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Monday, April 29, 2013

Lost Your Faith? It's Time to Rebuild - Part 1 - The Foundation

If you are able to read this, then my confident belief is that you have faith. I agree with James Fowler and many other experts in the field of faith development…

"I believe faith is a human universal." (from Stages of Faith)

If it is true that we all have faith, then I believe that it is also true that all of us have had or will have serious doubts about our faith.

When we realize that we have put our faith in the wrong things or the wrong people, we come to a crisis of faith. We have to choose what to keep and what to throw away. And, sometimes, we have to start all over from scratch.

Do you feel like you've lost your faith?

Do you wonder what is true, what is real?

Do you want to start over, but don't know how?

This is a guide to rebuilding your faith, when you realize that you have based your life on a faith that is a lie. When you realize that you no longer have faith in the things you used to believe.

Re-Building a House of Faith

When I talk about faith, I like to use the illustration of a house. A house has a foundation, structure, and d├ęcor.

If you build a new foundation, it is because you want to build a new house. So, it is important to make sure the foundation is solid before you start building. That way the house will last a lifetime.

In house building, you usually start with the blueprints, the layout of the house that you want and then you build a foundation to fit under and support it
Not so with a house of faith.

A house of faith can only be built once you have chosen a foundation. This is the first level of your faith. It is where you must begin. Your first choice.

If you feel like you have lost your faith, you may recognize something from this list that you had put your faith in.

Myself - Talent, Intellect, Charisma
Religion - Superstition, Idolatry, Rituals, Tradition
My Feelings - Love, Revenge
Others’ Expectations - Parents, Teachers, Friends, My Own
Financial Security - Work, Wealth, Inheritance, the Lottery
Logic - Science, Reason, Education, Training
Personal Righteousness - Purity, Perfectionism, Comparison to Others
Heritage - Ancestry, Family Name
Political Power - Manipulating Others for Personal Gain
Strength - Physical Power, Emotional Distance
Fame

Did you find something there that you had trusted? Something that proved to be false and untrustworthy?
We tend to trust what seems to work. We trust our senses, our education, our parents or our tradition. We trust ourselves and whatever gives us the illusion of being in control.

Whether we feel that we have these things or just are working toward them, we can easily be deceived and think that these things are worthy of our trust. So, we put our faith in them.

We all have a tendency to put our faith in the wrong things. When we do, we wind up having a weak foundation for our house of faith. When the storms of life come, our houses can easily crumble.

I am a Christian, so I truly believe that the only solid foundation is the Gospel message, a relationship with Christ. I believe that any other foundation, at best, is incomplete and at worst is a complete lie.

If you disagree, please bear with me. Look at that list above. People have put their faith in everyone of those things. Each one is dependent on people. People fail. We fail. I fail. You fail. Putting our complete trust in a person, even ourselves, can't work.

If we build our lives on trusting a person, our faith will be broken and we will have to rebuild... again. And, if you are thinking about rebuilding now or have had to in the past, you know how painful it is, how confusing it is and how the sooner we can start building on the right foundation, the better.

A foundation built on a lie is like building on sand. The house can be perfectly formed with beautiful architecture and magnificently decorated. But, the first sign of a major storm, of waves or a strong wind and the whole house crumbles. Without a firm foundation, the house has no anchor, no strength.

But, a foundation built on the truth of Christ is like building on solid rock that cannot be shaken. Storms, waves, wind cannot destroy what has been built.

The Solid Foundation

Our only hope for a solid foundation is a relationship with Christ. This is based on the immeasurable, matchless love that God has for us all and His infinite grace.

When we surrender our need to control and figure out and manipulate and twist and turn,

When we see that all that we do to make a sure foundation is faulty and twisted by our own sinfulness,

When we admit that we are too weak to even try to build a new foundation, we are starting to get close.

We realize that we are overwhelmingly broken and hurting and in need and we cry out to God and say, I can't rebuild. I have lost faith. I have lost hope.

I can't go on.
 I can't try again.
  I can't even begin.
   I just can't.

Then, we are ever so close. It is here that God meets us. It is here that God who has loved us each moment of our lives pours out His love and grace and offers us His son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus, who was sinless Himself, laid down His life. Though many cried out, "Crucify him!" and others nailed him to the cross, no one took his life from him.

He laid it down.

He gave his life freely, because of his love and the love of His Father. He chose death, so that we could have life.

He laid down his life and then he picked it back up. He died to pay the penalty for our sins and then he rose again so that we too might one day rise again to have life, to be forever with the Father.

This is the foundation. Receiving the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

This gift is the only solid foundation. It is a gift, freely given and must be received to be enjoyed.

Any other foundation is built on us, our efforts, our abilities, our strength.
Every other foundation will fail because we fail. We sin.
Christ and his love never fail. His grace is enough.

This is the foundation that we all can depend on.

If you want this foundation but need more help in receiving it, it is spoken about throughout the Bible. Read the book of Romans and ask God to reveal to you the truth of the Gospel. He is faithful and will gladly receive you, forgive you and give you eternal life.

Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10-8-13 - “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

There is no magic prayer to pray or special ceremony. But, if you choose to rebuild your house of faith on the foundation of a relationship with Christ. A prayer like this might be helpful to you:

"God, I have tried. I have tried to trust and to believe, but my house of faith is not strong. It is weak because I have sinned. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. I believe. I believe that He died to give me the gift of eternal life. So, I choose to put my trust in him and to receive that gift. I trust you to help me build a house of faith that is true and real and will last for my entire life. I trust you. In Jesus, my Savior's name, I pray, Amen."

(Please leave a comment or contact me if you want more help in understanding this good news. It has transformed my life, and it can yours as well.)

Part 2 of this blog talks about the structure and decor of your house of faith. Click here.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. May God bless you for being a vessel for him to work through and help people struggling, like me.
    Mark 9:24 goes "Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (NIV) I feel that this godly advice helps to address the problem of unbelief amidst belief but then goes even further by providing a remedy to aid those of us who have suddenly began to display a lack of faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Therefore, I say again, may God bless you David.

    -Gregory

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  2. Gregory,

    Thanks for commenting. I have cried out with these same words from Mark on many occasions. As recently as this week, I have felt the doubt creeping in amongst the busyness of life and spinning of too many plates. You have reminded my that the foundation is secure. My focus has been on the decor and the decor can always use improvement, tweaking and modifying. But, it can sap me dry and leave me unsatisfied. The foundation is complete. It is finished. It is secure. I am safe in the arms of my Savior. With or without my decor. Thank you for the reminder! You have blessed me with your comment. I haven't looked back at these posts in quite some time. I hope you have been encouraged by the rest of this series of blog posts.

    Yours,
    Dave Z.

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