There’s a popular trend within the church of young people “deconstructing” their beliefs in regards to the Bible. Alisa Childers (apologist) defines faith deconstruction as, “the process of systematically dissecting and often rejecting the beliefs you grew up with.”
Deconstructing your faith can either propel you forward or it can pull you back!
Faith deconstruction can pull you back from faith because you allow your opinions about it to trump scripture’s meaning of it. You may manipulate the meaning of scripture’s truth to fit your own feelings about it. “What’s true for me, is truth for me.” Now, another side of it can be fruitful. The fruitful side of faith deconstructing is when you reconstruct it alongside the Bible, with God and among believers in Christ. This will propel your faith forward making a stronger connection to God because you are asking and seeking. The Bible says those who ask and seek will find. Find what? Find Him.
I Deconstructed my faith 4 years ago
However, instead of rejecting the beliefs I grew up with… I decided to re-learn them, biblically. Not through my own opinion/feelings or popular preacher at the time, rather looking closely to the Bible and learning how to understand it. Instead of only listening to “pump-up” sermons, I decided to follow teachers that explained the Bible and how to read it. Although I’d never ever use the word “deconstructing”, I’d say I dedicated more time to “dissecting” scripture to better understand it. I chose to biblically understand it not merely just follow what people told me or what I told myself was “true”. This is a practice I continue to process. To ask questions. Then seek God for answers through understanding his Word and being convicted and comforted by it. Opening my heart to truth regardless of how I feel at the time about it. A fruitful process in growing our faith in THE truth not just “our own” truth.
Deconstruct your faith, BUT don’t LOSE it!
If you’re searching for biblical understanding – you’re in the right spot. God answers those who earnestly seek and believe in him!
Resources that continue to help me understand the Bible:
The Bible isn’t a shelf decoration. It’s your life’s dedication. To grow in faith requires reading God’s word and putting it into action.
If you grew up in a Christian home you might remember singing this song as a kid. It goes like this… 1 Chorus: “Read your Bible, pray every day, Pray every day, pray every day; Read your Bible, pray every day, And you will grow, grow, grow.” 2nd chorus: “Don’t read your Bible and forget to pray, And forget to pray, and forget to pray; don’t read your Bible and forget to pray, And you will shrink, shrink, shrink.”
Lean into the growing process
As my fear becomes larger than my faith I tend to shrink; burying myself in worry and distrust in God. I realize my earthly priorities aren’t in line with God’s eternal vision. A sure sign I haven’t been reading my bible and praying everyday. A sure sign that I need to get that Bible off the shelf and into my hands. Then I’ll… “grow, grow, grow”. Grow in faith, grow in peace and grow in vision of God’s will for my life.
1 Verse in 3 Different Translations
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
In these three different translations you have 3 different verbs: “persevering, patiently and enduring.” This verse encourages us to not only hear God’s word but to actively hold on to it. How do we do that? Through consistency of reading and praying everyday so his words are secured in our heart. Even in face of trials and suffering we can stand firm on the word of God and grow… grow… grow!
Obey Christ to Follow Christ to Grow in Christ
It takes obedience to follow Jesus, the original trailblazer, who blazed a trail for us to connect to God. To navigate this route we have our “map” – the Bible. A navigational tool that leads and equips us to take the steps it requires to stay on trail so we can grow in likeness of Jesus.
Seeking God is not in vain if you seek: humbly, wholeheartedly and in faith that he will answer you.
What a joy it is to know God wants us to find him because he wants to be found. He wants a relationship with us. He is a forgiving and grace-giving God waiting for us to acknowledge, admit and adhere to his love. Our part is to realize we are in need of him; the start to seeking.
I grew up in a Christian, God-serving, church-going household and I am forever grateful for my upbringing as my parents guided me to faith. Growing up, I also grew very passionate about playing basketball with the goal to receive a scholarship to play in university. In 2007, I achieved that goal and accomplished a great rookie year. However, the academic side of school became a huge stress in my life and basketball became more of a job than a sport I loved. I started to question my own happiness and wondered where God was in all of this. I worked so hard, yet became so unhappy. Aren’t “Christians” happy people? I’d often ask myself. I realized I needed help beyond myself. I needed God.
