We are a people of faith. Faith is and the center and the heart of who we are. Yet, faith is so often misunderstood. Faith is misused and abused. Our first and foremost Biblical calling before anything else is our calling to faith and if we we miss this most basic premise, we will miss everything else which follows.
To understand what faith is we must understand that it is more than optimism. Some will hold faith is about keeping a positive attitude that everything will get better. But faith does not necessarily anticipate a better circumstance, rather it clings to a greater God. Your financial crisis might get worse. The illness you are suffering may become more severe. That relationship which is struggling may turn into a crisis. Yes, faith holds God will win the victory, but tomorrow may not necessarily be a better day than today. It might get much worse, before it gets better. Faith needs to be more than being hopeful everything will be ok.
Second, faith must be more than comfort for my soul. Faith is balm to heal the wound. Faith is there to soothe. It is medicine to make me feel better. It helps me to cope with the circumstance or situation I find myself in. It gives hope when all feels so hopeless. It gives me the confidence to hold my head up when all I really want to do is fall down and give up. It will give me peace and serenity amidst the storm of anxiety. This is great and wonderful news! But the problem is that if this is all faith is, then when life is good, without any worries, we are not going to have much need for this type of faith. Like medicine, this type of faith will be put in the drawer only to be pulled out when needed in times of distress, disease, death, and devastation.
Faith must also be more than a get out of jail free card. I accept Jesus died for my sins and rose again from the grave. I accept this as fact. I believe this happened. Because of this I believe I shall receive the gift of eternal life. Those who do not accept this, are left to a place which is not so pleasant called hell. But again, faith must be more than just intellectual acceptance of a historical person and events. James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” In other words, the demons have no problem accepting the fact that Jesus died and rose again, but that doesn’t do them much good. Faith must be more than an intellectual exercise as a get out of jail free card.
When we look at God’s Word, Jesus talks about having faith to move the mountains. In the Old Testament we saw faith cause the sun to stand still and waters to be parted. In other places faith would heal the sick, make the lame to walk, and raise the dead to life. Faith would turn the most hardened sinner to God. Faith is not just something that happens in me, but is something that is shown through me. Faith is not a personal thing buried in my heart, but lived out loud. Faith does not ask what’s in it for me, but what can I do for the kingdom of God. Faith is expressed in the way we talk, the things we do, the places we go, and the way we live our lives. Faith moves me to live with such confidence in the promises of God, that I live my life now as if they had already come to pass.
Last weekend, there were 1000′s of people convinced the world was going to end. As a result they quit their jobs, sold their homes, and spent their life savings. To their credit, no one could question their resolve and their commitment. Their faith was revealed. The only problem they put their faith in the wrong thing. God’s Word says no one knows the day nor the hour. Jesus will come like a thief in the night. Their faith may have been misplaced, but what an incredible example of faith so many of them displayed.
Imagine if we might we live with such confidence in what God has truly promised. Our lives would be transformed along with many others around us. Yet, many of us still live by sight rather than by faith. We have so many excuses that hold us down in survival mode. We are stuck with a faith that is more along the lines of wishful thinking than confidence to live in the fullness of the life Jesus won for us.
So here is one challenge I would like to leave you with. Write down one way you can positively impact another person in a tangible way in the next week. Stop reading. Do it right now! Don’t read the next paragraph until you have written down that person’s name.
And now go do it. Forget about all the excuses. I don’t have the time. I don’t have enough money. God has put another person upon your heart to serve that person. Take a step of faith and go do it. Don’t wait. Believe God will give you everything you need to make it happen. Faith is given to serve the needs of others and to change the world. And it is faith which will overcome anything that will hinder the work of the kingdom through us.