At RRCB, we often describe faith as a journey, not a destination. Contrary to what some of us grew up believing, there’s no one action that constitutes a life of faith. We aren’t just “saved” and that’s that. In fact, moving from a conversion experience into discipleship is no small feat, and it often takes years to feel like a faithful believer.
When we talk about Christian Education or Spiritual Formation, like we did at our Christian Educator of the Year ceremony on Wednesday night, we are often careful at River Road to remind ourselves that growing in faith is 1) not something done in a vacuum; and 2) something that takes a lifetime. As one wise person once said it: “Sunday School is the one school with no graduation date.”
Jesus tells us to:
“Believe in God, believe also in me”(John 14:1b)
Then he tells us to take that faith and live it out in tangible ways with everyone – even the very least and last in this world:
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:35-40)
Missionary-Pastor Paul then reminds the bourgeoning churches that faith is a process in Christ that can culminate in growth to strengthen our souls:
“The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-15)
Jesus had many comparisons of faith to everything from a mustard seed to a sacrificial giver, and in every instance, there was an understanding that faith is not one thing, in one time, in one place. It is a growing part of our souls that moves along with us as we get to know God, ourselves, and our faith community better.
Trusting in what we cannot see, facing decisions that require discernment of God’s will, believing God is with us when we are at our loneliest – these are tough parts of the journey sometimes. But the one thing we can lean on is that God hasn’t given up on us as we walk this path. We can always reconnect, relearn, and start growing in faith again – even if it’s been years. And then when things get tough, we know we have this spark of faith to hold us steady through life’s heartaches, joys, and everything in between.
Where are you going in faith right now? What is God calling you to be and do in faith? What can your church help you do in faith?
May we trust God and one another as we journey together.
Written by Libby Grammer