How do we lose faith? In order to answer this question we must know a few things. Firstly, what is faith? Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing. As Christians, our faith is the trust in God and in His promises as made through Jesus Christ and the scriptures. We profess our faith every Sunday at Mass when we say the Apostle's Creed with the Church. When I ask then how do we lose faith, I am speaking in terms of our Christian faith. I am making an assumption that at some point we have faith in God and in His promises. I believe that the losing of one's faith is a gradual process. It is a process that may have been materializing for years, but I also believe that just as one can lose faith, one can find faith once again. My hope in this post is that maybe by discussing how one can lose faith, I can help prevent someone from losing their faith. If you have already lost your faith, maybe I can help you regain your faith.
Everyone struggles with their faith. I believe this is a very important message so I will repeat it once again. Everyone struggles with their faith. There is not a priest, bishop, or pope who has not at some time struggled with their faith. Nobody who is human is perfect, and faith is an ongoing process. Jesus' closest apostle, Peter, denied him three times did he not? God knows that we will struggle with our faith. We struggle because it takes so much work to keep our faith growing and strong. It takes work, and when we struggle with our faith we are looking for an easy way out. We all struggle with our faith, but we do not have to lose faith. There are a couple of reasons why we struggle with our faith and there are a couple of ways we can deal with these struggles. The important thing is how we react when we are faced with situations that challenge our faith.
As I said earlier, the losing of one's faith is a process. I don't believe that you just wake up one day and decide that you don't believe in God anymore. There has to be a series of events in order for this to take place. If we don't practice our faith, we will lose our faith. I think back to the press conference a couple years back when the basketball player Allen Iverson blew up at a reporter for asking him why he dogs it in practice. "What are we talking about here, practice? We aren't even talking about the game. We are talking about practice!" Iverson's words are very irritating to my ears. My ears don't like what they hear. Yes we are talking about practice! In order the be the best basketball player you can be, you must practice and practice hard! If you don't practice hard, you will not play as well in the games and you will not be the best player you can be. The same thing can be said for us in regards to faith. If we do not actively and passionately practice our faith, it will not be as strong as it could be. If we do not go to church every Sunday, we are missing out on more than just a one hour service. We are failing to practice our faith, and when we get into the habit of ignoring our faith we are bound to lose our faith.
Pray. Just pray. Turn off the television. Turn off your phone. Pray. Pray to God and see what happens. Your faith will be strengthened I can guarantee you that much. We can not possibly be strong in our faith without prayer. It's impossible. We must pray and pray as often as possible. When we let other things get in the way is when we start to lose our faith. When we don't have enough 'time' to pray or go to church or when we would miss out on our sporting events or movies or whatever is when we start to lose our faith. We must pray everyday. Pray that God will strengthen your faith and reveal his wondrous plan for us. We must pray and pray constantly or we will begin to lose our faith.
Lastly, I believe we lose faith because we place our faith in something other than God. When we are encountered with situations that challenge our faith, we are posed with a tough decision. It shouldn't be tough, but it is because we think we know better than God. We place our trust in people of earthly power, the environment, money, false idols, even ourselves. Sometimes we actually think that we know more than God. This may be because we don't like the answer God gives us. Living a good Christian life is not always easy. In fact it can be very hard, because the devil is good at tempting us. He knows our weaknesses and he tempts us often in the hopes that we will stray away from God. Wasn't it in the Garden of Eden when the devil in the form of a snake tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple? How did he tempt? By making Adam and Eve believe that they knew more than God. From day one our faith has been challenged. We must always work to keep our faith strong, because the moment that we let up our faith will be challenged. The best way to prevent a loss of faith is to pray often and to stay active in our faith. Faith is a wonderful thing, and the more that we work on our faith the more God will reveal to us. Tonight I will pray that God will help me grow in faith, help you all grow in faith, and reveal himself once again to those who have lost faith. God bless.