believe that…’ without knowing the implications.

Talking about faith is so easy but it is not meant to be a tool of encourgement or motivation. Faith is claiming the promises of God based on his word and so anything that is not based on God’s word cannot be faith.

The next time you believe or have faith that something will happen, ask yourself what God says about that issue?

Finally, and on a slightly related note, one evidence of having faith in God is giving thanks for the miracles we did not ask for. There are blessings that God gives to us before we ask and it is only when we are conscious of them that we can show appreciation.

In my observation, the norm is that people will only testify about victories that they prayed and waited on God for. But we need to testify of the blessings he freely gives us as well.

These lessons have been a true eye opener for me. Faith and doubt cannot co-exist and its funny to claim to believe the mighty miracles in the bible and then doubt when you hear them happen today. It might just mean that you’re not as faith filled as you think. Maybe you do not even believe Jesus rose from death.

Please share your thoughts.

Heart to Heart: Has this challenged your faith? Are there any other areas that were not mentioned?

Nine Years Later…

Getting home for the first time after almost a year was both exciting and nerve racking. Exciting, because I had never been away from home this long and I was happy to see my family again but nerve-racking because I felt like I had grown apart from my family.

Me, on my birthday in 2011.

Before going to school, I was in boarding school with my younger brother and we would go home to our siblings relatively often. But with me abroad and them in boarding school, we barely communicated for the entire period I was away.

Our communication didn’t improve much during their holidays either because my parents were not very good at making international calls and keeping track of the time difference yet.

So, while I enjoyed being with my family, it was mostly an awkward period of trying to relearn how to relate and communicate with everyone. The three months at home went by like a breeze.

Where it got interesting was coming back to school towards the end of August. In my mind, I was ready to take on the world and excel in everything but I had no idea I was in for a rude awakening.

First shocker, finding out that I had to take Statistics and Calculus after running away from it my whole life. I thought I had finally conquered it and survived after high school so you can imagine my displeasure.

Second, was realizing that participating in class discussions was integral to my academic success. Being very shy and reserved, asking me to speak publicly was like asking me to hang myself and I promise I am not exaggerating.

Third, and probably the biggest was self accountability. There were no more teachers, caretakers or supervisors making sure I attended classes, completed assignments or participated in other school activities. My success was entirely in my hands, save for a few mentors and my dear cousin and his wife who routinely checked in with me.

Thankfully, these things are now a distant memory and have become victory stories for me.

On the flip side, I learned confidence and grew not just as an individual but as a woman. I successfully finished my undergraduate degree, graduate degree and started working.

One of the best things that have also happened to me in this country is my local church family. It’s been 9 years since I first visited the church and 8 since I have been a member and I can that it’s been one of my life’s greatest blessings.

Frankly, with the pandemic raging, this has been one of my most trying periods so far. Since leaving my job in June, there have been some really down days but I know it’s only upward from here.

I am certain of that because life always looks up and besides, I have probably faced other trying times. I just don’t remember them because I have a short memory span when it comes to difficult times.

God has blessed me so much that the trying moments are just moments and quickly fade into a haze. When I look at my life over the past 9 years, it’s gotten better year after year and I know that this is only the beginning.

Cheers to the next 9 years. I can’t wait to actually see what’s coming.

Heart to Heart: I hope you enjoyed my little journey. Tell me what you liked best or what you can relate to. ❤️❤️

Do Not Use If Seal Is Broken.

So, the next time you prioritize a list over love, remember that Christ loved you without requirements. Remember too, that people are not products and many of us are imperfect with broken seals.

Within the last three weeks, I have committed to walking an hour every morning and yet today is the third time I have taken that walk for a plethora of reasons.

I had caught just two hours of sleep before my 6:15am alarm went off and I was displeased to say the least. I rolled over and dismissed the alarm to catch a bit more snooze and it seemed like I had just rolled over and it was now 7:02am.

I tiredly opened my eyes, tapped my husband to remind him we had to walk and then I went out to see what the weather was like. I can’t say a little part of me was not excited when I saw that it was drizzling as it would make for a good reason not to walk today. But I had to remind myself that I committed to the walk this week and so off we went.

An hour thirty minutes later, I am home now from the walk, waiting on my breakfast to be ready and the rain outside has put me into a thinking mood. What am I thinking of today?

Grace! Amazing Grace!

We are not strangers to the line that accompanies most sealed products; “Do not use if seal is broken”. Why? because someone could have tampered with it or perhaps it was never sealed properly and it has now been contaminated.

Surely, I am not saying to extend grace to those products but as humans, we tend to apply the same mindset to our relationships with people.

Thinking about it though, which one of us isn’t broken? Broken by pain, hurt, shame, betrayal, feelings of unworthiness, low self esteem and so much more? In fact, it almost seems like the same things that broke us are the same reasons we put up walls and refuse to associate with people bearing the same brokenness.

I don’t expect anyone to take on the burden of everyone’s pain but we can extend grace.

As a single lady, I remember writing a list for what I wanted in my husband and I know many of us have lists for various things. Sometimes, it is a list for what we want in a friend, a house, an employee or a church and we are so committed to the list that grace becomes foreign.

No one could ever extend grace as Christ does. We could not even fathom God’s grace. Dying for people who didn’t even check one box on his list? Dying for people who spat on and abused him?

We put up walls because someone told us that someone hurt them in the bid to ‘protect our peace’ or ‘protect our space’. But what we are really doing is making ourselves judge, jury and executioner. I am worthy and you are not.

Actually, the world encourages us to be ‘wise’ and avoid broken people. We chant things like ‘hurt people hurt people’ that justify the behaviour. Many times, people are broken through no fault of their own and the least we can do is point them to Christ who heals rather than avoid them.

Imagine if Christ only mingled with us when we were whole enough and good enough for his love. The same people who ask you to avoid broken people would have been the same people criticizing Jesus for dining in Zacchaeus’ house

God has loved us so perfectly even in our deepest brokenness. You know what? He tells us in Psalms 51:17 that he will not despise a broken and a contrite heart.

Even more exciting, he encourages us to bring our burdens and cast them on him in exchange for rest in Matthew 11:28.

We could never extend the same grace that Christ gives but we can emulate him as he encourages us to.

So, the next time you prioritize a list over love, remember that Christ loved you without requirements. Remember too, that people are not products and many of us are imperfect with broken seals.

It is okay to have lists but they should be motivated by love (for Christ and people) and not pride.

Heart to Heart: I’ll love to hear your thoughts. Have you been critical of brokenness?