Seeking begins with a realization we cannot save ourselves.
Summer of 2008, I cried out to God in desperation to find this “inner peace” and “joy” I heard so many times in church. Why hadn’t I found this to be true for me? I went straight to the source – God in prayer. Laying it all out, my fears, disappointments and feelings. Then, after much prayer, I decided to take a year off to learn about my identity as a Christ-follower instead of a basketball player.
Seek and you will find.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
I sought God in prayer, surrendering my scholarship or what else I knew to give me happiness in exchange to learn more about following him. So, I asked God for three things: the ability to keep training my basketball skills (to keep the option of playing again probable), to get a job and to travel. Within three weeks of this surrendering prayer, God answered me. I received a job as an assistance basketball coach, whilst on the side being trained by the head coach. As well as, working as a front desk clerk for GoodLife Fitness (which included a free membership). Then a friend invited me to join her to volunteer for a bible school called, “Youth with a Mission” (YWAM) in the Sunshine Coast of Australia. God gave me the three specific things I asked for in prayer (basketball training, a job and travel). To me that was confirmation that God heard my prayer. Now, it was my turn to learn about following him…
I took the year off to travel and seek God.
I took a year off of university and set off in January 2009 to travel with YWAM in Australia. During my time volunteering with the Bible school I got to sit in all the Bible lectures teaching me about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
One day I can remember the moment that all my seeking came to a halt because the presence of God met me. It was during a worship song and prayer time. I felt so discouraged that I made all this effort to serve God and I still didn’t feel he was near. I became mad and left the room towards a bathroom stall to pout. Then I prayed again, “God, why aren’t you answering me? Don’t you see all my effort I am doing to pursue you???” I will never forget the immediate answer I felt in my heart from the Lord that day. I heard within my Spirit God say, “Emily, you are here becauseI pursued you”.
God is always in Pursuit of you.
God wants a relationship, a two-way-street. He wants us to respond to his pursuit of love for us. For me, I realized he wanted more than just faith, he wanted my participation or willingness to allow him to change me. The moment I realized he wanted my participation was the moment our relationship became real. He wasn’t forcing me to follow him, he was waiting for me to say “yes”.
You seeking him is a response to that initial pursuit of his.
Saying “yes” to God means repenting of our sins and adhering to his will. We learn about his will through reading the the Bible. Understanding God’s character makes his presence more known than simply waiting on a physical “feeling” to emerge.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
I am more aware of the presence of God because of how much more I know about him. And one thing I know about him is that he calls us to seek him diligently (Proverbs 8:17) and continually (1 Chronicles 16:11). In all things and in any circumstance he is there and he is approachable because his love for us came before our love for him.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Deciding to take that year off changed the course of my life and my faith for the better. As it lead to another month of travel and yet another bible school with YWAM in Montana, USA, called: Summer of Sports. Continuing my training on the court whilst training spiritually off the court.
After that year off, I was able to return to my university basketball scholarship and finish my degree. What a miracle that was! Praise God!
Why I share my story.
I share part of my life to encourage you that when you seek God with your whole heart, your seeking is not in vain. Every time I go back to God, whether its in a life-crisis or a day’s stresses, he answers me. He answers me in peace to not understand why some things happen and others don’t. In joy, knowing I am secure in my eternal fate or in friendships and community when I experience change and transition. The Christian life isn’t a perfect one but it is a content one, which was the most important thing I’ve learned in my year of seeking God. As I understood that my identity is not in my ability to play basketball or in my ability to make people like me, but it’s found in the acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,
What about you? Are you seeking God, willing to trust he’ll find you?
