To be completely honest, I have grown to dislike that statement. A lot. Not because I think its bad to take your faith seriously, but because I think that it can devalue your faith prior to this point (also the two words don’t even really go together …)
First off, if I have faith in something, I’m pretty sure I’m taking it seriously. Its sort of hard to have faith and not take it seriously … because then its not exactly faith – its just words. Faith is “complete trust or confidence in something or someone”. If I don’t “seriously” have faith … then I’m not completely trusting … which means that I don’t have faith at all.
Typically, this phrase is used when someone who grew up in the church share their testimony. “I was born .. blah blah blah … I never understood what I believed … blah blah blah … then I decided to take my faith seriously :D”. I”m not saying that its impossible for you to reach a point in your life where you decide to do certain things in response to faith. In fact, that is important in the steps of maturing and journeying in faith.
My problem is when people think that they weren’t saved until they reached university, had quiet times, learned all about theology and evangelized to some people. This is like me saying that because the 8-year-old girl who I witnessed accept Christ at camp this summer isn’t “taking her faith seriously” because she can’t recite the gospel in 4 points and she doesn’t have routine set up for reading her Bible before she goes to school. The “serious” faith of a 5-year-old looks a LOT different than the “serious” faith of a 20-year-old.
I personally don’t think that going through periods of doubt means that you are suddenly unsaved. In fact, some people only doubt what they DO believe. In fact, I think that everyone who grows up in the church DOES doubt at some point. It is then that their faith becomes more mature. Not necessarily because they took it seriously. I took my faith seriously when I was younger – but I didn’t have personal quiet times every day when I was 6.
The growth of the walk with Christ is not something that just happens suddenly. It is a constant journey forward. And last time I checked, when you’re on a journey it is never perfect. Things go wrong. Things mess up. You mess up. I mess up. Even people who currently “take their faith seriously” have times when they just completely fall off the wagon.
So, instead of using the term “taking my faith seriously” why don’t we say something along the lines of “I started to understand better what I believed in” or “God started showing me that even though I said I believed in him, I needed to act like it” and stop contradicting ourselves.