And, you thought faith was all about the stuff you believe! I did for years. I could rattle off what I believed faster than a thirsty runner can down a bottle of water.
“I believe in God!” “I believe the Bible!” “The Bible says it; I believe it; that settles it!” “I believe in the virgin birth.” “I believe…well, you get the point.
I’m at a little different place today. And, I cannot help but feel it’s a little closer to what the stories of scripture…as well as the stories I find in other faith traditions…really mean when they speak of faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is confidence…in what we do not see. This is the faith the ancients were commended for.”
It’s the kind of faith moderns are commended for, too.
Your faith may involve beliefs. But, don’t ever mistake your beliefs for your faith. Beliefs are only your feeble efforts to give expression to your faith experience. Beliefs are like pieces of a puzzle that you try and put together so that they capture something of the beauty of your inner transformation. But, don’t ever think the pieces of the puzzle, nor even the picture of that ineffable Presence that emerges when the pieces are all put together, could ever BE that Presence.
The problem with most religions, including Christianity, is that the pieces of our individual puzzles, and the pieces of our varied denominations within Christianity, too quickly take on a life of their own. Before long, the statements you make about Source become more important to you than the Source toward which those statements point.
Which is why, of course, there are so many denominations within Christianity. But, lest you mistakenly think I’m just picking on Christianity, it’s the same in every other religion, too.
This is precisely why the Buddha said, “The finger that points to the moon is not the moon.” Much of modern religion is little more than finger pointing. We wear those beliefs like a glove then spend most of our time pointing our beloved fingers at each other, shouting, “We’re right! You’re wrong!”
Madness. That’s why I like the picture in this post. It puts faith in its proper perspective.
Faith, real transformative faith, is never really found in your beliefs. Your beliefs, at best, hide your insecurities. When people dash about quoting the Bible, for example, as if by quoting it, they’re proving themselves “right” and those who disagree as “wrong,” they are really only using the Bible as a wall behind which a fragile limiting faith hides.
Real faith needs no such foundation to pretend to be standing upon when really it hides behind it.
Real faith is your willingness to step into the unknown, knowing the Unknown is there.
When you live from this place of faith, you’ll understand what the writer of Hebrews was trying to say.
Blessed stepping, my friend.