Every Christian has a story of when her faith changes from head knowledge to heart knowledge, when she becomes convinced Jesus is the only possible way to be saved.
The concept of faith is woven through the pages of Scripture and is essential to a personal relationship with God. In fact, “without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9) and not only is it necessary for salvation it is part of our daily walk and warfare as believers (Ephesians 6:16).
Contrary to popular Christian opinion, the Bible neither exhorts us to have childlike faith nor does it tell us to believe as children believe. The idea that we are to have childlike faith is an incorrect inference based on several passages of Scripture. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14-15; Luke 18:15-17 NIV).
These passages don’t tell us what receiving the kingdom of God like a little child means so it is wrongly assumed to be referring to the faith of a child. In Matthew 18:2-4 Jesus spells out what He means. “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Our goal as believers is not childlike faith. Instead it is to grow to be “mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:4).
You want to be great? You want to make a lasting impact? You want to make a significant contribution? I don’t think that’s a bad ambition—if we’re talking true greatness.
If you’re like me, sometimes it seems we barely keep steady on our spiritual tightrope…and then something—or someone—shakes the rope! Believe it or not, that someone shaking our rope is God. But why does He do that?
Starting is always easier than finishing, which is why follow through is a reflection of character. Besides, God doesn't quit on us, so why should we give up when the going gets tough?
Most of us don't know how to rest. We work hard, and we spend our down time playing hard. We relentlessly pursue happiness and pleasure instead of observing times of renewal.
Developing the habit of deferring gratification is no simple task, especially since we all seem to be multi-taskers these days. We live with the short term in mind.
However, the past few months have made me wonder: if I was given a death sentence would I have the same level of peace and assurance as my grandmother?
I want to pass along some thoughts by way of four simple reminders. Let's call them “commandments,” which apply to anyone graduating—as well as to those of us who graduated years ago.
Many Christians assume that doubt is the opposite of faith. It isn't. Unbelief is the opposite of faith. And somewhere in between faith and unbelief lies the realm of doubt.