When I was in high school, the mission trips we went on often had us “cold calling” on people in neighborhoods so we could learn how to share our faith with others. I will date myself when I say we used “tracts” – little pamphlets we could hand out with titles like, “Will You Go to Heaven When You Die?” These were supposed to help us engage in deeper conversations on faith.
Some of the people we talked to would be eager for us to pray with them about some need they had at the time. But, I always wondered about their faith after we left them. Did they really believe in God and trust him, or was it just for that day while we prayed for them?
Studies have been done by the Pew Research Center that show “The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing.” According to the research, one-in-ten religious “nones” (not affiliated with a religious affiliation) are classified as “inactive” religiously. “These people may hold certain religious beliefs, but they are not currently taking part in religious practices. And most of them simply say they don’t go to church or engage in other religious rituals, while others day they are too busy for religion.”
It’s not enough to just know about God – God wants us to know him, and intimately…to know and grasp just how much we are loved and forgiven! Martin Luther himself was one who had dedicated his life to serving God as a monk, but struggled with doubts when it came to believing God really loved him. It is said his reading of Romans 1:17 “…The one who is righteous will live by faith” was the open door that made him realize God’s love only required one response: faith. Faith, as described in scripture, is trust in God that transforms our lives!
The Prophet Habakkuk described faith that’s alive in Habakkuk 2:4b (The Message): “But the person in right standing before God through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, really alive.” Although this passage is in the Old Testament, it also describes a Christ follower, the person who not only claims his name “Christian,” but one whose faith is leading to a progressively changed…transformed life. – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist