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Intersection of Life and Faith

Learning to Own It

  • Michael DiMarco, Hayley DiMarco
  • 2013 9 Sep
  • COMMENTS
Learning to <i>Own It</i>

*The following is an excerpt from Own It, one of two companion books to the upcoming Christian film Grace Unplugged. In theaters October 4, 2013 

What Is “Owning” Your Faith?

Weak faith in a strong object is infinitely better than strong faith in a weak object. —Tim Keller

Ownership is a powerful thing. It makes people feel things—things like love, pride, responsibility, and even jealousy. Ownership colors a person’s view of the object of their possession and its value. What you feel for something you own is completely different than how you feel about something that isn’t yours. That’s why people tend to care about their own stuff. Ownership feeds devotion and it often dictates action.

For example, people tend to take better care of stuff that they own than stuff that they rent. And they love the stuff they own more than the stuff they borrow. How many times have you lent something to someone who didn’t take care of it the way you do? When you borrow something, your attention to it is temporary. Ownership conveys permanence. The stuff you own matters to you.

But ownership doesn’t just apply to things, it also applies to lives. Have you ever met an animal person who loved their pet so much that they treated it like a child? There are some powerful emotions that come from having a living thing that belongs to you. When people fight for their country, when they fight for their loved ones, it’s because they are their loved ones. Aren’t the other countries and families just as valuable?

Yes, but they are not theirs and so they fight for what is theirs. Children, even those who are abused by their parents, are born with an innate ability to love their parents, simply because they are theirs, regardless of how horribly they treat them. Though that can dissipate with time (and abuse,) it’s there to begin with. And the same is true for parents, they feel a deep sense of ownership for their kids, not the kind of ownership of slave and master, as some kids might believe, but a kind of ownership that instills an enormous degree of love and pride that only your own kids can illicit, no matter how much they may or may not deserve it.

Yes, when something is yours it becomes immediately more important to you than something that is not yours. But not all ownership has to do with the legal right to control or do whatever you want with what you own. No, ownership can also apply to a state of heart, a way of living whereby you make what you say and what you do agree. As in when you own your actions, rather than faking your way through life, living a double life, pretending to be something that you aren’t in order to please those you love. This double mindedness becomes evident in matters of faith where it can be easy to hide your true feelings and thoughts, and to put on a good face when all the while you are a confused mess on the inside.

And in your uncertainty, an inability to own your faith can result in choices that hurt not only yourself but also your relationships. In this condition, you own neither your beliefs nor your actions, but instead you end up in a no-man’s-land that breeds animosity for the very things in your life that you say you love. In the life of faith, then, there are conditions of the heart that mimic faith, but are far from a true faith that not only saves, but encourages, repairs, heals, and changes you from the inside out. These conditions that do not involve owning your faith are founded in the attempt to fake it, borrow it, rent it, or pick and choose it, and ultimately their end is the ultimate act of disowning it.


Fake It

When you are faking it you can fool just about everyone. And that’s really the goal in faking it; it’s to fool those who love you, especially those who want only what’s best for you and is certain that being a good Christian is what’s best for you. When you fake it you do all, or at least most, of the right things; you probably even say almost all of the right things. And everyone looks at you and smiles at the person you are pretending to be, and deep inside you feel rejected. You feel rejected because they love who they want you to be, not who you really are.

When you are faking something for the approval of others, even the approval you get is painful because it’s based on a lie, and the real you never truly finds acceptance. For centuries people the world over have faked their faith, many without even being aware of the fact. They have faked it so well that they even deceived themselves, believing that their actions of faith somehow made up for their disbelief, doubt, and fear. They have walked through life unchanged, numb to the things of the Spirit, and trying desperately to make up for it through determination to be good and obedient. They try to do all the right things, say all the right things, and be just who they believe they should be.

Yet all the while they are unable to trust their lives and the lives of those they love to the God who saves.

Hayley Faked It: For all of my life I called myself a Christian, even long before I truly was one. I believed in God, I trusted that Jesus was who He said He was. But I lived with fear and doubt. Believing that God was powerful and holy came easy to me, but believing that I was good enough for Him to love, didn’t. So while I said I was a Christian, I believed I was a Christian going to hell, and so I figured since I was going to hell I might as well have fun on the way. And so I gave into my desires, I did stupid stuff—I went too far and I confirmed to myself that my faith was indeed fake. When I saw how badly I was faking it, the guilt consumed me. In turn, guilt just fed my fear and doubt, and the cycle started all over again. Fake faith is tortured and pointless faith. 

