Hebrews 11:2 tells us Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith; He writes amazing stories. In your story, you are the apple of His eye. Sometimes in the midst of hard things, it is hard to feel His loving touch. I spent some time recently researching how to help people tell their own faith stories, and I hope to persuade you to consider telling yours! Some of you may remember a few years ago when I had the joy of sharing such stories in the Baptist Voice. Those testimonies of faith encouraged me. You have a story to tell! If I have persuaded you, just read on...but if you are still doubtful, check out this piece: Your Faith Story - How to Begin.
We are called to grow in grace and knowledge...our roots must be in grace and knowledge before we can produce! Knowing is good, but it is only the beginning. If we stay at just knowing, we are like the devil and his demons: they know God but they do not have faith in Him. Trusting in the truth does not just happen; it usually comes as a result of a crisis. Consider the questions below and again let the Spirit direct your thoughts to how God has revealed Himself during the tough times. Consider:
• Has it ever felt like your prayers were unheard or that God ignored you?
• When did you doubt that the things you read in the Bible were true for you?
- (e.g. Did you not feel the love of God or His power? Did it seem like you were the abandoned child and God only loves someone else?)
• Have you been disappointed by those you thought were godly...or at least more godly than you?
• When have you needed the peace that only God could provide?
• Have you ever had to make a sacrifice for your faith? Have you been ridiculed for your belief?
Faith is very personal and must be grappled with on an individual basis. We need each other, though, to truly see God. And we all share some common transition points in life that we can easily relate to another's experience. Those crisis points are important windows for seeing God and helping others see Him. Let the Holy Spirit remind you of the fingerprints of God in such times as these:
• Loss of a loved one
• Celebrations: graduations, promotions
• Birth of children
• A move
Not all growth is from hard times, though. There are 'disciplines' of faith that move us into more Christ-likeness. Scripture encourages us to spend time with other believers, to read and study our Bibles, to pray, to minister in His name and to sing among other things.
• What has helped you grow spiritually the most? What would you encourage every believer to try?
• How has it helped you?
• What changes in your life have you made to honor God…in obedience to God?
• What do you recall about your baptism?
• Are there other sacraments that are particularly meaningful?
• Have you ever shared the story of your salvation experience?
• Do you share with others how your faith impacts your life?
• Do you have a favorite hymn or passage of scripture?
• What goals for growth do you have now...where do you see God asking you to trust Him more?
• What transitions are likely to enter your life in the next five years?