6 Personal Evaluations to Keep Our Faith Strong
- Dr. Audrey Davidheiser Crosswalk Contributing Writer
- 2022 6 Apr
You can call me many things, but “apostle Paul” isn’t one of them.
This article isn’t the result of a misguided view of myself as an expert on Christianity. Rather, consider it my way of personalizing the timeless command to exhort one another in Hebrews 3:13.
Perhaps you’ve noticed the increasing darkness invading our society. From Tik Tok to video games to the normalization of marijuana, addiction poisons our society. Sex trafficking rings steal our kids. Gender identity confusion bombards our tweens. Eastern religions and mysticism compete for our spiritual allegiance.
In a climate like ours, true biblical faith could slip from our grip as easily as the name of an acquaintance we’ve just met.
But can we be honest? This article is for us all, not just newbies in the faith. For instance, I can’t imagine deserting Jesus—not after all He’s done, salvation claiming the top spot. Yet the Bible commands me to examine my faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). So, even if you, like me, have walked with the Lord for a while, let’s remain vigilant and evaluate the condition of our faith on a regular basis.
As Paul stated, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12, NLT).
Here are 6 ways to keep our faith in Jesus—no matter what tries to assail it.
1. Side with God
Are you aware of the Christian version of a politically correct line? It’s to claim we prioritize God. However, this commitment is tested by trials and sudden turn of events.
Perhaps you’ve prayed earnestly for the promotion at work, but it landed on your coworker instead. Or maybe you’ve been asking God to heal a loved one, but the person died. Life happens—and it crushes your hope.
Side with God no matter what.
When events unfold in such a way to deny the fulfillment of your expectations, God is still good. You may wonder about why He let certain things happen, but God is still good. Rail at God if it helps, but you’ve guessed it—God is still good.
God, Who is love, cannot change (Psalm 102:27, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8). He’s always good.
Then why do we suffer from unfulfilled expectations? Since God is the only One who knows the absolute answer regarding every dashed hope, ask Him—and stay open to hearing His answer.
Rest in the fact that God never hides any malicious agenda: “God is pure light. You will never find even a trace of darkness in him” (1 John 1:5, TPT).
2. Feed on the Word Daily
Are you busy? Me too. However, the Bible is the one book we can’t afford to exclude from our daily schedule. Just a few minutes in its pages can set the tone of your day and transform your downcast soul. Unsure where to begin? Google “Bible reading plans” and pick one. Wary you won’t get much out of it? Here are some suggestions.
The more you invest into Bible reading, the more this habit will grow on you.
You can also petition heaven for an insatiable hunger for God’s Word. This kind of prayer pleases Him—and will therefore be granted (1 John 5:14-15, NLT).
If you stumble on a confusing verse, or if some verses seem to contradict each other, adopt the psalmist’s attitude: “Each of [God’s] commandments is right” (Psalm 119:128, NLT). Resolve to seek God about them. Because the Bible is His Word (John 1:1, John 1:14), you can ask the Holy Spirit to explain what you’re confused about—and be patient. The Lord answered some of my befuddlement only after years of waiting for His explanation.
3. Stop Settling for Spiritual Frauds
Mediums. Psychics. Tarot Card readers. Witches and warlocks. Horoscopes. These are places and people Christians never need to consult or aspire to do.
Because Someone greater lives in you 24/7. His name is the Holy Spirit, and it’s His power that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11).
If the Holy Spirit successfully resurrected Jesus in one snap second, what can’t He do for you?
Anytime you’re curious—or worried—about the future, ask the Resident God inside of you on what to expect (John 14:26, John 16:13). His station as a Member of the Godhead means He has more wisdom and knowledge than anyone who taps into spiritual realities while bypassing Him altogether, which is what psychics do.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Sarah Noltner
4. Join a Church
One of my clients juggles a funky schedule. As a result, she alternates between seeing me via telehealth versus having in-person sessions. Every single time she arrives in my office, she would sink into the brown tufted chair in the corner, stroke the leather surface, and exhale deeply.
Her enjoyment of my office is palpable.
If my client can feel so strongly about meeting me—a mere human being—face-to-face, how can worshipping God in His house mean any less?
There’s a reason Hebrews 10:25 forbids us from forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. Attacking life’s problems alone is challenging—even after you receive Christ. This is why attending a local church is a must.
Which brings us to COVID.
The pandemic might have trained us to stream church services, but now is the time to pray about rejoining in person—if you haven’t already.
Streaming an online church service won’t necessarily allow other churchgoers to know you. But bearing each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) is next to impossible when those who are supposed to help you with yours barely know you exist, let alone what you’re struggling with.
There’s simply no substitute for encountering the faith of the parishioners around you or the presence of the Lord in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). Being immersed in the atmosphere of mutual faith is how our own faith gets rejuvenated (Romans 1:11-12).
5. Disregard Fellow Christians’ Failures
Have you heard something shocking fellow Christians have done? This could include those in your circle, as well as headline-making, high-profile Christians. Or how about breaking news about ministers who slept with someone other than their spouse, stole money from church funds, or renounced their religious beliefs?
I know folks who felt discouraged after a prominent Christian apologist was exposed as a serial sexual abuser. They wondered if their faith was real, now that the guy who taught them about the Lord appeared to have lived a double life.
Their bewilderment is understandable, but here’s the thing. Christians—prominent leaders included—have the potential to yield to temptations. These beguiling offers to embrace sin might even intensify the more visible these believers become, because if the shepherd is struck, the sheep will scatter (Zechariah 13:7, Matthew 26:31).
Let’s help any Christian we’ve placed on a pedestal find their way back to ground level. This way even if they fall, it won’t trample our faith.
6. View Sexual Sin as Harmful
Whenever we sin—and if we refuse to repent—it distances us from God (Isaiah 59:2, Psalm 66:18). In this sense, sexual sins are like any other sins.
Unlike other types of sin, however, sexual sin afflicts our body: “whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18, NIV).
How does keeping ourselves sexually pure help protect our faith?
According to the Bible, “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV). Having sexual relations outside marriage, which is God’s protective plan for humanity, means we’re accumulating debris within our vessels.
Doing so will clog our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, which will make it easier to sin—which will then restart the cycle all over again.
The verse we started off with—Hebrews 3:13—explains the ultimate reason for why we’re to encourage each other: so no one will grow hardened against God (NLT). According to this verse, a hardening can happen when we’re lured away by sin’s deception.
But this also means we should weigh carefully corrective words from a brother or sister in Christ. If their rebuke has to do with an area in which we’ve deviated from biblical values, how about purposing to inquire the Lord regarding their input? If there’s any truth to what they suggested, let’s humble ourselves and modify our lives accordingly.
And let’s continue cheering each other on our faith journey as we zoom closer to Jesus’ return (Hebrews 10:25).
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Ralf Geithe
Audrey Davidheiser, PhD is a California licensed psychologist, certified Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist and IFSI approved clinical consultant, as well as author of Surviving Difficult People: When Your Faith and Feelings Clash. After founding and directing a counseling center for the Los Angeles Dream Center, she now devotes her practice to survivors of trauma—including spiritual abuse. Visit her on www.aimforbreakthrough.com