12 Jun Keep Calm and Carry On: 3 Things That Can Destroy Your Faith & How to Stop Them
WRITTEN BY: EMILY COPELAND
Keep calm and carry on. That mantra works well in many areas of life, but it’s not so easy to keep calm or carry on when your faith is chipping away little by little.
Let’s face it, keeping your faith isn’t an easy feat. There are truly tragic things happening nearby and around the world. We face complicated relationships with our families, friends, and coworkers. Then there are the daily challenges we all face that can just wear us down.
3 Things That Can Destroy Your Faith
Words have power. Kind words can encourage us when we’re down, push us to grow, and provide respite on a hard day. While kind words certainly have power, the same applies to words used for harm, confusion, or manipulation. What’s worse, especially when coming from someone you trust, these words cause absolute faith erosion.
Perhaps that’s why Jesus’ brother James paints such a compelling picture of the power of the tongue:
“The tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire…” – James 3:5-6, NLT
James wasn’t referencing social media or long text chains, but his description of the tongue applies to them and all the words we encounter and contribute each day.
That said, we can’t control what others say. That’s why it’s essential to stay away from the flames as much as possible. That may mean deleting social media or unfollowing accounts – even family members – whose words affect you negatively and unnecessarily. It may also mean being mindful of the TV, books, and music you take in.
These are great strategies for keeping your faith when damaging words run rampant, but practicing your slot and spot is the best thing you can do to combat the tongue. By reading the Bible and spending time in prayer with God each day, we can invite God to guide our words and better withstand the words that would otherwise tear down our faith.
In leadership coaching, it’s often said that we are the average of the five people we are with the most. With this in mind, other people are integral parts of our lives, whether most of our time is spent with family members, friends, or coworkers.
Undoubtedly, the people in our lives influence us in many ways and for better or worse. Because of that, a big part of keeping calm and carrying on in our faith journeys involves surrounding ourselves with people who bring out the best in us. The writer of Proverbs explains these kinds of friendships as iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17, NLT).
Unfortunately, some relationships don’t involve much of that healthy sharpening. In fact, some relationships tear us down and take out our faith in the process. What are we to do then?
Keeping calm and carrying on will vary according to relational dynamics and circumstances, but listening to God for guidance and asking others to pray with you are great places to start.
Better still, join a J-Group and get connected with other Journeyers. After all, the more life-giving friendships you have, the easier it will be to grow in your walk with God and strengthen your faith.
Finally, money can tear down faith in multiple ways. Maybe we can’t keep calm or carry on because there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe we’re carrying on quite well because we have more money than we actually need but have allowed pride or misplaced security to creep in. All of these can lead us to bad places with our faith.
For example, stressing over money can cause anxiety, jealousy toward others, and resentment toward God. It can tear away our relationships, also landing us in pits of jealousy, resentment, and even anger. And when our interpersonal relationships crumble, our relationship with God can be collateral damage.
With abundance, the breaking down of faith looks a little different. Though resentment, jealousy, and anxiety can all be woven into how we handle money when we have it, our faith takes a hit when greed, distrust, or a false sense of security appear. When these enter the picture, it’s impossible to serve God.
Jesus addresses this by reminding us that we can’t serve two masters. He goes on to say,
“For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” – Matthew 6:24 (NLT)
So, how do we keep money from tearing down our faith? Regardless of where we fall on the money spectrum, it starts with trusting God with our finances.
Practically speaking, it’s committing to tithing our first and best and following through with that commitment. Through tithing, we can ensure that we never prioritize money over our relationship with God. Honoring God this way strengthens our faith despite what our bank accounts may look like at a given time.
In closing, it’s important to note that money, words, and other people are only a few areas in life that can tear down your faith. Many things we experience throughout life can destroy our faith if we let them.
The key to combating anything that stands in the way of our relationship with God always comes down to spending time with him. When we do that, we make space for God to guide us through all situations, knowing he will reveal and provide whatever is needed to come through with a stronger faith. And with that stronger faith, we can keep calm and carry on regardless of what’s swirling around us.
Find more encouragement that will help build your faith in this month’s series, Starter Kit!
Emily Copeland/Plugged-In J-Teamer
Emily moved to Journey City in December 2022 with her husband James and their two kids to prepare for the Journey’s Middletown location launch. In addition to serving at The Journey, you can find her homeschooling their kids or working on her communications degree. She also writes at TableLifeBlog where she shares tips and resources to help others lead well while educating their children at home.