Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. (Hebrews 11:1-2, NIV)
Faith is an important word to us as believers. Unfortunately the word “faith” may be one of the most overused and least understood words in the English language. When we speak of other religions we call them “other faiths”. We talk about our own faith as if it is a possession we own. We speak of faith like it is more of a sentiment than an active force in the world. I look at faith differently. I think faith is more like a muscle we exercise than a feeling we have. In order to allow our faith to get “worked out” and to grow strong, we need to exercise it in certain ways. As I list some ways faith can be exercised below, I pray you will consider how this makes its way into your life in the world and our lives together.
1. Active faith acts out of assurance instead of anxiety
Most Christians undervalue confidence. Yet at least twice in the two little verses above, God calls us to be confident and to live in a state of anticipation that He will create a way for us into the future. This means that we must ruthlessly eliminate worry from our life. It also means we make decisions and go through our days acting in trust instead of letting the concerns of this world suck the life out of us. Decisions made and actions done out of insecurity and worry are never good ones. More often than not they lead to regret.
The word picture for worry is a picture of a dog, like a pit bull, that when it grabs hold of its prey, does not let go of it until it has strangled the life out of it. When we let anxiety grab a hold of our days, or our lives together, it will drain every bit of life out of us. We must ruthlessly remove it from our lives.
2. Active faith takes risks instead of being reticent.
Read the rest of Hebrews 11. God does not always call us to play it safe. As a matter of fact, God often calls us to take risks.
Faith is about living into the future. If we do not exercise faith, we can spend a lot of time trying to recreate the past, or trying to hold on to the present moment. We like to do this because the present and past are familiar, but the future is unknown.
The best decisions I have ever made in my life required me to take a leap of faith. Those choices forced me jump into the great unknown, often turning my back on what was safe and familiar, and place myself in the hands of God’s grace and completely depend on him. When I have made courageous decisions like this, I have found that God has always blessed me for depending on him.
It is amazing what God can do when we make ourselves totally His! God bless you in the journey!