Are you seeking? Searching, pursuing, thinking, mediating, or striving after God in order to be found? As we seek God in faith, we trust that he answers us in the best way possible. Trusting God knows us better than we know ourselves, which includes the answers and outcomes of our prayers. We can be uncertain of how God will answer, but certain that he does answer. There is not an if he will answer but a HOW he will answer, which is the beauty of faith. When we trust in the character of God and rely on the previous testimonies of how he met us before (or others we know, or people in the Bible), we are more willing and continually able to seek him again and again.
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus loves you. Sometimes I don’t think we can fathom how much He really does. Jesus loves me even with all my baggage… even the over-weight-need-to-pay-the-extra-25-bucks-for-it-baggage… he wants it all.
In the Bible we learn that Jesus loved His friends Martha and Mary (John 11:5). In Luke 10, Martha’s anxiety was her baggage, stressing about the order of her house and annoyed at Mary who just sat there with Jesus. What struck me was how Martha goes directly to Jesus with her concern and trouble – not to Mary. She recognizes the authority in the room and goes straight to the source.
“She went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
I just love how Martha is not scared to confront Jesus with her baggage of anxiety and stress. She is her authentic self as she approaches Jesus not withholding how she really feels. By Jesus simply responding to Martha says how he cares and loves her.
As believers in Christ, today, Jesus by His Holy Spirit is in our midst – in our hearts. Always in close proximity to us. We get this beautiful relationship wherever we are, in whatever situation we are in. Jesus is near. He wants us to approach Him for our own benefit to receive His comfort. Not be prone by our own worry and anxiety.
Let go of your baggage at the feet of Jesus. He will correct your ways and comfort you with His love. Just like He did for Martha.
Jesus will correct you and He will comfort you
Jesus corrected Martha and he comforted her with a solution to be closer to him. “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but on thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).
Jesus corrects and comforts us. No one can take those lessons or love away from you. Beautiful. Jesus loves you. He welcomes you as you are, with what you have, and in whatever stage/mess you are in.
Jesus loves YOU and wants you to draw near to Him.
Despite our physical and earthly unknowns – God makes His path of life KNOWN. What is this path that David is talking about? It’s the path of following Jesus. In Matthew 7:14, Jesus says its not an easy path rather it’s narrow and hard and few will find it. But it leads to eternal life. The easy way is a wide path which seeks the approval of man rather than God. So to have confidence in this KNOWN path of God – we must follow Jesus with our lives. Regardless if its hard, because it will be. Thinking of a narrow path there is only one direction I can walk, straight. In a wider path there is so much room to roam I may actually start walking sideways or backwards, losing my sense of direction completely. I choose to follow the narrow path, where it keeps me directly inline with Jesus, the original trail blazer.
Fullness of Joy
This brings me to the second part of the verse, where David says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” So, not only is the path guarantee life for us, although hard, there is still a fullness of joy. Where is this joy found? In His presence! Where is His presence? It’s in us who believe in Him! I can receive the joy of Christ where ever I am or whatever I am doing because His spirit lives in me. By believing and accepting Jesus as my Savior I no longer fear which path to take. Instead I make a commitment to the KNOWN path that promises a fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. This brings me great peace because its not by my own strength that I must follow. It’s the Lord’s strength that goes before me and guides my steps. I have joy in knowing His presence is always with me.
I am Encouraged by the Known Path of Jesus
My husband and I have no idea where we will live or work come next year. We are facing so many unknowns about our own lives currently that this verse brings me great comfort. To know that my joy is not found in a location or in a job but its found in Jesus. His presence with me anywhere I am. Praise God for the narrow path, although hard to see (physically) where it leads, (spiritually/mentally) I know its good for me.
Learning something new takes time – this is true, The reading, thinking, the studying too, Failure then improvement is how we learn, Unavoidable, yet a good return, I know I will find my joy by the end… As for now, I’ll imagine it instead.
