be willing to change
Faith is a journey.
We have to be willing to learn. To explore. To let go of things. To embrace new things. To hold on to good things.
It takes courage. It takes honesty. We have to be willing to examine things. Things we believe. Things to were taught. Things we took for granted.
Sarah Bessey speaks about this in her book Out of Sorts:
"If our theology doesn't shift and change over our lifetime, then I have to wonder if we are paying attention."
I believe there is a lot of truth in this. Faith grows and changes. These changes don't have to be monumental, but they might be. They might be small changes; small tweaks of things we hold to. It might be a slow, gradual shift over years and years of prayer and study.
It is okay to question. It is okay to not be satisfied with the status quo answer. It is okay to ask questions and only end up with more questions instead of answers.
In fact, this is probably a healthy thing. We may begin to read, study, listen, learn and conclude that what we have been taught was right. Or we may do all these things and realize that what we were taught just doesn't line up with Scripture. These are all okay things.
The Christian life is not one of acceptance and complacency. We were not created to sit back and let other people figure things out. We are all called to be active members of the kingdom. We don't have to go out and do all the things, but we do have to go out and do something.
It is daunting to examine the belief systems we grew up with, but it is worth it. Get rid of the labels. We do not all have to come out of this and label ourselves as Calvinist, Reformed, Anglican, Catholic, charismatic, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, Brethren. We do not have to be anything other than Christian and follower of Jesus.
As we do this though, we must be careful to not fall prey to emotion driven interpretations. But how do we avoid this? By exploring what the Bible says first. Everything else must be subject to what the Word says.
Just a couple things we need to watch out for when determining what we believe and what the Bible says:
Is it in the Bible? Is what we are saying about Scripture actually in Scripture? Back it up with the Bible. Don’t cherry-pick! Take everything in it’s historical and cultural and Biblical context.
Seek the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. Remember, the Holy Spirit will never contradict what the Bible says. Never. God does not contradict Himself.
Remember that God is so much bigger than any of your ideas of Him. God can’t be fit into a box. No one sector of Christianity has all the answers about God. No one can explain it all.
All of this considered, we need to give ourselves grace in the process. While we strive to interpret the Bible faithfully and live our lives according to its truth, we are fallible human beings. We can never understand everything or get it all right. We are not God. I believe that when we get to heaven we will learn that much of what we held to was not accurate. Here is the comfort for now though: we are not expected to have perfect knowledge. Perfection is not something to be attained in this life, in this world.
So be willing to explore. Be willing to learn study, examine, question. Don't be willing to accept answers at face value. Test the spirits. That which can stand up to what the BIBLE says can be believed and trusted.
Praying for God’s guidance in your life always,