Faith is what we choose to believe despite what we can or cannot see. It begins with a childlike acceptance that God loves us so much, He was willing to come to the earth as a Son, to walk among us as one of us, subject to the same temptations and doubts we all bear. He live a flawless, sinless life, a Son who gave up His life on the cross, bearing the weight of the wrath of God for each one of us who chooses to believe.
As we grow in faith, we practice obedience to God's Word and Ways as we come to understand that Word more and more. We know that God shows up whenever we call to Him. We experience the answering of prayers, even when those answers are no. We learn the value of seeking and enacting God's will in our lives, especially when times get tough for us.
The foundations of faith are this.
This time of year, when our stores are filled with eggs and bunnies instead of Crosses and lambs, it's important to think about the real reason for the season. Like the perfect lamb of Israel's tabernacle and temple days sacrificed in the presence of God to redeem the repentant of his sin, Jesus, the perfect Lamb on the Cross, took on the wrath of God for us. He suffered the punishment for sin, the absence of God. His dead body went into a tomb as a heavy stone sealed Him in.
But the good news we celebrate at Easter is this: He is risen indeed! Jesus lives. And as a risen Christ, He makes us holy, holy so that we can come before God and speak to Him whatever is on our hearts, including seeking guidance on the way that we should go. This is a gift almost beyond our understanding. Before Christ made His sacrifice, only the High Priest could come before the holy presence of God. He met God in the inner sanctum, behind a curtain that separated the holy from the holiest of holies. This was such an important moment, that the High Priest never just walked behind the curtain. He prepared by cleansing himself, putting on a special, holy wardrobe, and finally tying a rope around his ankle in case he profaned the altar and died there, so others could pull him out and not risk dying themselves.
I try to remember how precious it is that Jesus works as my intermediary every time I choose to bow my head. I think hard faith begins in those moments when we find the courage to admit our failings to a holy God and accept that He will actually forgive us because of what Jesus has done for us. I think this precious communication is why Jesus instructs us not to pray with mindless repetition, but to acknowledge God's holiness and our need for Him to accomplish anything at all.
The first step toward hard faith is having any faith, even if it is a tiny, fluttering spark waiting to break into a flame. And that small seed of faith, laid in good ground, can turn into a wonderful, lifelong relationship with God.
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Ramona Levacy Billingslea is a health writer and Christian novelist who loves God, loves her family, and loves words. She started writing her first novel when she was 8. Thanks to Kindle, she's published eight novels, all of which she hopes entertain as well as helping readers see practical ways to live a faith-filled life. When she isn't working on her writing, she earns her living helping her family's health food store with education, marketing, and whatever else needs done in a day.