It is interesting to see how people react when someone brings up the subject of faith. The spectrum goes from those who are offended by the whole idea of faith (feel free to skip this article if that is the case), to those who know that faith holds the key to life's meaning.
Even skeptics admit that people have a spiritual aspect on some level. As philosopher Theilhard de Chardin said, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."
Though some try to satisfy their life with material things, there are longings of the soul that can be satisfied only with spiritual experiences.
Theologian F. B. Meyer said, "Unbelief puts our circumstances between us and God. Faith puts God between us and our circumstances."
D.L. Moody, a lay preacher who founded Northfield Seminary and the Moody Bible Institute, explained how his faith developed this way: "I prayed for faith, and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, 'Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.' I had closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing every since."
The Bible is the only book ever written that gives satisfactory answers to life's ultimate questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What is the purpose of life?
Developing faith is an investment that pays immediate dividends in many areas such as priorities, attitude, family, commitment, thinking and health.
Faith isn't a stagnant, one-time-only thing. Faith continues and grows as we begin to read the Bible, pray, go to church and experience God's faithfulness in our life.
For by grace we have been saved through faith, and not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Being a good person does not earn us a place in Heaven. While church membership, baptism and helping others are positive activities, they don't result in salvation. Only God's grace, accepted through faith in Jesus Christ, can save us.
The better we know God, the more we can trust that his Word is true and that he never changes. Our feelings fluctuate and change, causing us to doubt, but regardless of our circumstances and our feelings, God's Word says that nothing can separate us from his love.
Our life experiences will either drag us down or strengthen our convictions, and enable us to face whatever comes along with confidence.
By pursuing daily faith, we can be confident in God's promises and his presence. Daily confession of our sin, as soon as we recognize it, praying for forgiveness, and trusting in God's promise to forgive, changes how we live the rest of that day.
As we depend on God and know him better, we operate from his strength, and not our own; his desires, not our own.
And there is no better place to be on this earth, than in God's love.
Bonnie Donnelly is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Janet Gossett at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.