What’s the difference between renting and owning? Renting means you can borrow something that belongs to someone else. You can use it and then return it when you’re done. There’s little to no responsibility on your part. If it doesn’t work, you can take it back and get another one. Owning is different. Ownership involves commitment and responsibility. You can’t just return something when it’s broken. You either need to find a way to fix it or it’s going to be broken forever. Understanding the true value of something when you’re renting or borrowing it is difficult. But when you own it, the value should mean a great deal to you… because it’s yours!
Your faith is no different!
So here’s the question I want to ask you: Are the beliefs you hold dear to come from God and your understanding of His word? Or is it based on someone else’s understanding of God and their knowledge of His word?
Do you own or are you renting your faith?
Many people who profess to be Christians are borrowing their beliefs, knowledge, and faith from someone else. It could be from their parents, their grandparents, their pastor, their friends, or even the beliefs the church has told them to believe. I believe there are 3 types of people who do this.
- The Loyal Church-Goer: This is the “I belong to the So and So Church up the street and whatever the people in charge at that church say is what I’m going to believe” type of person. This person’s faith is solely based on whatever church they attend teaches. They see no need to research and study what the Bible says. Rather, they simply need to go to church on Sunday morning and listen to the pastor’s message.
- The Daddy and Mommy Believer: This is the “I go to church because my mommy and daddy say so” type of person. This person’s faith is based on his or her family’s religious traditions. If it was good enough for the parents to believe something, then the kids follow along and believe it too.
- The Wise Leader-Follower: This is the “my pastor is awesome and makes me feel good about myself so I’m going to believe whatever he says” type of person. This person latches onto the man and not the message. Their belief rests on the loyalty he or she has on the pastor.
What do these types of people have in common? Their faith is not their own.
The issue with this is that there is great danger when your faith is not your own. What happens when you begin to go through a difficult time at school or home? If you’re borrowing what you believe from someone else, do you think you’ll be ready to stand strong in adversity?
The question becomes: How do you move from renting your beliefs to owning your faith? This is important because, if you never take that ownership for yourself, if you continue to rely on others to guide you and help you… I can make you one promise: you will struggle when you find yourself in a situation where you need to rely on it.
Think about a tree. When a tree’s roots go deep into the ground, it can withstand all sorts of adversity and weather. Strong winds don’t stand a chance against that tree. However, a tree with shallow roots that spread out wide on the surface of the ground, it won’t be able to withstand the same type of adversity. A strong gust of wind has the potential to tear the tree right out of the ground.
When I was younger, I was faced with the choice of taking ownership of my faith or keeping my parents. I was sitting in the common area of my high school eating lunch when my group friends came up and asked me why I go to church so much. I remember it like it was yesterday. I took the opportunity to tell them about Jesus and they laughed at me. I knew if I continued, then I would lose my friends. A decision had to be made: was I going to give by a borrowed faith to my parents, or was I going to take responsibility and make it my own?
I ended up standing up to them and I wish I could say everything was alright and we are all still friends… but I can’t because we didn’t. Over the next year, I doubled down on owning my faith but I also was the recipient of a lot of bullying and ridicule. However, I was able to get through it all by meditating on this verse:
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine.” | 1st Peter 1:6-7 (NLT)
As I wrap up, I want to give you 4 steps to begin to make your faith your own.
- Read Your Bible: Faith comes from getting into God’s word, by reading the stories, studying Jesus’ teachings, and learning from the apostles.
- Pray for More Faith: There is a story in Mark 9:14-24 of a father asking Jesus to forgive him for his lack of faith and then prays to be given more faith. Did you know you can pray for more faith? We pray for all sorts of things and people, but we can also pray for faith!
- Go Through Trials: Going back to 1stPeter 1:6-7, Peter continues to say that by going through trials, your faith is being tested as fire tests gold. We read in James 1:3 that as your faith is tested, you gain the ability to persevere through tough and tougher situations.
- Share your Faith: The more you share your faith, the more you learn to defend the gospel, and the more it will become your own. The best way to learn something is by teaching.