Walking Our Faith: How’s your walk of faith going? | SummitDaily.com

Walking Our Faith: How’s your walk of faith going?

I’ve been writing this column for seven years. From the outset I felt the purpose of this column was to explore what it means to walk my faith in the world. By that, I mean I profess to be a Catholic Christian and believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. But what difference does that make in my life? How would my beliefs show themselves in my words and actions if you met me and didn’t know I was a Christian?

Because if being a Christian doesn’t make a difference (for the better) in how I treat friends and strangers that I can encounter in my daily life, then I am either a hypocrite or I’m wasting my time when sitting in church every Sunday.

I’d like to believe that practicing my Catholic faith has made a difference not only in how I treat others but how I view the world and my actions in the world.

But what I’ve also realized is that our walk of faith is just that, a walk. Meaning, not a sprint but a marathon, not running at full speed but a relaxed stroll that can last the distance of my life. Walking our faith means over the course of our lives we get better at it.

Because if we are not growing in our faith then we’re slipping backwards or at best stagnating, neither of which is good news for our spiritual lives, or the rest of our lives because I believe the two are inextricably linked.

If I can’t honestly look at my life and say that I’m a better person than I was 10 years ago. or that my relationship with God is better than it was 10 years ago and that has resulted in me having better relationships with others in my community, then it’s time for me to sit down and evaluate my walk of faith.

How do we evaluate our walk of faith?

It starts with prayer. I sit down in a quiet place, whether that’s in the front seat of my car or on a bench outside of the library, and I talk with God. I ask for God‘s wisdom and grace to help me discern where I stand: “God where are the strengths of my relationship with you and where am I lacking? What do I need to do better?”

And then I listen for an answer. More likely than not, the answer may not come at that moment but will how up later as a nudge when the first hour of the morning that I’d dedicated to prayer is instead spent, drinking coffee and scrolling through my phone.

Next, I might consider my interactions with friends or family over the past week. Have I shown kindness and grace instead of impatience? Did I give someone the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping to my first, and often overly sensitive, conclusion? Did I extend the same courtesy to the person checking out my groceries as I would to my boss?

If I’m honest, I’m not always proud of the answers I get, because I’m a work in progress. But I can see progress, certainly not by my own efforts but by the grace of God.

Toward the end of his life, St. Paul wrote, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

If I am serious about my walk of faith, if it is more than lipservice I pay to be part of a community of friends whose company I enjoy, from time to time, I need to evaluate my walk of faith. Am I on course to finish the race with the satisfaction that St. Paul speaks of? If not, what needs to change in my life? By the way, this is not a question that I will ask and answer once in my life. I believe we must make time over the course of our lives to evaluate if we are still on the right path and if we could do more to draw closer to God.

I hope you’ll take some time this week to consider how you would answer these questions? Where and how does God show up in your life? What difference has a relationship with God made in the person you have become?

How can you become a better friend, parent, sibling, or neighbor? How can you become a better child of God?

Bring your responses to God and ask him to help you work on the places you want to grow. Ask God to help you walk your faith into the world in such a way that your life becomes an expression of God’s love for yourself and everyone you encounter this week.

God bless you.

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