Let’s play a little bit of catch-up here. For people who are working through the stages of faith, and have navigated to this point, here are some things that we have established. First, I can trust God; he is active and present in my life even when things don’t seem perfect. Second, I have learned that my choices and actions have weight and value in the Kingdom of Christ –my personality, complete with both strengths and weaknesses, help to make my relationship with Jesus unique. Third, I am invited to bring all of me – my whole self – into community with Jesus. Because I connect with the warmth of this invitation, I have made a personal investment into the relationship and choose to live my life following Jesus as savior.
An understanding of partnership, as opposed to consumerism, with Jesus leads us to desire impact both in our lives and our world around us. Here we begin to ask “what can I help to change?” and “what gifts has God given me to make changes?” In the previous stage those who ask, “what will change” do so with a passive desire to receive. In this stage, the questions of change and impact grow from a perspective of active desire to give.
Students that find themselves in this stage are asking the question, “what do I have to show for this faith, does it have value?” It truly is an important question. If we are to believe that a life of humility, selflessness and sacrifice in the name of Jesus is something to pursue, it must have value, otherwise we are far more likely to seek to engage in selfish pursuits. At this point, some will assume that the value of faith in Christ is admission to Heaven – but this view neglects a lifetime’s worth of impact. Others can be served, loved and cared for. We as individuals can grow, learn, and change. The love of Christ in our lives can be shared with others. We strive for students to constantly learn that faith in, and eternal life with Christ can begin now.
The risk of this stage is that students may look at a fading faith and think, “my faith has no real value.” I think that many students make it to this stage in faith development, but not through this stage. Our culture provides myriad messages that communicate that faith in Christ has little to no value. Whether it be messages of universal religion, messages of no religion or messages as simple as “personal truth,” our students are bombarded with the notion that faith in Christ is meaningless.
We need to communicate to our students that faith in Christ has value and impact both now and always. To do this, we must first communicate this message in our own lives. So, what is the value of Christ in your life? Once this message becomes clear, we can begin to make it a part of who we are.
Next week we’ll touch on that exact subject, working to understand our identity in Christ.blog comments powered by Disqus