When you fake it, you pretend to be, feel, or think something that isn’t true, and this dissonance hurts. In the end, faking it results in either fatigue and rejection, or a lifelong faking that gives you a faith grounded in deception. How ironic, since faith is belief in the truth, while deception is pretend belief in something considered a lie. Deception never breeds truth. So if you, like Hayley, have felt that you’ve been faking it, in any part of your life—but especially in your relationship to God—then read on as we talk about what it means to own your faith or to be honest about disowning it, rather than just faking it.


Borrow It

When your faith isn’t your own, but one that you inherited or borrowed from another, the emotional and spiritual strain that it can put on you and the ones you got your faith from can be enormous. Borrowed faith is a cheap imitation of ownership. And that’s why it brings so much emotional strain on your life. When your faith truly belongs to someone else, when you took it out of obligation or even devotion to your loved one, it makes the person you got it from the god of your life. In them you look for the law that you must follow to be accepted by them; in them you look for your salvation.

If you haven’t discovered it yet, your faith in man will ultimately disappoint because the creation cannot handle the worship due the Creator. You see this in the resentment that develops as you fail to be all that your loved one wanted you to be, or do all they believe you should do. When you get your power to be “good” from your desire to please man, you will ultimately fail, because you do not have the power to be perfect, and they do not have the power to give you perfection. That is why your faith lacks passion and power, because that power and passion comes from the Creator and not the creation. When your faith is borrowed, it does not truly belong to you and, because of that, your love and devotion will never ring true.

Your words and even actions will never align with your feelings because you have taken what was never yours to begin with and tried to build your life on it. This is a shaky foundation and not the same as owning your faith. Even if you’ve borrowed your faith, claiming your salvation comes from the roots of your family tree and believing being “born Christian” is your get-out-of-jail-free card, you are deceiving yourself. The Bible, which defines the Christian faith, says that faith isn’t about heredity, but relationship. We know this because of words like these found in the book of Romans: “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” (Rom. 10:9–10 esv).

It’s all about you and not your family, or the fact that you were baptized as a baby. When you own your faith, it starts with your confession and not the confession of those who love you.

My Boring Christian Life: A lot of kids raised in Christian homes complain about the fact that they don’t have an amazing testimony like the people who were raised without faith and through some incredibly horrible situations found Jesus and now have amazing testimonies. Some bemoan their peaceful and uneventful lives and wish they could share an Oprah-worthy testimony about what God has done in their life. But alas, life has been pretty picture-perfect and God hasn’t really had to show Himself much, so no big stories exist. When that’s the case, it can be easy to feel like your faith isn’t so compelling and that you don’t have much to offer in the way of a story that would draw others into faith. And so you live a spiritually quiet life, not stepping out and proclaiming the amazing power of faith—not risking to question others’ beliefs or to offer them a lifeline in yours because after all, you reason, you don’t have an amazing story to share. 

If that sounds like you, then you may have less to worry about than you may think. You see, you don’t have to give up the hope of a compelling testimony because what compels the nonbeliever isn’t your testimony about yourself, but about Him. If you say you still have no testimony about Him, then your faith may be weakened by the fact that you haven’t made it your own yet. But making it your own isn’t as hard as going back in time and having a different life story, so there is hope. ’

Now, if you say that you are content with a borrowed faith, don’t shut the book and walk away just yet—there is something here for you, just give it a chance. You’ve opened these pages for a reason. Allow God to show you what it is, just this once; allow Him to take you somewhere you never thought you wanted to go and see if He doesn’t come through for you. Borrowed faith is simply faith in the wrong thing. And that’s why it isn’t the kind of faith that changes your life.

It isn’t the kind of faith that overcomes adversity or changes the world, but when you own it, when you stop mooching and start possessing, the world inside you and around you changes dramatically.

