Sometimes you need to give up your faith to get faith. What I don’t need is the kind of faith that is committed to what I believe is the right way for things to go. I must constantly guard my heart, mind and spirit from clinging to my own rendition of faith. For faith to be real, it has to be given by the Spirit of God, and not based on my own understanding. Faith is sure of what is unseen.
I can’t move forward in faith until I recognize that I carry unexamined expectations of where the road of faith will lead me. My childish beliefs about faith must be laid aside if I am to grow in true faith. Since God is always for me, my faith might cause me to believe that everything will work out well for me and therefore not so good for those who come against me. When the opposite happens, my expectations reveal that I have faith in my plan—not true faith. I will never grow to true faith as long as I cling to childish faith, unexamined and unquestioned regarding the harsh realities of this world.
Hebrews 11:1 is the definition of faith. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Often it is the desire to see that creates the childish faith I am trying to give up, yet it cannot be faith if you can see it. Thomas Keating even goes so far to say, “The desire to feel God is a lack of faith because God, in fact, is already here.” [i] I must extend my soul beyond the boundaries of my faith if I have any hopes of experiencing true faith. Faith is seeing God in everything that happens and knowing that He is not looking the other way but that He is exactly in the middle of everything. If He is not acting, He is still giving me faith to believe in His purpose for His inaction. Faith is at its deepest when I believe in spite of not seeing.
I want to believe that the one thing I can bring to the table in my relationship with God is certainly my faith in Him. Not even that is enough. Philippians 2:13 always humbles me and drives this point home: “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” The times that I have real and genuine faith are because of God’s presence and God’s power. I do not have the faith on my own. I need faith to examine my lack of faith.
I grow in faith as I give up my faith. I move from a brownie point mentality with God that says if I do so many good things I am sure to get a bonus for the week, into a mysterious adventure with God who asks me to believe in His love even when nothing looks like He is loving me, is there for me, has got my back.
This is the journey of faith.
As I let go of my faith, then I am able to experience the kind of supernatural faith that only God can offer to a soul. It is only in letting go of my faith that it becomes true faith. My mind can hinder my faith. I must move beyond understanding and seeing to letting go and discovering the mysterious relationship and intimacy with God contained in an experience called faith.
[i] S. Stephanie Iachetta Ed. By, The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living (Continuum: New York, 2005), p. 272.