The modern complexities in life are making some people decide to leave church. It is becoming increasingly difficult for them to live with the onslaught of information and divergent world views that crop up. Some Christians feel the church has failed to offer deep, thoughtful or challenging answers to life in complex situations.
To encourage such people in church, there is need to make room for meaningful relationships that will enable us remind them that our faith does not originate with us; it is a gift of God’s grace. And whether we have a weak faith or strong faith is not up to us either. God is the author of our faith. “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Rom. 12:3). In fact, it is not the strength of our faith which saves us, but the object of our faith, Jesus Christ.
When it comes to the difficult circumstances of our lives, God is the author of that as well. In God’s perfect wisdom and righteous plan, he has assigned some to live the life of the walking wounded. To others, he has granted stories free of severe sorrow and shame. Some of us are born into poverty and others into well- to-do families. Some of us have experienced and witnessed horrors that others have not. Not only do our stories differ one from another but the journey we take in our sanctification will also look different from one person to the next. May we not look at others and compare, but look to God who governs and guides us all in our race of faith.
In ministering to those with difficulties in life, don’t add to their struggles. Don’t weigh them down with additional expectations and demands. Don’t compare them to others. Don’t treat them like second class Christians. If you realize that you have been impatient with someone who limps along in their faith, repent and pray for a heart that is patient and forbearing. Paul tells us to bear each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2) and encourage and build each other up (1 Thess. 5:11). We are to be patient and forbearing with one another, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).