 

Rent It

When you rent something you make monthly payments, whereby you keep something and use it for yourself up until the time when you stop making payments. And at that time your use of the thing ends with your payments. You might make monthly or even yearly or weekly payments on your faith, going to church in order to feel Christian. You might talk about God, pray to God, read about God, and serve God, but if all of that is part of your “payment” for faith then you’re a renter, not an owner. An owner doesn’t have to make payments—their faith is theirs by virtue of who He is, not who they are or what they do or don’t do.

It can be easy to confuse the life of faith with the act of doing, but they aren’t the same thing. Certainly, when you experience God’s love and His saving grace, you want to do things for Him and with Him, but it is out of love and not out of necessity as payment for your faith. That price was already paid, and not by you or any other human being, but by God Himself. As it says in Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (2:8–9 esv).

The trouble with renting your faith is that it puts all of the reliance for salvation on self-effort rather than on God. When that happens you wear out quickly, you feel burnt out and tire easily of the hard work of obedience, which you believe leads to your salvation. This is what happens when you see a hard-working religious person who has walked away from their professed faith. They put all of their hope in their ability to be good, rather than in God Himself. When they run out of strength they run out of their payment for the faith, and end up losing their rental.

But when you own it—really own it—you have no need to make payments in order to keep it because it already belongs to you. This is called justification. You don’t have to justify yourself by working hard to gain God’s approval. Just look at the life of Abraham the father of the faith: “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’” (Rom. 4:2–3 esv).

Abraham was righteous because of his undying faith and trust in God. He believed God more than he even believed his own feelings. When God asked him to sacrifice his most prized possession, his son, he believed God was good and so were His commands. Abraham acted, and this undying devotion to God displayed his faithfulness. He was justified by his faith in God, by the Father’s ability to be good far beyond Abraham’s understanding.

As long as your idea of faith requires you to make payments in order to receive the love of God, you are not an owner but a renter. God doesn’t want your payments, He doesn’t need them. All He wants is for you to accept His payment, the one and only payment ever needed. The payment for your life was His Son’s life. And to say that additional monthly checks must be cut to save you is to say that His Son’s death was a waste of a perfectly good life.

Rather than endear you to God, this way of thinking cuts you off from Him, as you take His most valuable gift and hand it back to Him in rejection of its value and necessity in your life. Such arrogance then, makes you the only salvation acceptable, makes you your own Messiah, your own perfect lamb worthy of the name Savior.
 

Pick and Choose It

But maybe you aren’t renting, maybe you’re just accepting—freely accepting the gifts of God. Maybe you accept His sacrifice with arms wide open. You appreciate all He’s done for you and in return you claim Him as your savior, but you aren’t sure about all this Bible stuff. “I mean, how can it all possibly be true, let alone applicable in today’s day and age?” So you pick and choose.

You are a smart person with intuition, education, and common sense. And you like the way Jesus lived. What He said made sense, for the most part, but some of it had to be hyperbole, some of it was just stories and not meant to be law or anything. Like when He said, “If someone slaps you on the right cheek, give them the other one”—now that’s nonsense. Common sense says you’ve got to protect yourself. Stand up for your rights. So not everything in the Bible is meant for today, you reason.

So being as smart as you are, you’ve decided to pick and choose. You’ve read some of it and you’ve taken the parts that make sense and made them your own, and the rest? Well . . . out of sight, out of mind. Dealing with it, understanding it, is all too much work and not really necessary. Plenty of people live with only a portion of the Bible as their rulebook.

The stuff they like and seems beneficial to them they take and the rest they claim to be out of date or creative license. This happens a lot in classes that study the Bible as literature, and in coffeehouses where the validity of Christ’s words and ideas are analyzed and lined up in a cost/benefit chart meant to be used to developed your own kind of theology. When you practice this kind of picking and choosing, it’s like making your own Frankenstein faith. Like the mad doctor who created the monster in Mary Shelley’s famous book, you create your own pieced together religion specially designed to meet your specific needs. As if your editing prowess far outweighs that of the early church fathers of our faith.

In this picking and choosing of your faith, what you end up with is as volatile as Dr. Frankenstein’s monster and just as ugly, because in your human nature you pick those things that ultimately serve you. Sure, you might subscribe to the need to help orphans and widows, you might see God’s call to feed the hungry and care for the weak to be a selfish law to adopt, but when you picked it for yourself you picked it because of the ultimate benefit it gives you. In other words, it makes you feel like a good person—like you are making a difference, like you aren’t a hypocrite, like you are spiritually informed and making decisions that will benefit you in the area of self-esteem as well as salvation. That’s because of the reasons you base your picking and choosing on. When you design your own faith you must have a criteria for your choices, a line you draw that builds the perimeters of your faith, and in this kind of selfdesigned faith your human nature designs your beliefs around you rather than God, and in so doing you subconsciously make yourself your own God.

