How Is Your Faith?

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. – Hebrews 11:1 (MSG)

“How’s your faith?” Someone asked me that question the other day.

Interesting. I’ve worked in churches as a pastor for over 30 years but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been asked that question.

And the question itself raises a deeper question: how do you know how your faith is? How do you “measure” faith? Do you measure the amount of faith you have? Do you measure the strength of your faith? Do you measure the health of your faith? What do these questions even mean?

I can tell you how much money I have in the bank, but I can’t really tell you how much faith I have.

I can tell you how much weight I can bench press (it ain’t much!) but I can’t really tell you how strong my faith is.

I can tell you my blood pressure and cholesterol readings, but I can’t really tell you the health of my faith.

There was a time when I measured my faith by how little doubt I had. Did I really believe that Jesus was born of a virgin and bodily rose from the dead? Did I really believe that Jesus was present in the bread and wine? The less doubt I had, the better my faith was.

And there was a time when I measured my faith by the number of check marks on my spiritual To Do list. Did I pray that day? Check! Did I read the Bible? Check? Did I give an offering? Check! The more check marks, the better my faith was.

But these days I see faith differently. Faith is trust in God’s promise, revealed in Jesus, to love me, forgive me, and never leave me. Faith is my trust in God’s promise that God is at work in my life in ways I see and in ways I’ll never know. I trust that I am never alone, loved beyond reason, blessed beyond measure, even when life is hard.

I know my faith is well when I am able to feel at peace, even in chaotic times.

I know my faith is well when I can let go of my petty hurts and offenses, forgiving freely.

I know my faith is well when I can put the needs of others before my own without feeling proud about it.

I know my faith is well when the things I’m grateful for outnumber the things on my “want” list.

I know my faith is well when worship is about giving God my thanks and praise, rather than evaluating when I’m getting out of it.

I know my faith is well when my heart is soft toward those who are sometimes hard to love.

And most of all, I know my faith is well when none of these things is true and yet I still trust that God loves me.

So when my friend asked, “How is your faith?” I could say with a deep sense of gratitude, “My faith is well.”

How is your faith?

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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  • Doug Scott
    Reply

    “I know my faith is well when I am able to feel at peace, even in chaotic times.”

    Hmm? I believe my faith is well when my faith disturbs my peace, prods me from confortability, rebukes my silence, and challenges my complicitness in the chaotic ways of the world and the church.

    • Jeff Marian
      Reply

      Great addition Doug. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

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