In our church, whoever preaches on Sunday writes up a weekly devotional to go along with the sermon. Here is my last sermon and the devotional that goes along with it.
Encounter: Read John 20:24-29
If we are honest, most of our faith formation ended at 12. For those who have grown up in and around the church our brains are full of bible stories, veggie tales, flannel graphs, and Noah's Ark wall paper. We know the basic gospel and love that Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!
But the second adolescence begins, our wires get crossed and our brains get consumed with trying to figure out who we are and who we can make out with. Developing our theology, deepening our intimacy with Jesus, and being shaped by the Holy Spirit get put on the back burner, sometimes for the rest of our lives.
Most of us have a childish faith. Jesus does call us to have a child like faith, but that isn't what I am talking about. I am talking about the childhood faith that is housed in the body and mind of an adult. What stunts our growth is that by the time we reengage our faith in early adulthood, we bring significant questions and doubts that are no match to the flannel graph stories of our childhood.
If you are someone who's doubts have suffocated your faith, then have no fear! Doubt is normal and natural. In fact, I think it is almost impossible to deepen your faith and love for Jesus without actually having doubts. Doubt means that you are engaged and wrestling with how life and faith work and where you fit in the whole process.
Like Thomas, don't run away because you doubt. Rather, say out loud what you need from Jesus, stay in community, and seek answers! I promise you won't be disappointed. Ask the hard questions, and like Ana said in her poem, "Doubt your doubts."
May we be a people who are not satisfied with a childish faith, or are content being on the sidelines poking holes in the straw men we have created. Rather may we wrestle with all of who we are to test and affirm that our faith is real. And may Jesus show up and have His way with us so that we can get off the sidelines and be used by Him for His glory and His purposes!
Thomas had big doubts and had a high bar set if he was actually going to walk with Jesus. He had to actually put his hands into the hands of Jesus. What are your doubts? What are the things holding you back from being fully in? Don't smokescreen or whitewash the answer. No matter how big or small, try articulating it.
BE A BLESSING:
Who do you need to extend grace to in your life who is struggling in their faith and is landing in a different place than you. How wild would it be for you to stay in community and extend grace and mercy to that person. What a blessing it would be to make sure that that person is still welcome in your life and in community.
How have your doubts and deconstruction of the faith put you on the outs of community? What is keeping you from seeking Jesus in deeper community? Who is someone you can walk with through your doubt? What is one way you can take your connection to our community to a deeper level?