Now, anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the concept of God must agree that by definition God is not a being that needs to be saved. If He needed to be saved, then there would need to be someone more powerful than Him to save Him, and then He would not be God but His savior would be. If God by definition is all-powerful, all-knowing and perfect—i.e., GOD—then when you make yourself the designer of your own salvation, you ultimately make yourself the all-knowing and all-powerful one in your life. That means that you are making yourself the god in your life so that you can save yourself, but if you are God then you don’t need saving. When you pick and you choose your faith, what you are owning is your own inerrancy, or inability to be wrong. 

You are claiming your perfection and wisdom and rejecting anything that speaks of your failure to be perfect. Unfortunately, when circumstances show you that maybe your chosen path of salvation is too restrictive or getting in the way of your ultimate enjoyment, you are faced with some heavy editorial work. And in those changes to the Scriptures of your faith you only prove that you didn’t know what you were doing in the first place. Picking and choosing your faith promises the ultimate freedom to be who you want and do what you want, but eventually it will only prove to you that to live for yourself and to make your law based on your own happiness is to become the slave of your imperfect self, and to be tortured and tormented by your own pride and failure.

Michael’s Picky and Choosy Faith: All of my life I wanted to be married. It was my number one goal in life. I was a Christian and so I knew I would only ever have sex with my wife, but who I defined as my wife was my own choosing. See, when I dated someone I really liked, I told myself I was going to marry her and so I could of course sleep with her. I chose to believe as long as I was going to get married to her, I could have her.

And so I thought . . . until I would break up with her. Then the next one would come along and I would tell myself the same thing. In picking and choosing which parts of Scripture I liked and how they applied to my life, I made one mess after another, leaving broken hearts in my wake. And my heart didn’t fare so well either. When I did ultimately marry one of the girls, it ended in divorce two years later because I failed to establish my life on the complete counsel of God.

Instead, I counseled myself, made up what I thought Scripture should say, all the while calling myself a Christian. I lived as a non-Christian for years. But God will let you wreck yourself in order to save you, and that’s what He did for me when I surrendered my whole life and will in a tiny jail cell. My life (and peace) have never been the same all because I’ve stopped picking and choosing and embraced owning my faith.  

 

Disown It

Who are you? Are you the owner of your faith, are you just faking it, or picking and choosing it, or have you just thrown your hands up and walked away? When someone disowns an idea or even a person they give up faith in or love for something or someone they used to call their own. They look at that idea or person as a royal mistake, and they most often replace it with something or someone else, even if it’s just self. Either way, they reject their former belief and so disown, or give up the right to, what they used to have full access to.

When you disown your faith, you turn your back on it and that can leave you feeling all kinds of junk. Resentment for the lies you used to believe; distrust or disgust of those that still believe them; fear that you may be wrong; anger for being wrong for so long before. It can be a mix of any of these emotions or one compelling one, but either way walking away from your faith isn’t easy. And in a lot of instances, the pain can come from those you left behind. Because that’s just how they feel—rejected along with God Himself—their resentment and anger can build.

Their fear over your eternal destination can also cloud their emotions and leave them thinking all kinds of thoughts that only affirm your rejection of their faith in their so-called God of amazing grace. How can they preach His grace and offer you none? How can they speak of His love and forgiveness without sharing in it? And who do they think they are in their wrath and judgment . . . the savior? Their inability to know how to handle dissension can only make matters worse, but that’s why this book has found its way to your hands, to remove the human ability to make other’s decisions personal and to remove demands that not even God Himself makes.

When Jesus was face-to-face with people who disowned Him, argument was not His response. He didn’t pursue them, explain the errors of their ways to them; He allowed them to be whoever they were made to be and to make the decisions they would make. There is a story often told of His encounter with a very rich young man who wanted to follow Him. He believed in God. He lived an obedient life, trying hard to do all that God and the Scriptures asked, but when he asked Jesus what more he could do, the answer he got froze him in his tracks: “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:21–22 esv).

