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Faith Outside the Box

Betsy St. Amant

Faith Outside the Box

I grew up in the church—literally, I was there every time the doors were open for most of my childhood and beyond. There are so many blessings that come from a strong Christian heritage—but there are many challenges as well. Challenges that stem from routine and absorption, rather than life and certainty. I knew what I believed—I just had no idea why.

You see, as a Christian from a young age, I knew all the buzz words, the lingo, the native language of “church-ese”. I knew all the popular Bible verses and hymns by heart, which is fantastic in one sense, but devastating in another. When we get too familiar with something, it loses its impact. And the life-giving words tended to fly over my head and miss my heart completely.

That’s what happened to my faith.

I knew the word faith. Knew all the Bible verses talking about faith, even had several of them framed and hanging on my wall at home or stitched on a T-shirt or scratched in the margins of my notebook. I knew I was saved through faith. Knew I prayed with faith.

But I didn’t know the power of faith. And I really, really didn’t grasp the definition.

The dictionary says the definition of faith is: complete trust or confidence in someone or something; strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Hebrews 11:1 offers its own definition. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

When things in my life were hard, I had faith, to be sure. For example, a few years ago my husband was laid off from his job for a solid year, to no fault of his own. Yet bills still had to be paid and food bought and we had a toddler. I begged and pleaded with God, knew God had the money we needed, knew God didn’t want us to be destitute, knew God didn’t want us to lose our house. I had faith…

But I’ve come to realize I didn’t actually have faith in Jesus during that time. No, I had faith in faith. Or in other words, I had faith that Jesus would do what I wanted.

Yikes.

I was praying and believing that Jesus would give my husband the specific job we so desperately wanted him to have. I was praying and believing with faith that Jesus would do exactly what I wanted and hopefully would do it super-fast.

That’s a hard realization to wake up to.

And the even harder part was realizing I’d done it again, during a new and more recent storm in my life. It took this particular storm to open my eyes to my harmful faith habits. While praying for God to intervene in my current crisis, I realized with much regret I’d been putting my faith in faith again.

What did my “faith in faith” look like? It was claiming Bible verses that backed up my particular desires, pointing out to God (like He didn’t know!) that what I was praying for was clearly His will, so what was the hold up? I was so busy searching for signs that pointed to the answer I wanted or at least pointed out how the answer I wanted was coming, that I almost missed what Jesus wanted me to learn during the struggle: that he is enough, even if he provides nothing else I so desperately need or pray for.

Yikes x 2.

This is such a sneaky assault of the enemy, using our own theology against us. But he does it, and he does it well. So I encourage you to deeply evaluate your own faith. Are you putting your faith in faith? Or truly in Jesus Christ, in the God who created you, in the Great I Am?

You can’t do both. You must choose.

And only one choice will bring the freedom, peace and joy your soul desires. Jesus is everything we need. Our Heavenly Father provides for us just as He promises in His Word, whether that’s needs of the body, needs of the heart, or needs of the soul.

He is enough. 

Trust me; I know what you’re thinking. “He’s enough, but what about those bills?” “He’s enough, but what about this gnawing ache in my heart that won’t go away because of X?” “He’s enough, but what about this sickness or disease that won’t disappear?” “He’s enough, but what about my broken heart?”

That’s part of your choice. When you say “He’s enough but” you’re actually admitting He’s not.

Forget the conjunctions and just stick a period on the end. He’s enough. I think there has to come a point in every Christian’s faith walk where that period gets stuck on the end of a particular sentence, or is left dangling as that Christian attempts to force God into their box.

(PS - He won’t fit)

So the choice is yours. Keep trying to cram all you know about God, religion, and Christianity into a box, or grab that period mark and punctuate your faith. He’s enough. Period. Faith in Jesus, not faith in faith. Faith in who He is, not just what He does.

Because here’s the mystical, magical, holy part of it all—when you can get to that place where you truly, firmly, 100%, no-going-back, never-be-the-same believe that Jesus is enough, and you can trust who He is…you’ll be blown away by what He does.

Jesus is more than capable of meeting every single need in your life, whether that’s mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual. He can fill every hole, cover ever gap, sew every tear, and right every wrong. And get this—He wants to. He came to give us life abundantly as believers. Life today, not just in Heaven.

Now, that’s not to say He’s going to give you what you want. But it does mean that if He doesn’t, then it’s going to be exactly what it needs to be. It’s going to be for your good and, more importantly, for His glory.

You can trust Him.

Do you really want a God you can put in a box, anyway? 

Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her fireman hubby and adorable preschooler. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is multi-published in Contemporary Romance. Her first YA novel, ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK, released 2012 through Barbour Publishers. When she's not reading, writing, or singing along to the Tangled soundtrack with her young daughter, Betsy enjoys sharing the good news of God's grace through inspirational speaking and teaching. You can read more about Betsy at www.bestystamant.com.

 

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