Faith is hard, I’ll be the first to admit. Life is difficult, things get complicated, and sometimes it takes all we have just to keep on going. Add faith to that? It’s not easy. It’s a fact of life that sometimes we struggle with faith. If you haven’t been there, you will be. If you have, you’ll be there again.
As most of us have heard a million times before, “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV). It sounds simple, but often the simplest passages are the hardest to fully grasp.
This verse tells us that when we follow after God, we can have confidence in our hopes as they line up with God’s heart, and we can be assured that God is real and is for us, despite not being able to see him with our eyes. Sometimes faith is as easy as this Hebrews 11:1 makes it sound, and sometimes life makes it much less attainable. Honestly, sometimes I forget WHY it’s even best to have faith, let alone HOW to have faith.
I love the English Standard Version of Hebrews 11:1. The only difference from the NIV, is that it says faith is a “conviction of things not seen.” That one word is important. Conviction keeps us rooted in what we believe. What happens when we lose our sense of conviction? The necessity of faith seems to become less apparent.
About a month ago, I noticed a change in my thoughts. I started thinking about the world differently. Maybe this lifestyle is okay. Maybe this action isn’t that bad. Maybe Jesus and Scripture aren’t really the answers to EVERYTHING. It was an odd realization. Amidst leadership, community, and a real relationship with God, I still managed to let my conviction slip. Why do I follow God? Is it because it’s what I’ve done for so long? Is it because it’s what my parents do? Is it because it’s what everyone around me does? The voices were loud and they were drowning out the voice of truth. Luckily God faithfully and quickly brought me out of this mindset. But how?
When I realized this shift in my thoughts, I knew I needed to reach out to God and ask for an increase of intimacy with Him. When I did this by faithfully pursuing Him through community, mentorship, prayer, and scripture, he faithfully answered. I was reading my Bible when I opened to Psalm 63, and verse 3 stood out to me. King David writes from the desert of Judah, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you!”
When I read this I paused. Your love is better than life. I was struck with awe. I interpreted this verse as saying that Jesus’ love is better than life itself, and that is why I praise him. And I immediately remembered. I don’t subscribe to Christianity because of habit, my parents, peer pressure, or weakness. I hold a firm conviction that Jesus’ love is better than life and anything the world could offer me, and that is why I follow him.
This verse quickly became my mantra and I utter it throughout every day. His love is better than my life, so I will glorify him. It permeates every action and every thought and this truth helps me turn to God every day for the peace, strength, and conviction I need to follow him and faithfully make it through even the toughest of circumstances.
Faith is hard, but God is so big and he faithfully pursues and rescues those who seek him. Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself in a season of doubt or lack of conviction. However, you need to know that in this time of doubt, though intentionally seeking Jesus is the last thing you want to do, it is the only way you will make it through to the peace and love of the Father. Be encouraged today that God meets us where we are.
It’s so funny how hard we like to make our relationship with Jesus. Remember, He’s only a prayer away and his love letters to you are right there, waiting to be opened. Take a leap of faith and enter into assurance of a love so good, it doesn’t need to be seen to be understood.
By: Victoria Rinear