Last Sunday James spoke about the importance of us having a faith that is both existentially satisfying as well as intellectually credible. (If you weren’t there, it’s well worth a listen to the podcast). I wonder where your faith sits on the scale of those two things. Is your faith existentially satisfying? Is it intellectually credible? Of course, there are times when we are struggling in either of those areas; that’s been a normal part of the faith journey for people down through the ages and remains an important part of our growth as people of faith.
When I was 17 and seriously questioning my faith, one of the best things that a person who was discipling me wrote to me was that my doubt didn’t seem like a doubt that was denying God, rather a doubt that was seeking to know Him and come closer to Him. That freed me to continue to wrestle with both the experience of my faith and the intellectual credibility of my faith. Through that wrestling, both grew deeper.
So are you growing in each of these areas? What are you doing that grows you in either of these things? How are you wrestling with them? Which are you weaker in and therefore need the most growth in? Neither of these areas is ever really static. We are either growing more existentially satisfied in our relationship with Jesus or less so. Likewise, we are either growing more grounded in the credibility of our faith or less so. So how will you continue to grow?
We are in a world where our faith is challenged from many angles and it is important that we continue to pursue knowing Christ deeply. This is true for each of us and it’s also true for our young people. It’s so important for them, as well as us, to have a real experience of relationship with Jesus and to increasingly grow in their understanding of the intellectual credibility of the Christian faith. That’s what we aim to provide spaces for in our kids and youth ministries. It’s also what is important for all of us to encourage our young people and one another in. I’d encourage you to share with some others this week the way in which your faith is existentially satisfying and to discuss the intellectual credibility of your faith; also to share some of the ways you have grown in each of those areas in recent times. Equally, it’s important for us to make opportunities to share our wrestles in these areas and encourage and resource each other to continue wrestling, as I was encouraged as a 17 year old. Certainly that encouragement and permission was significant for me in continuing on in my faith at that point.
As we do this, I pray that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17-19).