**First, I hope you can join us for Parent Summit next Saturday, February 23. For more details, see the bottom of the article!**
On one hand, faith is a simple thing. It is belief – especially belief in what cannot be seen.
But of course, the factors that lead to faith – and specifically a Faith of Their Own – are elusive, mysterious, and at times, patently unclear. There are correlative factors that tend to be true in children who choose to follow Jesus compared to those who don’t (family worship, a father’s involvement in faith, biblical literacy, to name a few), but there are no formulas and no guarantees.
But one other factor I think is important is the language we use to talk about our faith. And there’s one key word I think we must use – especially with the next generation – when we talk about faith. And that word is TRUST.
Maybe the most poignant question in all of scripture, and the most applicable, is when Jesus turns to his disciples and says “And who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16, Mark 8, Luke 9) There have been theologians, common people, philosophers, and indeed entire generations who try to answer this question. Some say a good teacher, some say a moral man, a good example, or a Jewish rabbi. Some say God incarnate.
The last group – those who acknowledge Jesus’s divinity – are the most interesting to me. Because even though they start in the same baseline place of belief, their actions are very different. Consider the following quote: “A new Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God ‘as described in the Bible.’ And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.” (Read Pew article here.)
So, with that as a backdrop, let’s take those 56% of Americans who believe in God as described by the Bible. Do you think that 56% of the country behaves like they fully grasp who God actually is? Do they fear him (appropriately, as scripture describes)? And do they TRUST him?
My answers? No, no, and definitely not, respectively.
If 56% of our country actually trusted that God was who he said He was and is, then what would be different? Would our national spending habits be different? Our sexual ethic? Our political discourse? Our neighborhood behavior? Our crime rates?
Belief/Faith vs. Trust
One reason I think we have this problem is because the word and understanding of the words belief and faith has transformed. In our modern understanding of these words, one can believe something to be true without it affecting one’s life, actions, or next steps. Belief, we have decided collectively, is a purely and exclusively an intellectual activity.
Now, let me be clear: belief is not a wrong way to talk about Jesus or faith. It is utterly biblical. [Acts 16:31 “They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”; Romans 10:10 “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” To name just a few!] Belief is the bedrock of salvation. One cannot be saved if one believes incorrectly about what constitutes salvation. Belief is essential.
Trust, however, requires something more. Trust, for one, requires an object – we must trust IN something or someone. We cannot trust into nothingness. Trust couples belief with action. Trust is deeper and more complete than belief.
I wish wholeheartedly not to add anything to the gospel. It is belief that saves. It is trust, however, that leads to an active life in Christ, which I believe is better and more fulfilling. And, it is trust which may reveal true belief.
If you know, love, follow, and serve Jesus – if you trust Him – and you want your children to as well, then one thing we can talk with them about is the difference between trust and belief. That some people say they believe, but show no way in which they trust…and how that’s likely, and unfortunately, evidence that they may not believe at all.
Where does trust need to increase in you?
First, where does trust need to increase in your heart?
When you start to trust God with your money, you’re actually trusting God.
When you start to trust God with your sexual desires, you’re actually trusting God.
When you start to trust God with how your kids will turn out, you’re actually trusting God.
When you start to trust what God says about who you are, rather than your destructive self-talk, you’re actually trusting God.
When you start valuing your worth from God’s commands, promises, and loving actions rather than your comparison to others, you’re actually trusting God.
How can you lead your children to trust Jesus more this week in one key thing or area? Pray, and ask God to show you where you need to trust more. And pray for your children’s trust to increase – where ever they are in their journey.
Until the next Feast,
News and Announcements
PS – Don’t forget to sign up for Parent Summit – just one week away! There’s still room for you and it’s going to be FANTASTIC. You can register at: https://www.calvaryefc.org/ministries/family-ministries/parent-summit
JUST ONE WEEK AWAY – BUT THERE’S STILL ROOM FOR YOU!
WHO: For any and all parents, and especially designed with tracks for those who have preschool through high school-aged kids.
THEME: “God’s Got This.” With a broken world full of broken people, we can’t hide our kids from the hurt forever. So, now what? How do we help, protect, and engage the hurt in our kids and around our kids?
KEYNOTE SESSIONS: by Vicki Tiede; Breakouts by several area and regional parents and youth/children’s experts, including former Calvary youth pastor Nate Stenholtz, IT expert Gail Peterson, Youth Pastor John Chaco, Family-Equipping Pastor Brian Martin, Isaac Karow, youth pastor at Marion Church of Christ, and more.
We cannot provide childcare at this time. We hope you can find a sitter for this great event!
Contact Brian Martin with any questions : [email protected].