Faith ain’t simple!
The church across the street recently put up a new billboard:
It is beautiful, elegant and clean (even if my pic is grainy); but, here’s the problem. Faith ain’t simple. In fact, it’s really difficult. I mean, consider Peter (the rock on which Jesus would build his church) and Thomas. Each of these men followed Jesus intently, studied with Jesus day in and day out, and even they had trouble with their faith (see Matthew 14:22-33 and John 20:24-30).
Faith ain’t simple. Christian understandings of the triune nature, or triunity of God (the Trinity) is a difficult thing for even the most devout Christian to understand. And, let’s not forget the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Mark 15:42-16:8). These are just two examples of just how complex and difficult understanding Christianity can be. And, let’s not forget about the radical ways in which Jesus calls us to live out those understandings of God–love your enemies and be complete in showing love to all (Matthew 5:43-48), turn the other cheek and give those who ask anything of you (Matthew 5:38-42), perform miracles (Matthew 10:8), carry your own cross (Mark 8:34-35)…
I don’t think there is such a thing as “simple faith.” So, I’d like to hang a banner outside the church I serve (across from the billboard..you know to get conversation going) that says something like:
“Life isn’t simple; and, neither is faith.
The things that make life and faith difficult
–pain, guilt, fear, anxiety, failure, and doubt–
we’ve got those too!
We know how difficult life and faith can be.
Join us as we seek to find understanding
and live lives of hope, peace and love!
I know my Christian brothers and sister across the street meant well by their message, but as Christians we need to be honest with those who struggle to have faith. We need to acknowledge that even those closest to Jesus experience moments of pain, guilt, fear, anxiety, failure, and doubt. And, this made, makes, and will continue to make faith difficult for those who seek to follow Jesus.
What Jesus had to say isn’t easy to understand or live out. In fact, it’s so hard that “faithful” Christians do not always live up to the standards they espouse. We are, admittedly, hypocritical at times. Because, faith ain’t easy. And, it is most certainly not simple.