I was listening to a sermon in church one Sunday, and this line caught my attention: “Christian faith is not a buffet.”
The bishop went on to explain about how some of us as Christians tend to rely on our faith only in circumstances that fits us, or only when it is seemingly convenient: “Yes, it seemed to imply this…. but He didn’t actually explicitly ruled that out..” or “It’s fine, it’s just one time and it’ll be harmless.” We tweak the rules or go to lengths to justify our actions to fit our circumstances. The thing is: faith is not a buffet where we can just pick what we like and disregard the rest; and faith is not something that is just available at certain times for us to gorge on and forget on other days.
I’ve learned and slowly been learning, that faith should rightfully be incorporated into our lifestyle. It is not so much about going through the motions of always showing your face in every youth meeting or church service, or serving with your skills every single week (though it is good). Instead, it all boils down to how you personally live your life, and if God’s love shines through. It is not so much about whether your peers know of how strong your faith is; it is rather whether they can see the difference in your lifestyle because of what and who you believe in.
On behalf of the Christian community, I am hyper-aware of how some of us can come across: possibly overbearing, hypocritical, mechanical, and trying too hard to be ‘saint-like’. There are many reported experiences of extremists charging ahead in their manic antics in the name of pursuing a religion. However, do not let the people get in the way of your pursuit of a personal relationship with God. At the end of the day, all of us, even Christians, we are all human. We are all human, and we are all still learning every day. Some of us may not be fully subscribed to what we say we are, and some of us may not even realise what we are doing.
The main core I believe, regardless of faith, is love. Love, kindness, and forgiveness.
It is not about establishing a personal deity or an authority to bow down to;
It is about a willing choice to obey to the values our faith has taught us and understanding how much our God unconditionally loves us and is willing to deal with us despite how many times we’ve disappointed and failed.
It is not about shoving Bible verses and questioning peers’ accountability about whether they attend service every week;
It is about showing love and providing support for one another – being able to be honest, yet empathetic, to talk about topics that may be sensitive.
It is not about being a goody-two-shoes, and only showing the ‘good side’ of faith.
In fact, there are many highs and lows in believing, and there are possibilities of backsliding and sinning over and over again. We will have multiple breakthroughs and breakdowns.
Christian faith is not about being perfect, it is about living a life of love. Oftentimes, a lot of us are concerned more on securing our eternal life after death – and that is where the problem lies. We are so focused on securing that end goal, we forget about how we are really living our lives in the present. We overlook how we truly treat the people in our lives; and are focused on saving souls without our hearts being fully invested in this pursuit.
Christian faith is not a buffet, it is a lifestyle.
A lifestyle of love, kindness, and forgiveness.
Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.