walk in the word
Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
I don’t know about you, but as a believer in Jesus Christ and as a pastor, I run into a lot of people who tell me they’ve “lost” their faith. They just don’t believe like they used to. Do you meet people like this? What do you tell them?
I start by getting right to the heart of their question. I ask them, “what do you think faith is?” and “Who do you have faith in?” That usually clears things up real fast.
When you share grace and truth with people you must first get the definition page. We’ll get to what God’s Book says about faith in a minute, but let’s first rid ourselves of faulty notions about faith:
Now hear this: Faith is so integral to the Christian life that it can be boiled down to a very practical definition: Faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it, no matter how I feel, because God promises a good result.
Let’s break that definition down so you can see how it will work in practical ways in your life.
Faith is believing the Word of God. That word believing is not “wouldn’t it be nice if . . .” Believing is a lot more than just shallow hope. Believing is, “I’ve got all my eggs in one basket. I’m 100% in.” That’s faith.
But faith is not believing in a vacuum; it’s belief based on the Word of God. That’s the key. I’m not trusting the newspaper, the television, my neighbor, or my boss. I believe in a God who wrote a trustworthy Book. “Faith,” Romans 10 says, “comes by hearing the Word of God” so the more I get in God’s Book the greater will be my faith.
. . . And acting upon it. Genuine faith always downloads into life. We say we believe in all kinds of stuff—but we really don’t unless it shows up in our lives. In family matters, an active faith means we will trust God to work through a wayward child or even an unbelieving spouse. In finances, we will trust God to meet our daily needs, while giving tithes and offerings; we believe the Scripture that says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Maybe you’re reading this with an overwhelming sense of loneliness. Maybe you’re just discouraged about your life and your direction. You’re not sure where to turn and you’re not sure what to pursue. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you can turn to Him to meet your deepest life needs. When you believe the answers to life’s deepest perplexities are found in Christ, then you are believing the Word of God and acting upon it.
No matter how I feel. This is critical. Faith discounts how we feel and boldly acts upon the Word of God.
I know a woman who wants like anything to talk to her husband about Christ. She’s having a hard time believing that she can’t be a big part of the solution! She feels she must say something or he will never change. But faith discounts how we feel and boldly acts upon the Word of God.
Maybe you’re at a place of real financial hardship, and you feel giving a consistent tithe or offering to your church is unrealistic. I understand the fear that comes with limited funds. When Kathy and I were in Bible college, we didn’t have two dimes to rub together. We had $180–$200 per week of expenses, and I was making $150 a week as a youth pastor. I can remember writing that little tithing check for $15 and thinking to myself “Why am I doing this?”
Those were real fears and frustrations, but they were nonsense compared to God’s faithfulness. God was teaching us some very important lessons about life. I learned that God is true to His Word and can be trusted to meet all of our needs if, by faith, we choose obedience and refuse to be guided by emotion. Here’s the best part of faith: We can act upon our faith, no matter how we feel, because . . .
God promises a good result. Here are four questions I’ve heard from those struggling with faith:
The answer to each question is the same: Because God promises a good result.
This message of faith permeates the Bible; it’s somewhere on every page. Every step with God is a step of faith. Every lesson learned is a lesson of faith. Every victory won is a victory by faith. That’s the prominence of faith in God’s book. It’s on that basis that I say this: Faith is not a part of the Christian life.
Say what? That’s right; faith is not a part of the Christian life. It’s not like patience, kindness or other character traits. It’s not like teaching or ministering. It’s not like worship or prayer or other actions that we take toward God. Those are parts.
Faith, however, is not a part of the Christian life; it’s the whole thing.
At the end of the day the Christian is only and entirely about faith. Hebrews 11: 6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Genuine believers trust God and His Word and act upon it no matter how they feel, because God promises a good result.
The next time you meet someone who has lost their way, teach them what God is teaching you about faith. That it’s real and relevant and abundantly rewarded by God Himself. Faith is not a part of the Christian life . . . it’s the whole thing!
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