Being ‘firm in our faith’ is something we always heard growing up but were never directly taught how to establish ourselves and be rooted within the church. Although by definition faith means “complete trust or confidence in someone” according to the Oxford English Dictionary (aka Google), what does it mean from an Orthodox perspective? Our faith in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is going to be our anchor to anything in our lives, and the strength of your faith will either make you a native of this world or a sojourner and a stranger to the world which is how we should all strive to be.
As cliche as it may sound, prayer is key in order to solidify our faith in the Lord. There is nothing better than having a personal relationship with God, because not only do you know of his existence but you feel his presence in your life every step of the way. A lot of us have fallen into the trap of thinking that prayer is our daily morning and night prayers through our agpeya, but our agpeya is there to prepare us for our own personal prayer. It trains us in what we should say to the Lord and allows us to be in his presence for a longer period of time. Through consistent prayer, we will reach the means to get the ball rolling on our personal relationship with God, but with any relationship, we must grow past that. Find what God is to you. Is he a father to you? A friend? A mentor? Whatever it is, embrace it and continue with it. Try to talk to Him throughout the whole day, rather than pouring out everything at one time towards the end of the day. Make your prayer always tie back to Him. Have faith that He will be there for you and pray about every single little detail in your life. Ask Him and you shall receive. And finally, we must love Him with all our hearts.
So how else can we grow in our faith? Read! We all know the stories of Noah and Abraham, but there is so much more to the Bible. Read the books of the prophets. Read the Gospel books. Read the Epistles written by our many great saints. Read the patristic fathers who’ve sacrificed so much just to maintain the orthodoxy of our faith. This is often an overlooked task, but as we are starting off the school year, let’s make it a habit to open up our Bibles before we dive into our studies. Scripture is often overlooked by many Christians, but it is imperative to living a true Christian life, as it gives us guidance and spiritual wisdom in all aspects of our life. All these readings that we are told to prioritize were not put there by accident, but for the purpose of us gaining a greater understanding of how we’ve come to be Chrisitans. So let’s put them to use, and ask God to grant us a tranquil mind so that we may understand and retain the knowledge of the Bible.
Through God’s grace may we attain a pure heart, an enlightened soul, an unfeigned faith, a perfect love and a firm hope, so that we may love God with all our hearts and attain a faith to help us strive for good in this corrupt world.