Formations 09.25.2022: Faith’s Foundation

Ephesians 4:7-16

I grew up in a small Southern Baptist church that felt like a safe place to ask questions, express doubts, and wonder about the Christian faith. Even so, our leaders encouraged a firm foundation. As a child and younger teenager, I rarely questioned my beliefs. They felt as solid as stone. I believed in Jesus beyond a shadow of a doubt and worked hard to live a life worthy of him.

And then I went away to college. For the first time, my faith was tested not by temptations like drinking or sexual immorality but by my encounters with people of different faiths. They believed in their firm foundations as much as I believed in mine. I met Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and people who were simply spiritually curious. A new friend from Vietnam constantly questioned my Christian faith, and I wasn’t always sure how to answer his questions.

None of these people were tricksters or crafty, deceitful schemers like those mentioned in verse 14 of our text. They were kind and interesting. They weren’t trying to trick me into abandoning my Christianity or fool me with lies about how the world came to be and about what happens when we die. We had conversations and learned from each other.

When I met these people, I began to question my faith because theirs seemed just as valid. I wondered how one faith could be “right” and all the others “wrong,” the way I’d always been taught. These people of other faiths weren’t tricksters, but talking with them definitely made me feel “tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine” (v. 14). I struggled with whether my Christian faith mattered at all. Was it real? Was it true?

It is good to encounter different kinds of people from different backgrounds. As I prayed and wondered, I eventually came to appreciate the lessons these people taught me. I also came to recognize more fully and firmly my own foundation in Christianity. I learned that I can be friends with people who don’t share my beliefs and still remain strong in what I believe.

Even today, more than two decades after college, I respect people from other faiths and of no faith. I can be compassionate and respectful toward them because I am continuing to “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (v. 15). Different beliefs are no longer a stumbling block for me. They are an opportunity to learn more about the wide variety of people God made and to share a little of Jesus’ love with them.


• What was your faith experience like as a child and teenager? Did you grow up believing in Jesus, or did that come later in your life?
• Can you remember your first experience with doubt in your faith? How did you resolve it?
• The United States of America is a unique blend of faiths and people of different backgrounds. How can we respect others while holding true to our Christian beliefs?
• What does it mean to “grow up into Christ” (v. 15)?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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