But the story doesn’t end there. The most intriguing part of this exchange isn’t that the man left when he realized God wanted him to give up his obsession for stuff, but that Jesus didn’t run after him. He didn’t grab his arm and try to explain Himself better. He wasn’t worried, or upset that the young man wasn’t getting it. Jesus allowed the man to do what he would, free from the pressure of His presence.

God does the same today. He doesn’t force faith. Even though His followers wish He would, He isn’t in the habit of high-pressured sales. Though He is sovereign and nothing happens except that He allows it, He also doesn’t force ownership. His hand isn’t on the back of your neck forcing you to your knees.

As you well know, you can reject Him, disown Him, and walk away from Him and you won’t be struck by lightning. He never said you would. He never said that rejecting Him was an impossibility, or instantly punishable by plague or death. If that were the case then the men who hung Jesus on the cross would have been zapped. But God allows and even uses the rejection of Himself by men to His glory.

After all, the cross—the focus of all of God’s Word, from beginning to end—was made possible by the very men who believed they were thwarting the work of Jesus. But even their rejection of Him was not only allowed but meant to be. You might think that you have hardened your heart, but the truth is that God is the one who chooses whom He will save and who will reject Him. So even the freedom that you feel, the doubt you have, would not be yours if He had not allowed it. As it says in Romans 9:18, “He has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills” (esv).

 

Own It

So, why a book on owning your faith if it is God who ultimately decides the fate of your heart? Why would we even bring up the subject of salvation, of faith, of belief and doubt if we were only pawns in God’s game of life? Those questions are valid and are ones that have sparked centuries of debate, argument, and even wars. Should we spend time talking to you about your doubts, cajoling you, disowning you, fighting for you, or should we just let God do with you what He would do? You’ve probably already guessed our answer because you’re holding a book we wrote on the subject.

But to make it clear—“yes,” we should spend time helping you with the doubts that plague so many when it comes to faith in the unseen, and “no,” we should not and will not cajole, disown, or fight you to faith. As the story of the prodigal made clear, God is a not a God who strikes the doubter dead. He is not a God who forever rejects those who reject Him, but He is a God whose love and power, goodness and kindness is enough to outlove even the most terrible of cynics who wants to believe. Romans 5:8 tells us that Christ died for sinners, so your doubt does not exclude you from ownership. You may doubt God’s love or even His existence, and you might think that excludes you from faith, but doubt isn’t as foreign a concept to faith as some would have you believe.

Each one of us doubts, we doubt that God can heal our wounds; we doubt that He would really ever let us move a mountain; we doubt that we can overcome our addictions and obsessions even though His Word promises it all. Doubt is a part of the human condition, natural to the state of man who, like an ant trying to figure out the inner workings of a nuclear power plant, is incapable of understanding even the most rudimentary of descriptions of such a powerful entity. Your doubt doesn’t exclude you from faith, no matter what you may have heard—it simply proves your humanness and His unfathomable Godness. But doubt doesn’t have to define you or rule you but rather it can be the fuel for discussion, study, and prayer. In order to own your faith, you have to continue the conversation.

You have to allow yourself to be wrong, to question and to be taught. As long as you remain unteachable, rigid in your disbelief and doubt, you will remain in limbo, unable to firmly stand on your either conviction or suspicion. But in either case, to own one or the other you must ultimately be owned by your belief. You are owned by your faith or doubt when you turn yourself over to it fully. When you are fully owned by your disbelief, then there is no further discussion that needs to be had between you and the God you once trusted.

In fact, your very senses are numb to His presence, your eyes shut, your ears closed and your body turned away. In this instance you have come to grips with the fact that if need be, you would stand up in front of the world and say, “I deny Jesus is Lord,” and you would be content with that denial. But before you jump to your feet, first consider that this verbal rejection of Jesus comes with an effect and that is that as you deny Him so He denies you. As He said in the book of Matthew, “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33 esv). So is it any wonder that in your denial of the one who was sent to save you, that you have found more and more animosity toward God and His people? 

That your heart has hardened more with each passing day? This is the result of Jesus denying you more than it is of you denying Him. The truth is that you own your faith when and only when Christ owns you. William Barley, in The Letters of James and Peter, spoke this better than we ever could when he said, It frequently happens that the value of a thing lies in the fact that someone has possessed it. A very ordinary thing acquires a new value if it has been possessed by some famous person.

