This is the third post in a series that I am posting over the next couple of weeks on strengthening our spiritual backbones. You can check out the previous posts here:
Create your own Creed.
Creating a personal creed that gives zest and vigour to our faith is a great way to strengthen our spiritual backbones. The less confident we are of our core beliefs, the more likely we are to focus on holier than thou practices that define us. Whether we drink, smoke or condone homosexuality. Whether we call God Father, mother or by a gender neutral name are not central to our faith but we often treat them as though they are. It is these non essentials we use to separate us from other believers. They become our litmus tests to decide who is and who isn’t a part of the body of Christ.
So how do we develop our own statement of faith? Many of the steps are similar to developing a mission or calling statement, and you may want to incorporate your mission statement into your statement of faith. However don’t lose sight of the fact that this is more about what we believe rather than what we feel God has called us to do. A statement of faith is usually longer than a calling statement. You may want to memorize it, but more importantly, you need to read through this creed regularly so that you are confident in what you believe.
So take some time. This is not something that should be done in a quick moment. You may want to make it the core task of a personal retreat day or even of a series of retreat days. Or you may want to work on this in conjunction with your small group or a group of friends. Here are some suggestions on a possible process.
- What should be included in a good personal creed? Write a list of the elements of your faith you think should be included in your creed. As some preliminary research I suggest reading other creeds and statements of faith. The Apostle’s Creed and Nicene creeds both provide good guidelines. If your church uses a different creed get hold of that as well. If you are involved in a Christian organization research the creeds that it adheres to. Ask your friends, see if they can recite an elevator speech that reflects their faith. all this should provide good guidelines for your personal creed. My suggestions for what to include are: what do we believe about God Almighty, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the worldwide church, the kingdom of God (life of the world to come) and about our purpose here on earth.
- Research the scriptures. The Bible is alive with scriptures that affirm or beliefs but we often gloss over them. What are the scriptures that most succinctly express your beliefs? Write these down. Read through them until they resonate in your soul. What about these scriptures grabs at your heart and says: Yes this is what I believe.This is essential to my faith. It makes me feel alive with the presence of God. You may want to divide a notebook or computer document into sections for each of the elements you intend to include in your creed. List at least two or three scriptures that resonate with your beliefs. Write down your reflections and meditations on these scriptures.
- What is your sense of God’s call on your life? If you don’t have a clear sense of God’s call on your life, this is a good time to work on a personal calling statement as well. I have written about this in the past and you may want to check out the process here.
- Share with friends. Out of the research you have done write down a beginning statement of faith. Share it with your friends. Talk about it together. What else would you like to include in this statement?
- Repeat your statement of faith regularly. Once you have a completed statement of faith I suggest that you keep a copy in your Bible or journal. Read it through at least once a week. Meditate on it, write down your reflections. All of these will strengthen your faith and put steel in your backbone.