We’ve all heard of or experienced horror stories of people being beat into the ground through a “You don’t have enough faith” battle-hammer-pounding. The hard part is that Jesus uses similar language throughout the gospels. “Oh, you of little faith. Do you still not believe? If you only had faith the size of a mustard seed.” This stuff is tricky and difficult.
What is faith? Is faith required for God to do miracles? If something doesn’t happen, does that mean I don’t have enough faith? What’s on the line in my own sense of identity if I don’t have “enough faith”?
God told me something the other day (or I was talking to myself in public again… so awkward). And, it has really got me thinking.
Me: What’s Your plan then, God? (I was asking about finance stuff)
God: My plan is to first set you free. This is always my plan. Internal change produces external results. Welcome to My Kingdom. My Kingdom creates something within people which then creates out of them into the “real world,” as you call it.
Me: What do You want to create within me, then?
God: The reason you don’t see it showing up in your life is because it is not within you yet. Faith is a living organism within you that produces something out of you. Without the organism being alive and well, how can the result come to be?
Me: Father, what does faith look like inside of me?
God: A cluster of organisms. Tiny. Unseeable. They can be spent, they can be killed. They can be nourished with a healthy diet. Think of faith like you think of bacteria. Take some probiotics and your gut-health improves. Improve your faith-gut-health. Take some faith-biotics. Let faith grow within you. Faith will do its own work when the time is right.
When God tells me stuff like this (which usually looks like me journaling the spontaneous thoughts that show up in my mind/imagination and testing it against scripture/God’s character), I don’t start a new doctrine, new denomination, or new cult based on this info. I take this stuff as a invitation to wrestle with a concept from a new angle. I don’t take it as a “This is objectively, universally, and eternally true,” statement. I approach it how I would approach someone telling a parable.
We could call this “The Parable of the Faith-biotic.”
This conversation with God has sparked some wonderings that I would like to ask alongside you:
How do you cultivate faith?
How much of this is my job and how much is God’s job to cultivate faith?
Does this approach on faith lessen the shame around “You don’t have enough faith”?
How does my faith or lack thereof impact God’s thoughts about me?
If one of my kids was sick and needed help becoming well, I would talk to them about what we could do to get better, but never, EVER would my relationship with them depend on their getting well. The more sick they are, the more they are going to need love, comfort, and support.
It’s so easy to think of faith as, “I have to impress God enough to convince Him to do something nice for me.” Maybe it has nothing to do with convincing God of anything. Maybe He just wants to help you cultivate a healthy gut so you can maintain a better standard of living. Maybe He doesn’t change what He thinks about you no matter how much faith you do or don’t have.
Maybe my connection with Him isn’t on the line. If that’s true, it gives me a lot of freedom to wrestle with my own state of faith with honesty and courage.