Butterfly Faith

close up of leaf
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I was listening to a pastor pray on Sunday and in the middle of his prayer he said, “And Lord, help us not have fluttering faith.”

That took me back. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone pray for non-fluttering faith. But it didn’t take me more than a half a second of thought to understand what fluttering faith is all about.When we think of fluttering, I think most of us think butterflies. I’ve photographed butterflies and watched in frustration as a butterfly perched on one flower flutters away just as I have everything in focus. I go to the next spot and again it happens … and again … and again.

And isn’t that the way our faith often is? We settle down in one church, idolize one musician or even tell everyone about the latest trendy Christian book … and then as soon as that emotional peak wears off, we’re off fluttering somewhere else.  (Seeing things from a pastor’s wife perspective, I’ve seen more than one person leave the church because that OTHER church has better music, an open gym, a funnier Bible study teacher, etc., and then six months later they’re back again because they discovered that OTHER church had problems, too. Sometimes that area of fluttering faith is called church hopping.)

Like the Bible says: 2 Timothy 4:3-4  — For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Now, you might wonder why I’m talking about this on a parent/teacher blog – because isn’t it adults who have fluttering faith, not the kids? Kids go where the parents go. The thing is, that means that kids flutter when the parents flutter, they don’t have a choice.

One young adult told me. “I was always so confused as a kid. Dad would say we need to start attending Sunday night church. No excuses. For several weeks we’d do so and then we’d back off. Soon we weren’t going at all — until the next time Dad decided it was something we needed to do. And  my mom would find these trendy Christian books and everything would be about that book … until the next one came a long. I never knew exactly what was happening. As an adult, I discovered that most of those books weren’t even Bible-based. They had the right words, but not the right truth.”

Kids are not immune to our fluttering faith. We need to heed Paul’s warning: See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Our faith needs to be centered on Christ alone. Our Christian walk needs to be clear and consistent. Our surroundings — whether that’s the people we listen to, the music we hear, or the books we read should not be such that they encourage us to wander off into myths.

Our kids are watching us.

Let’s not confuse them.

Let’s not bring them along fluttering behind us.

Let’s not show them fluttering faith.


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