Recently, I have really been struggling with what I call “faith pride,” and I’ve become really convicted about it. I wanted to get to the bottom of why Christianity was making me so prideful when pride is the complete opposite of what the Bible teaches. I eventually discovered that a lot of my pride was coming from a skewed understanding of faith and why it’s so important.
There is no doubt that faith is important. Without it, we can’t accept Jesus’ love and receive Him as our Savior. In fact, faith is so important that I sometimes forget that faith itself does not produce salvation – God does.
Sometimes I place too much weight on my involvement in my own salvation. I know that nothing I can do can earn me salvation, but I also know that the act of belief results in salvation. Isn’t this a paradox?
Genesis 15:6 says, “Abraham believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” I don’t think this means that faith is a good work that earned Abraham righteousness. The only reason that God counted Abraham’s faith as righteousness was because of Jesus, whom He would send to the world later. I have to be careful not to think of faith as a good work that pleases God so much that He decides I’m good enough for Heaven.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Faith is wonderful and powerful but it should never be idolized. The reason we yearn for more faith should be to know Jesus more; not to achieve an “acceptable level” of faith that will make us worthy of God’s love.
Jesus’ sacrifice is complete and lacking in nothing. Our faith does not add anything to His achievement. The gate is open, and all we have to do is walk through it. The gate does not open wider based on our level of faith. Faith simply helps us see the gate and walk through it. God decided to open the gate long before we ever declared our faith in Him.
While faith pleases God, it’s not enough to pay the price of sin. Faith simply indicates a desire to follow God, and He is able to grant that desire because of Jesus. No man is more moral than another, and salvation is an undeserved a gift I do not deserve.
This can be extremely difficult to acknowledge. For me, it brings guilt as I observe others who are no less immoral than me, but who are not experiencing the benefits of the same wonderful gift. I feel less guilty receiving a gift I deserve than one I do not deserve. It’s more comfortable for me to assume that I did something to earn it.
Sometimes, spiritual curiosity, open-mindedness and faith seem righteous in and of themselves. They are certainly qualities that help me persist, and they were helpful for finding God in the first place, but I should not be prideful because they are all undeserved gifts from God.