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TITLE: Faith Made Simple (1,200 words)
By Chris Stanley

My target adudience is for college age and young adults stuggling with faith and religion. This is my first attempt at writing so any and all feedback is welcomed/desired. My hope is to use this article as a platform for a book but I want to begin by seeing if my writing skills are good enough.
Wondering how to find faith - real, tangible, honest, believable, and true faith in today's world? Amidst this complex, often crazy, postmodern society you may find yourself asking if there is a god, who is he, and how can I know him? Despite 9/11, school shootings, Tsunami's, and every other horrific world event, the pathway to true faith is not the clouded murky lake society makes it out to be. In fact it is more like the yellow brick road Dorothy had to follow in order to find the Wizard.

Our culture, especially here in America, tells you that god is unnecessary and he may just be a figment of someone's imagination. God is just the way some people attempt to explain life after death. Society’s argument states that if you are a good person and if you have faith in something or someone then once you die you will be permitted to live in heaven. Now this explanation sounds wonderful however it has been said "if it is too good to be true than it usually is."

A dear friend of mine has often accused me of being too critical. I find myself looking at things in this world constantly asking questions and making observations. Teaching junior and senior high school students the last two years has really opened my eyes to the fact that we live in a dying and lost world. Teenagers today have no sense of what truth is. Once you eliminate the concept of truth then there is no possibility of discerning the difference between right and wrong. Many deal with these struggles through religion. There are many religions to choose from. They allow people to worship a god when they feel they need to be spiritual, permitting them to simultaneously live their life however they want. What is appealing to people practicing religion is that their practice allows them to believe in some form of a god who is powerful yet distant. Their faith, when truly studied, is not so much in their god but instead simply in themselves as their faith is made up of religious practices and rituals. That actually places their faith in their own actions. If they perform the right rituals and live a good enough life then they are heaven bound. The deity they believe in merely facilitates them being able to have faith in themselves. It is not a god that saves them but instead their actions are what they trust saves them.

I am reminded of a mission's trip to Costa Rica which I went on when I was younger. While there our group visited a local church which was one of the largest cathedrals I have ever been in. People coming for religion would enter the church on their knees and crawl the 100 yards to the alter where they would then pray and move on to their next religious ritual. Asking our leaders why the patrons were crawling on their knees the local pastor explained that they were trying to make themselves humble and demonstrate a willingness to pay for their sins. The sadness of this experience lies in the fact that once these religious people finished at the church they would go about their lives never to think of god or their church again until the next Sunday. You see there is no relationship between deity and churchgoer in this situation. All that the people have done is demonstrate that it is actually their sacrificial actions that they believe will save them.

Lucky is the word some people would use. Predestined is probably the most doctrinally correct word to use. However, loved is the word I wish to use to describe my life and the start of my faith. The biggest difference between religion in the world and my faith is the relationship that I have. I am not going to heaven because of anything that I have done or something I will do in the future. Instead I am going to heaven because of the love Jehovah Jireh showed me. He loved me, He sent His son Jesus, to die for me which provided me with a means of salvation. Once I believed and accepted Jesus as my personal savior than I was given the gift of eternal life in heaven. As you can see it was nothing that I did (other than to accept the free gift given to me) but instead Jehovah Jireh's demonstration of love.

Mankind has always had some sense of a debt that needed to be paid and they have had a concept of deity but they have compiled and twisted their thoughts into believing that they can somehow save themselves. That they are able to pay their dept and believe they are as good if not better than the deity that created them. The debt is real. People are sinful. In fact every last one of us is guilty - the sentence for which is death. What can a person do with this true sense of debt that comes with a penalty of eternal damnation? Option "A" is to accept religion - to worship a deity that cannot truly be known. Option "B" is to try to deny that a god even exists and to live believing that all there is to life is your life as you live it now. Option "C" is to meet and develop a relationship with Jehovah Jireh. Options "A" and "B" never actually pay down the debt that is owed.

Take a more in depth look at Option "C". The meaning of Jehovah Jireh is the Lord will provide. Of all the things that Jehovah Jireh could provide us most important is the opportunity to have a relationship with Him. Jesus, His son, was sent to die a wretched death on the cross for each and every one of us in order to pay down our sin debt. If we can accept Jesus as the one who paid our debt, in other words if we accept Him as our savior, then our debt is removed. Once our debt is eliminated then we are free, through Jesus, to have an open relationship with Jehovah Jireh. Believing and accepting this is our faith. All the work is performed by Jehovah Jireh and His son Jesus. It does not matter who we are, race, color, age, or wealth are all irrelevant when it comes to Jehovah Jireh's love. We are all loved the same, Jesus came to die for us all. Have you accepted Jesus as your savior?

Having true faith is invigorating. Two overwhelming desires should exist inside of every person who has true faith. Those desires are the unquenchable thirst for a deeper and enhanced relationship with Jehovah Jireh and the determined urge to share your faith with others. In the process of obtaining faith there is no work on your part. However, once you have acquired true faith you will have a yearning to fulfill these two desires. Though they are not a sense of work or duty but instead a longing to have the best relationship you have ever had in your life.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.