Refusing to work only ruins yourself. Don’t allow procrastination or predication of “what might be” stop you from living with daily purpose. Procrastination tells you, “wait for the perfect time” and God tells you, the time is now (2 Corinthians 6:2). We need to trust in God as He is the creator and ruler of time itself, the beginning and the end. We will make ourselves dizzy like a dog chasing his own tail trying to predict the future or wait for the “perfect time”. There is no time for procrastination and predictions. Time is for purpose and that time is now.
He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
Jesus made purpose simple not complicated. It starts with acknowledging that we are all guilty of sin against God’s judgment and in need of a saviour and in knowing this God gave us Jesus.
Jesus (%100 God and %100 man) died on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16-18), which tore the veil between us and God (Matthew 27:51). Signifying that we can now have a direct right relationship with God Himself. Three days after His death, Jesus was resurrected. He seats in heaven, living today and passes along His living Spirit to all who believe (Luke 24:46-48, Romans 8:9-11).
The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is a perfect act of love that I choose to follow. The moment I repented of my sin, asking for forgiveness and accepting Jesus as my saviour – my purpose for life began (Galatians 2:20).
Although my vocation, location and “dreams” change, my purpose remains the same. I glorify God as the Truth, the author and finisher of my life. So whatever work I choose to do or whatever life throws at me – I do it with the intentional purpose of giving God the Glory because He gifted me hope through salvation and eternal life.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Who created all? Do we have a call? Does it just depend? Who stands in the end?
Striving to win, always getting ahead, Complaining as we lie our heads to bed, Just to beat someone else in a moment, No one wins – everyone’s an opponent.
Only to circle back losing the trail, Like a dog chasing his own stubborn tail. The status, fame, followers and fortune, And then your gone, alone and forgotten, Wondering, what or whom shall you live for? It’s God, who knows you, made you, long before.
With questions and answers – this sets us free, No one can enjoy life apart from He.
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
We do not have to live life on our own. Placing our hope upon things in this earth – as everything is fleeting and a “chasing after the wind”. I think now, is a “perfect time” to understand your life’s purpose.
I ran my first 10 km race last year and will run the same race again this year. So, I’ve begun training for it. I remembered how much I loved the mental challenge of simply running non stop until 10 km. In order to not stop, I need to run while feeling fatigued. To help myself push through the fatigue, while maintaining good speed, I focus on these two words, “don’t stop”.
God reminded me that those same two words apply to how I run after Him.
After a recently hard week I had emotionally, I opened up my journal; this time not to vent my thoughts, but to choose God’s thoughts. What would He see as most important in my life? I started listing all the external factors that I was recently complaining about. I started to question if they were most important to God. Sure, they are important, but most important? Perhaps, my spiritual growth is more important. How I love and show God’s love to others, yes, that is what’s most important. I’ve allowed my fatigue from life to stop me from believing truth.
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” – Galatians 5:7.
Instead of truth I had fear…fear of loneliness and fear of lack. But if I believe God and His Word than there is no fear (1 John 4:18), no loneliness (Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 41:10) and definitely no lack (Psalm 23, James 1:1-27). This means I must keep running towards God, keep reading His Word and not stop pursuing Him (Matt 10:38-39). I train to Love because He first loved me (1 John 4:19). So when I run, I run knowing He is with me. So with whatever affliction, fatigue, heartache comes my way I don’t stop. I have hope that this race already comes with a Victory that is Christ.
“…Forgetting what is behind and straining
toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for
which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” – Philippians
All it takes is a small break from your fitness regime to feel badly about yourself again. I find the same goes with my spirituality. I question where God is, when it is me that chose the break from Him. Training to be physically healthy requires discipline and perseverance as it becomes a lifestyle. The same can be said with our faith. We need to see pursuing Christ as a lifestyle we commit to daily, knowing and understanding who He is through scripture so our training becomes more effective to our lives and the lives around us (2 Peter 1:3, 5-9). Then the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) will lead your heart and begin to work through it. In order to pour out Gods goodness and experience His peace we need to be filled up and in doing so means, you, I, we… “don’t stop” running.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” – Hebrews 12:1