The peaceful atmosphere hit me like a wave as I entered the building. We were greeted by such a nice woman who asked us to remove our shoes and cover our heads. TJ’s school field trip to a local Sikh Temple was just one of many different world religions that his class is visiting. TJ, my 13 year old son, goes to a Montessori School. As they are studying world religions, they decided to take four different field trips to uncover local religions. When his teacher texted me the morning of the Sikh field trip and asked if I could take kids at the last minute, I jumped at the chance to go.
I have a love of religion. The wisdom of different religion inspires me in my own faith life. It opens my eyes to other ways people place God in their life. Not only that, but it opens up a new way of thinking. While I don’t plan on changing my own faith practice, learning about other faiths keeps my heart open and makes me a little less judgmental.
The Sikh Religion like most faiths has a moral code. As you become closer and closer to God as a Sikh, your faith becomes deeper. You begin to do more and more for God and less and less for yourself. Our tour guide (for lack of a better descriptive word) explained to us why many in the Sikh faith are practicing vegetarians. She said that as she became more aware of God’s Will she just couldn’t help but think he didn’t want her killing anything for her food when she had plenty of other foods to eat. She cannot even step on a bug because she so deeply believes that God wants all living creatures to live unless they are truly needed for food.
Even if this is not your belief, isn’t it inspiring to hear someone say that their closeness to God made them want to practice their faith to the next level?
After the tour, I talked briefly with our guide. She explained to me about her sudden realization that she wasn’t living the right life, and decided to follow her husband’s faith – as a Sikh. She had been pushing God away most of her life and realized that she wanted Him in her life. Just like all religions there are varying levels of faith practice amongst the Sikh congregation. They aren’t all practicing vegetarians. They don’t all wear head coverings or turbans. As their faith life increases though, these practices will increase too.
John 3:30 God must increase. I must decrease
In my own faith life, I have seem hills and valleys as I learn to practice my faith each and every day. That verse from John is spoken from John the Baptist. He goes on to say this…
John 3:31-32 …We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. He testifies what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them!
As I have become closer to God the last few years, I have seen my ugliness revealed. I have seen the things that I have done and realized how wrong they were. God did not reveal these all to me at one time but little by little. God never overwhelmed me, but showed me the way gently revealing all that I needed to see. Just like the Sikh faith, I felt as though as my conversations with God grew, my faith grew. I wanted to prove to God just how much I trusted His word and His plan. In order to do that I stepped out of my comfort zone and practiced my faith more rigorously.
As John the Baptist continued to preach God’s message, people didn’t like what he had to say. John publicly criticized Herod Antipas for marrying his brother’s wife. John the Baptist after realizing how much his faith meant to him, had to speak out at the wrong that the leaders were doing. He couldn’t let them be role models for the people. He desperately wanted the people to see that this behavior was wrong and should not be followed. I am sure this was out of his comfort zone, but his closeness to God caused him to step out of the box and to practice his faith more rigorously.
This will look different for each of us. God does not call all of us to be spokesman for His message. So don’t assume that your increase in faith life will be a martyr’s death. That is just not the case, but people may look at you a little differently when you start to increase your faith. People may talk about your foolish decisions. People may snicker behind your back at your choices. People may think that all your God talk is just crazy. That’s okay. Remember your faith life is between you and God – no one else.
That field trip the other day really opened my eyes to my own prayer life. It reminded me how important it is to converse with God daily. Not only that, but it inspired me to be faithful and follow God at all costs.
**On a side note, the Sikh religion is often confused as Taliban since they wear turbans. Please know that about 90% of the individuals that are wearing turbans in the United States are Sikh. They are very peaceful, prayerful people – certainly not terrorists.