When I became a Christian a week before turning 14, the church I went to made faith sound very easy. It was all about what you do:
1. Read your Bible everyday.
2. Pray every day
3. Go to church.
3 was easy, 2 happened because of guilt and 1 didn't last long. No one told me where to read and once I got into Leviticus and Numbers I was done....I put my Bible down for a long time...which increased my involvement with number 2. Then we lost everything we owned over a few years, my Mom was healed of MS and the church we attended wasn't impressed with their prayers being answered and didn't want my Mom to talk about it.
My faith was low but my desire for relationship with God was high. Of course some of that was guilt and fear. It's amazing the lessons you take away from church services. My teenage view of God was that He was quick to condemn, ready to punish and, in a moment of kindness, sent His Son to die for us.
Faith is about relationship and I knew mine was lacking.
Thankfully I decided to pick up the Bible again and read it for myself. I found out that "faith was the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED for and the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN!" (Hebrews 11:1) I also found out that faith wasn't like what I heard in church. If you think faith is clean and easy you shouldn't read the Bible.
When I read the Bible, faith is messy. Peter denied the Lord, Thomas doubted him. David hid in caves. Paul fell out with a few fellow missionaries. When I see the men of faith in the Bible I see weakness, fear and vulnerability.
Kind of like real life.
Yet, His strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9) I find that to be encouraging. I feel weak many days.
At times my faith is like the man found in Mark 9:24, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief." Try confessing that one in church!
Faith is messy. Let's not be afraid to get dirty!