In any museum we will find quite ordinary things—clothes, a walking-stick, a pen, pieces of furniture—which are only of value because they were possessed and used by some great person. It is the ownership which gives them worth. It is so with the Christian. The Christian may be a very ordinary person, but he acquires a new value and dignity and greatness because he belongs to God. The greatness of the Christian lies in the fact that he is God’s.

To be owned by God is ultimately to be consumed by Him. When God owns you, your mind returns continually to His presence. You can’t quit Him. You can’t reject Him because He has a hold of you. Many Christian parents claim this to be the case in the lives of their prodigal children.

They claim the faith that they were raised in is the seed that will one day sprout and bring them back. And that is often the case. In these situations, the prodigal cannot stop thinking “what if”; they can’t get Jesus’ face out of their minds and the stain of guilt off of their lives. This is because they are owned and that ownership has its cost. The idea of the seeds of faith first got their start in a story told by Jesus in the parable of the sower.

He explained faith this way:

“Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much soil, and they sprang up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop: some 100, some 60, and some 30 times what was sown. Anyone who has ears should listen!” - (Matt. 13:3–9)

This parable was used to help the agrarian listeners of Jesus’ time better understand the reasons why faith takes hold in some people’s lives but not in others. And to explain what all this meant, He followed up His parable with these words:

“When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path. And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself, but is shortlived. When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yields: some 100, some 60, some 30 times what was sown.” - (Matt. 13:19–23)

So let’s take a closer look. The one sown on the path clearly describes someone who didn’t get it, who never believed. The seed never took root in their lives. That one’s easy. Then comes the one sown on rocky ground.

In this one you can see the “borrower” or the “renter” we talked about earlier, who has no root in himself—all of the root was in others around him. So in this case of borrowed faith, when pressure comes, faith flies out the window. When the rubber hits the road and things get tough, your faith—not being yours to begin with—serves no purpose, gives no hope, and offers no help. Next, the seeds sown among the thorns could be used to describe the one who picks and chooses. The seed finds earth, it digs in, but since its roots are entangled with the roots of thorns, the entanglement or the mixture of multiple beliefs that are inconsistent with each other chokes out faith.

When you pick and choose the parts of God that you want for yourself, you create another God— one that cannot survive the worries of everyday life. And finally, Jesus talks about a fourth landing place for the seeds, and that is the good ground. In this case, the seed finds nice deep soil to bury itself in and take root, and since there are no weeds competing for the attention of the water and the sun, the seed can grow fat and happy and eventually spring up through the earth and climb toward the sun. In this case we see a seed that grows into a tree that then grows more seeds that fall to the ground and plants more trees. This kind of faith multiplies its fruit.

It grows nourishment for those that come to it, it feeds them and makes them want more, and it speaks to the kindness and goodness of the one who sowed the seeds in the first place. If you feel like your faith is on rocky ground and the thorns are fighting to rule your life, then your faith in God may be faltering or all together gone. You may feel Him to be ineffective, distant, unavailable—and because of that, you’ve given up on Him, or at least kept Him at arm’s length. That’s because the truth is that the seed of faith has yet to take root. If your faith doesn’t feel like your own, the truth might be that the seed never truly took root in your life.

That’s good news—it means that the faith that you find ineffective, a failure, was never true faith at all. This just proves that faith in anything or anyone other than God is not faith at all. When your faith isn’t your own, but another’s, when you do not own it, it does not change you, it does not cost you, and it will not save you. And so knowing that, you can be done with the cheap imitation because it has proven to be of no value. Believing what you have had until today was true faith and it just wasn’t enough is the biggest lie you’ve ever believed. 

True faith is powerful and life changing. Fake faith is ineffective and life sucking. But when the seed of faith falls onto good ground, when God clears away the weeds and you receive the seed, true faith can grow. So let’s take a look at what true faith looks like. Let’s all start with the assumption that up until now you were living a lie, a pretend faith—one that looked and sounded real, but you know deep down was anything but genuine.

Let’s start from there and consider what it means to find your faith anew. To see it for what it really is for the first time as you start to consider giving up the charade and instead truly own your faith.

*This Excerpt Published 9/25/2013