A guest blog post from Crosspoint’s Worship and Communications Intern, Chris Garcia…
In my early high school years, my dad would intentionally remind me that I needed to make my faith my own; that there would come a time when I’m not going to have anyone waking me up for church in the morning (boy was I bad at that) or leading me through a Francis Chan book. In my head, that meant I needed to train up my faith wings so I’d be strong enough to fly once I left the nest. I needed to have more faith.
My parents did a lot of things right in raising me to love God and His people. They didn’t treat church as a chore, but as a joy. The way they talked about Jesus was as an endearing friend of theirs, and they still do. Christianity wasn’t a label, it was a way of life. And my family sought to love the way Jesus does. Like any child, I grew up sharing the beliefs of my parents, and that meant finding a relationship with Jesus at an early age. As a 12 year old, I knew that all of that upbringing — as amazing as it was — wouldn’t be enough to assure that I’d always have strong faith. I knew this because my older brother had fallen away from the faith after graduating from a Christian college.
How does that happen? I always thought he was a Christian like me. Did he not have enough faith? Would the same thing happen to me in college if I didn’t have enough faith? Everything came down to faith for me. Looking back, I now know that that was part of the problem. I think it took me around 20 years to realize that it’s possible to idolize your faith.
I’m 21 now, and I’m still realizing.
Making my faith my own had to do with asking myself if I personally believed in Jesus, and not just because that’s what I grew up thinking. But even after that then, the question became; How do I know if I have enough faith?
But that’s just not the right way to approach Christianity.
If I were only to judge my relationship with God by my “amount” of faith, I would be an inconsistent, independent human trying to impress a perfect and holy God. I would focus more on what I’m doing than on who God is, and what He’s done for me. Paul tells the Galatians that, “a person is not justified by works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law” (Gal 2:16). Notice where Paul uses the word ‘in’ over and over in this verse, and you’ll clearly see that our faith is not supposed to be about us at all. It’s only about Jesus.
Charles Spurgeon said that we have to look past even our own faith and focus solely on the One who our faith relies on. We have to cling to Jesus and turn completely away from ourselves. I was looking to my own effort when the questions should’ve been; Do I know Jesus? Does Jesus know me? Is Jesus my genuine Hope?
This changes the way I pray, the way I read Scripture, and the way I think about what it means to be saved. I grew up with examples of faith all around me, and I believed in Jesus too. But over time, ever so gradually, faith became about me, myself, and I. When instead I needed to throw all my dependence onto my Savior. Parents, encourage your kids to make their faith their own in the same way my parents did. But don’t let their independence become their savior. Remind them what it means to know Jesus as the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).