Keep your eyes open for spiritual danger; stand true to the Lord;
... be strong and whatever you do, do it with kindness and love.”
I Corinthians 16:13-14
Having a healthy faith comes down to honesty and integrity of the heart. Healthy faith uses the Bible to challenge itself not justify itself. People with a healthy faith look to be humbled, to surrender, to be held accountable, to be corrected and to be malleable in Christ’s strong but gentle hands. A healthy faith recognizes that God uses life experiences to do the hard work of transforming us into the image of his Son. Our lives enable us to develop a healthy faith in God. This pursuit is never ending and at times we may see tremendous growth and times of near stagnation. Yet through all times, God asks us to seek him as he seeks us so that we might develop a mature faith.
There are 8 core elements which characterize a mature faith.
1. Trust in God’s saving grace and believe firmly in the humanity and divinity of Jesus.
2. Experience a sense of personal well-being, security and peace.
3. Integrate faith and life, seeing work, family social relationships and political choices as part of one’s ‘religious’ life.
4. Seeks spiritual growth through study, reflection, prayer and discussion with others.
5. Seeks to be part of a community of believers in which people give witness to their faith and support and nourish one another.
6. Holds life-affirming values, including commitment to racial and gender equality, affirmation of cultural and religious diversity and a personal sense of responsibility for the welfare of others.
7. Advocates social and global change to bring about greater social justice.
8. Serves humanity consistently and passionately through acts of love and justice.
Imagine if everyone who claim the name of Christ could truly be said to possess a mature Christian faith. What a wonderful world we would live in! But we know that this takes time effort and energy. The first-century believers in Jesus did turn the world upside down—why can’t we?
Would you define your Christian faith as mature? Or maturing and in process of growing closer to God? In reading the list of core elements which characterize Christians of mature faith, which elements do you see yourself doing well? Which elements do you think need more attention? Maybe there are some elements listed above which you have not even thought about!
When we consider having a healthy faith, it is looking at these core elements and enabling balance to occur- self growth and caring for others. All are a part of one’s healthy faith and growth in relationship with Jesus and this is what each one of us is seeking-- A stronger relationship with Jesus.
PRAYER: Loving God, we thank you that we may grow closer in relationship with you and that through this life, our journey of faith takes on new ways to show you how much we love you. Help us to seek Jesus and to learn from His teachings each day of our life. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This reflection is based upon ideas of by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton More Jesus Less Religion: Moving from Rules to Relationship. Colorado Springs, Co: Waterbrook Press,2000. Chapters 14- Epilogue