Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of T. Suzanne Eller's new book, Making it Real: Whose Faith is it Anyway?, (Kregel Publications, 2008). 

You may have been going to church for a long time. You may know lots of Bible stories. You may even pray regularly. But why? What is it that motivates you: a desire to be a good person, a sense of tradition, or a passion to connect with God? What do you really believe about God, anyway?

If you’ve ever wondered if there’s more to faith than what you’re experiencing now, you can benefit from asking questions and discovering more.

Here are some crucial questions you can consider to make your faith real:

Questions about which way you should go in life:

·         “Is God more than a feeling?”: God is bigger than your feelings. Living by your changing feelings will prove unreliable, but trusting God – who doesn’t change – will give you consistent faith. Remember that God loves you despite whatever negative feelings you may experience, and He is faithful whenever you struggle. Place your trust in biblical truth rather than your emotions.

·         “Do I own my convictions?” Instead of relying on the convictions of others (like your parents, Sunday School teacher, or pastor), explore what you really believe, and why. Ask God to enlighten you and strengthen your core belief system. Get to know the Bible well, and apply its truths to your life. Decide to live out your convictions with courage, wisdom, and faith.

·         “Is my faith more than a habit?” Faith is much more than just following religious traditions. God wants your faith to motivate you to freely worship Him out of love, not obligation. Faith should be dynamic; always helping you grow closer to God and become more like Christ. Ask God to give you a fresh vision of His purpose for your life. Then offer yourself to Him to do your part in His important work on earth.

·         “Is my faith only a group activity?” Faith isn’t a spectator sport. Move beyond just enjoying large worship services with your friends to spending time alone with God on regular basis. Pray about your deepest thoughts and feelings during your one-on-one times with God.

·         “Am I ready to take a u-turn?” If you’ve been heading in the wrong direction – away from God – decide to turn around and head toward Him through confession and repentance. God will meet you where you are and help you draw closer to Him.

·         “Do I push God away in the tough times?” What’s your response to tough times when they come? Realize that you need God all the time – and especially during tough times. Don’t isolate yourself from God when challenges hit. Instead, pray about your troubles and ask God to bring good purposes out of them.

·         “Do I give God the first opportunity?” When you need guidance, do you turn to other people or just sort through your own feelings before ask God for help? Turn to God first. If you do, He’ll give you the discernment necessary to help you figure out the best way to proceed.