You’re in a tough situation and it has knocked you off your feet.
This surprise circumstance doesn’t fit into your agenda, your schedule or your ability to handle it. You feel like the world is crashing down on you. What is one to do? Oftentimes, our tendency is to call upon our own experiences or our ways of handling problems. Trying in our own effort, we may find some progress but tire of doing it by ourselves with our own resources.
Either we are entering a trial, in one or coming out of one. As we confront this reality, here’s the good news: We don’t have to do it alone. When we think of the gift of faith, we tend to think it’s something we must build by ourselves with God in prayer, reading of the Word or even disciplining ourselves to “get it right.”
But why aren’t we addressing the highs and lows of life with one another? I like to call it a “faith team.” I’ve learned over the years that faith inspires faith. It’s contagious. Faith is like a magnet that draws itself and gets stronger in the process.
Hebrews 13:7 says it best: “Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”
There’s power in connecting with others who have like-minded faith for advice, counsel and how to approach a decision. They may have been in a similar circumstance and can provide insight. I call it your “faith team” because a healthy team can see the blind spots, weaknesses and needed improvements of all the players. Likewise, your team of faith-filled friends, trusted mentors and wise counsel can prove useful during times of great success and times of great disappointment.
I remember when I felt God nudging me to commit my life to ministry (well, it really wasn’t a nudge; more like a tsunami of signs). I resisted (read: disobeyed) because I didn’t want to make the sacrifice. I felt a life of ministry was a life on death row. It seemed dreary, lifeless, and while giving hope to others, you may find yourself deficient of the same.
I prayed but I knew what I needed to do. But I lacked courage. This is when I needed my “faith team.” I talked to my family, good friends, mentors and pastors. Each of them provided a perspective to help build my faith, drain my fears and look at ministry from a different angle. Without them, I would have missed God-sized opportunities.
Here’s a question I’ve asked myself and want to offer to you for reflection: What opportunities are you missing out on simply because you have not connected with your “faith team”?
It seemed foolish to me to live out this life without the help of others who can inspire, motivate, challenge and strengthen my faith. I had to make real Proverbs 12:15 where it says: “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” I would never want to be pegged as a fool. Who would? But the Scriptures make it plain; when I don’t take the step to get needed wisdom from others, my way that seems right could be all wrong.
So how do you get started?
First, identify people in your life who can be that help to you. They don’t have to be Bible scholars or theologians (but that would be cool if you could have that). You want to seek out those who have walked out their faith journey with integrity. As we have all made mistakes along the way, your team is not perfect but they are seeking the One who can show you the way.
Second, don’t be afraid to be transparent about where you are or how you’re feeling about where you are. Oftentimes, we may feel tempted to put on the Superman or Superwoman cape of faith, denying our disappointments, disillusionment and fears.
This approach already sets in motion relationships that are based on lies and masks. Be real. Here I am–my flaws, my questions and my doubts.
Third, look at yourself as one who can inspire someone else’s faith. I have found sharing my own stories of doubts and fears have helped others. They might have already been well-versed in the Scriptures. But their questions rested on how could they live out what the Word of God says. You’ll be surprised how your life can be a mirror to someone else. God is writing on you and wants others to read it. Denying your life story and faith journey denies the power of God in and through you.
This journey of faith was never meant to be lived in isolation, devoid of relationships or absent of conversation. Faith is strengthened and inspired in community. The investment you make in building your own faith through the bonds you’ve made with others will prove life changing and transformational.
I believe this is why most of the biblical narrative is not lectures but stories. From the Old to the New Testament, we see men, women, teenagers and young adults who are taking faith-filled risks and needed others to help them along the way. If we’re going to finish well, we need each other too.
Allow for your faith to be inspired by the faith of others in Christ! With this kind of team effort, there’s no limit to what God can do.