Most people have a narrow definition of what it means to act in faith. The world defines it as doing something to prove one’s religious devotion or trustworthiness, or as some kind of action that tests one’s morals or beliefs. However, biblical faith goes far deeper than empty works done to prove our intentions to someone else. It has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with trust in God.
The kind of faith God wants us to have gives us tremendous power the world doesn’t have. It requires the courage to step out and do what no one else is doing. Genuine belief involves more than just paying lip service to something, but physically following up. If we believe something strongly enough, an action will be born out of it. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17).
Most people think that faith is simply agreeing with God’s Word in their hearts, and doing nothing else. It’s essential that we agree with what He says, but we demonstrate true agreement by going one step further and taking action. The world calls it “putting your money where your mouth is.” God calls it putting our faith to work. “I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, ‘Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.’ Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove” (James 2:18, MSG).
Acting according to what we think we should do based on our own intellectual reasoning requires no faith. A true act of faith often contradicts everything that makes logical sense, and requires that we follow God’s prompting even when we have no tangible proof to show yet. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). One hallmark of trusting in God is if the world completely rejects what we’re doing. When He calls us and gives us an assignment, we mustn’t expect the world to agree with us.
Taking that first step of faith may seem like the scariest thing we’ve ever done, but we shouldn’t just stop at one step. We must consistently keep our faith out in the field and refuse to take it in until it gets us the results we’re believing for, regardless of what’s happening around us. Depending on our physical senses hinders our faith walk; therefore, when things get confusing we need to rely on God to lead us in the right direction. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5, 6, NLT).
This is easier said than done. When Peter walked on water, everything was fine as long as he was focusing on Jesus. He only began to sink when he got distracted by his circumstances and let fear and doubt stop his forward progress. Our faith can enable us to walk on top of the storms of life, move mountains that seem as if they won’t budge, and do the impossible. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).
Whatever is staring us in the face is no match for our faith. God wants us to succeed. Believing this will keep us going.
For more on how a faith-based response to whatever we’re facing empowers us, click on the link to find the CD series The Faith Response, in our eStore.