The Stages of Faith
An Inspired Essay by Rev. Lloyd Strom
Faith doesn't happen all at once. Unfortunately most people don't understand this, and tend to believe that faith is something that you either have or don't have. The truth is that faith can be developed through daily dedicated spiritual practice, which moves us through the following three stages:
Hope ,,,a Sense of Doubtful Expectation
Whatever gives us hope can eventually heal us, unless we base our hopes on things that can change without our consent. Therfore, if our hopes arise in response to that which is changeless, such as the Word of God, they will become a strong foundation for our faith.
Trust ,,,a Sense of Inner Peace
As our worries begin to whither away, the anxiety of waiting is replaced by the grace of patience, which is a calm certainty that something good is happening to us in the present moment, despite any appearance to the contrary. Whereas waiting is the activity of fear, patience is an expression of Love, which is the absence of all fear.
Gratitude ...a Sense of Quiet Delight
By practicing gratitude in the beginning stages of our faith building process, we can hasten the time it takes to manifest something good into our lives, for whenever we perform an act of gratitude in the face of our fears our faith is deepened. The two most challenging spiritual practices that require us to face our fears with a heart of trust and love for God are forgiveness and tithing.