Is Living a Life of Faith Really Worth It?

Is Living a Life of Faith Really Worth It? May 9, 2024

Frustrated with Faith
Frustrated with Faith – Courtesy of Vecteezy

Is living a life of faith really worth it? It seems like so much trouble: reading your Bible, praying, attending church, being nice to people…what’s in it for me? This is the sentiment of so many people. And in some ways, you can’t blame people for being burnt out on faith.

What’s the Trend?

I teach at the university near my home. It is a Christian school, but obviously, having a Christian faith is not a prerequisite for attending the school. One of the first assignments in my classes is to have the students share as much of their faith story with me as they’re comfortable with. It is always very shocking. Most of the Gen Z-ers I teach were raised in Christian homes. However, only a small percentage of them hold to the faith of their parents. Some have stopped believing altogether, some have become much less traditional in their theology, and some have become bitter and angry with God and the Church. The bottom line for many of them is that after asking the question, “Is living a life of faith worth it?” they’ve answered with a resounding “No!”

Why So Bitter?

My findings are purely anecdotal. I know there are bona fide polls and studies showing similar trends, but my observations are casual. The reasons my students have parted ways with their faith are numerous. There are almost as many reasons as there are students. However, most fit into two major categories. One, some tragedy or string of unpleasant circumstances have happened in their lives, making them feel as though God didn’t care. Surprisingly, the death of a grandparent seems to top the list. Also frequently mentioned are the divorce of parents, terminal or debilitating diseases in the immediate family, traumatic events (rape, abortion, parents’ loss of job), and unanswered prayers (many times regarding one of the above situations). The recovery from these kinds of wounds is a process in and of itself.

The second category includes what is perceived to be mistreatment by or the hypocrisy of the Church or Christians. Examples include pastors who have had moral failures and mishandling of church funds. Also, being cheated on a business deal by a church member or judgmental attitudes toward certain people, races, or lifestyles also seem to turn off young adults.

Is This Enough to Lose One’s Faith?

Faith is a very personal matter. Some people tolerate uncomfortable situations and unanswered questions well. Some do not. It’s not matter of how strong our faith is. It seems to have more to do with our personal ability to reconcile difficult events we experience.

My father was raised in poverty. He grew up in the mining communities of Harlan County, Kentucky. Life was hard. His father was an alcoholic, gambler, and bootlegger. He slept in drafty log cabins with snakes crawling above his bed at night. He gathered chunks of coal that had fallen off the trains. Then he carried it down the mountain for twenty-five cents a load. His parents died young. Two of his siblings died, one as a baby, the other with cancer. If there was ever anyone who shouldn’t have come to faith, it was my father. But I’ve never met a person anywhere with a greater trust in God.

I have know some folks, on the other hand, who lost their faith because someone didn’t shake their hand at church. Others because they didn’t like the way the church spent the money or the color of the new carpet. For some people, nothing can shake their faith, and for others, anything can.

So What is Faith Anyway?

I’ve got lots of definitions of faith. Some are more theologically correct than others, I suppose. Here’s the one that fits our discussion here. “Faith is continuing to believe when there’s absolutely no good reason to.” My father, many times in his life had no good reason to believe except one; he had faith. I won’t bore you my life’s story, but I can summarize it like this. I’ve experienced every single one of those reasons my college students gave for losing faith. Yet, here I am.

Is it in my DNA? I don’t think so. Is it because my father modeled real faith so well. Probably so. I got to observe what “come hell or high water” kind of faith looks like. My parent’s faith was not Sunday morning only faith. It didn’t depend on the weather, or people’s attitudes, or how they felt that day. No, their faith was steadfast, consistent, and it stood the test of time. And it was faith that they held on to with their last breaths.

So What Does This Mean?

Real faith isn’t something we turn on or off. If you’re religion cycles on during good times and off during bad, it may just be religion, and not faith. You can’t earn faith. It’s a gift from God. Faith isn’t something you inherit. All faith is first-generation faith. Faith isn’t church attendance, good works, or religious activities. Faith is believing God when there’s absolutely no good reason to. If your faith doesn’t pass that test, ask God for the gift of faith. Don’t try to impress Him. He already knows your doubts and fears. Just be honest. Tell Him that you like the kind of faith that perseveres, the kind that doesn’t give up. He loves giving that gift. I believe if you ask for it, He’ll help you find it.

So is Living the Life of Faith Really Worth It?

You bet it is. Because it’s the only life that will give you hope when there’s no reason to have hope. It will give you joy, peace, patience, and a song in your heart, when there’s not a reason in the world to have them. Oh, it’s worth it, my friend. It’s worth it!



About Dr. Rick McKinney
Dr. Rick McKinney has lived an extraordinary life of ministry. Once described as a “maverick,” he has literally stepped out into the unknown to embrace God’s call and has experienced His presence in a way that only comes through a life of obedience. Whether planting and pastoring churches, traveling the world to perform concerts, building a house in Mexico, traveling from village to village in India, or walking across America, he has followed His voice as He led him forward, one step at a time. Dr. McKinney has multiple degrees, including a Bachelor of Church Music (Oklahoma Baptist University), Master of Theology (Campbellsville University), Master of Education (Concordia University), and Doctor of Ministry (George Fox University). He has been in active ministry for over 50 years with his wife Jane. In 2006 they walked across America (2770 miles) to share their faith and pray for America. Dr. McKinney currently teaches at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, KY. You can read more about the author here.

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