John 6: 35
Faith in a Creator God is, like Love, a decision. It is also a gift for those who seek it. It may have started culturally if we were raised in a family tuned to faith or it may have developed in adult life as a response to a search for meaning in life or in some other way that elicited a response culminating in faith. However it happens, even where the seeds are evident from childhood, it ultimately demands a decision, for our God respects above all our freedom to either accept Him or reject Him.
For Christians, inspired scripture sets out God’s story and God’s plans for his children. The act of immersing oneself in scripture can, for the seeker, be the instrument through which faith emerges and for the baptized Christian the instrument that nourishes and expands one’s faith.
Unfortunately at least in the West, fewer and fewer people seem to be concerned about whether or not they have faith and if they do whether that faith is alive or simply a response to a question about religious affiliation.
Faith is much more than just a belief in the existence of God. It is, in fact, a marvelous journey of discovery that creates an atmosphere of peace and joy in one’s life that needs to be shared with others.
Today, evangelizers of the Gospel face the difficult task of convincing people that the material things surrounding them are of little and passing value in a world largely deaf to the reality of the spiritual life distracted as they are by the prevailing secularism of the age. If we succeed it is often because people see in our lives a reason for hope.
As Christians we need to thank God each day for the wonderful gift of faith. We also need to invite the Holy Spirit to prompt each of us to use our own unique gifts to introduce others to Jesus. We all have the ability to contribute according to our own giftedness and station in life. Each contribution no matter how seemingly small is priceless. The Holy Spirit will use our efforts to create a collage of contributions that will effectively touch others.
Helen and I have witnessed the effect of the Alpha Program on the lives of seekers but also on the lives of cradle Christians who have come to a more mature understanding of their faith through Alpha. This is but one of many programs available to be used as a tool of evangelization.
Our culture is becoming more and more antagonistic to Gospel values. We know that we will be persecuted as Jesus was while here on earth. We need to respond with love and quiet dignity in our role as evangelizers.
Sit down with Jesus in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your faith and show you how you can be his disciple in the effort to win over the hearts and minds of those pre-occupied with the world. The battle for souls is on-going. The enemy is active and we need to be too!
We need to focus first though on our relationship with Jesus. We are going to be His emissary. We need to develop intimacy so that we are secure in sharing with Him our inner most thoughts and desires. If we are encountering difficulty in our faith or with sinful inclinations who better to share those with? Jesus loves us with an ardent passionate love and he sees the struggles we encounter and wants to help.
Develop your own private place for devotional prayer. Mine is my office early in the morning, coffee in hand and scripture and scripture aid nearby. I try to always use my imagination in prayer and I imagine that Jesus is physically with me. Sometimes I place myself in the scripture passage itself and imagine that Jesus communicates with me as well as with others. At other times I imagine Jesus is in my office sharing a cup of coffee. This process makes Jesus present to me and helps me to digest his advice for the day. If I am troubled, for whatever reason, I always come away from the encounter refreshed and at peace.