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:
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.
I have been a follower of Jesus since I was around 4 years old. I cannot remember the exact moment of giving my life to Christ and at the same time I also cannot remember ever doubting His existence. Sure, I’ve questioned His presence in my circumstances, current situations or struggles throughout my life. But never doubted His existence of being my Saviour and Creator – “being the way, the truth and the life”. There is something very faithful about God in that. He never left me believing He was “not there”. I always knew deep within my soul that he was there and alive with me. Jesus is the way, the truth and the Life. I believe this to be true.
Commit to the Trail
Committing your heart to Jesus means to repent of your sins and opening your heart to receive Jesus as your Saviour – forgiver of your sins (past, present and future). As well as, receiving this certainty of His existence and presence. This never leaving presence that is always in pursuit of you and your heart. The more I turn myself upward to God the more He turns INWARD to me. To gain more of God’s presence you must first believe that Jesus is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life for you. Rejoice that there is a trail and Jesus created it for you to walk on. So you can have a lifetime of faith in His presence.
Jesus is our way to God – allow Him to mediate in your heart so you can have daily communion with Him. Despite what you encounter, endure on the trail you can rest in knowing you are never alone. The ever powerful, all-knowing, full of love and the creator of the world: God, is always with you. For me, this has always been true and I walk more boldly, more confident and more in peace knowing He abides in me.
As I was reading in Genesis the Lord brought to my attention how easy it is for us to forget. We are human and more likely to think about ourselves more than others. Man forgets, God remembers. He remembers our pain, affliction and cries. When you feel forgotten OR are the ONE who forgets – know that you are not alone. Seek God because He remembered and forgave you when you’ve forgotten Him. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He remembered us even though we didn’t deserve to be remembered. He bore our sins by dying for them. Man forgets, God remembers. Seek him in all things – especially in loving others.
“Yet, the chief cup-bearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”
Joseph loved the Lord and found favor with Him. So when Joseph was deceived and thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit, the Lord was with him and “gave him favor in sight of the keeper of the prison (Gen 40:21).” The cup-bearer was thrown into prison by the King and had a dream that Joseph interpreted from the Lord. After Joseph shared the cup-bearer’s dream meaning he said to him, “only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house (Gen 40:14).”
Man Forgets Joseph
Then later we read in verse 23, after the cup-bearer’s dream came true and he was returned to his duties to the King that he, “did not remember Joseph, but forgot him”. Joseph remained in prison.
Oh How We Forget
Man will forget, hey – man will fail just as we fail and forget others too… Just the other day I was so emotionally distraught and thinking about just getting through the day that I forgot my daughter’s backpack to preschool. The MAIN THING you NEED to remember for preschool!!! I, of course, remembered to bring mine… just not hers. We are selfish. We care more about our own agenda than our family’s. We care more about how we feel than how others feels. Oh how we forget!!!
Lord, as I walk along this trail I remember YOU who blazed it for me. Not because you wanted to control me and my life, but simply because you loved me enough to save me from my own sin of selfishness and fleshly desires. I pray that you will teach me to remember others and to think of others more highly than myself. Just as you thought of me when you died for me.
Man forgets – God remembers. You are not forgotten.
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.
I see God working in lives of sinners all through scripture. His kindness and mercy never seem to cease. God takes the time to direct and correct out of His love for us. This kind of love sent Jesus Christ to die as a sacrifice for our sin (John 3:16). Giving us a pathway directly to God like children we can come to Him as our Heavenly Father. A Father who says, “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
As a Mother
As a mother, I have understood more about God as my Heavenly Father. I can understand why we are His adopted children and not just His to “use”. He wants to lead us, guide us and more importantly LOVE us by telling us we are HIS (Galatians 3:26). Not some robots he wants to control and manipulate in doing His will. As a mother I cannot control my child, I instruct, discipline and love her. God is teaching me to give my daughter the grace she needs, like He does for me. Just like a toddler who tantrums, I too can feel out-of-control in front of God. Yet, in my affliction and tantrum the Lord wants me to come to Him. The Lord always wants us to come to Him as he is our Heavenly Father.
Come to your Heavenly Father
My daughter is three years old. I always try to help her throughout her troubles by stretching out my arms and saying, “come”. I never stop loving and caring for her. The best part is when my daughter does come, snotty and teary, she can trust to fall into my arms. Even when she knows she has done wrong, she needs her mom. I want to have that same love and admiration for my Heavenly Father. Where I am not ashamed to come to Him with my sin. I need Him, He knows that and with arms wide open He says, “come”. This is what God does for us as our Heavenly Father, except he is not flawed as a parent like I am. No, He is perfect, kind and merciful. The more I learn about the character of God the more I come to Him as His daughter.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1
Dear Heavenly Father,
I come to you in my sin, in my joy, in my troubles and ask you to create in me a clean heart (Psalm 51:10). So I can confess my sin and grow in likeness of you. Help me to come to you even when I’m ashamed to. Thank-you Lord that you see me and know me better than I know myself. Teach me to come to you even when I don’t want or understand to.