I’ve been hearing the word “faith” since I was in diapers. I’ve absorbed at least 20 sermons on the topic and I’ve chatted with at least 7 girls named Faith.
Perhaps this is your story. Maybe you’ve grown up in the church and all your life you’ve been told to “have faith” over and over again.
Maybe you’ve tuned it out. Maybe it’s become just another “church” word for you.
Maybe you’re a relatively new believer and your small group leader addresses every problem you encounter with her all-encompassing catch phrase “you just gotta have faith, girl.”
Maybe this is you.
It certainly was me for the majority of my Christian walk.
I’d heard of “faith,” but I never understood what it meant to truly have faith
I didn’t know how to apply that one word to my Christian life.
So, being the curious-to-a-fault person that I am, I set out to discover how I could “have faith.”
I’m here today to share with you my discoveries and hopefully clarify this aspect of Christianity for you.
First, let’s start by defining our terms:
Oswald Chambers put it clearly and perfectly when he said,
“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”
Faith means trusting God to act with our best interests in mind, from His perfect goodness, even when we don’t understand what He’s doing in the moment.
In Hebrews 11, Paul tells of the righteous acts of Old Testament figures carried out “by faith.”
By faith, Abraham “went out, not knowing where He was going.”
By faith, our forefathers
“conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated-of whom the world was not worthy.”
These courageous men and women risked their lives, yet they did it BY FAITH.
It’s so easy to think that they “just heard from God” and that somehow made it easier. In reality, they had the same access to God that we do: prayer, worship, and the Word.
If they did it in the BIG things, can’t we trust Him in the “little” things like family and dating and marriage and college and work and our entire future?
I believe we can.
Here are 3 simple ways to live by faith:
1. Know Who You’re Trusting.
Before we truly trust someone, we want to know them, know their character, know that they are worthy of our trust.
Then, we make a conscious decision to trust them.
If we apply these principles to trusting a friend, why don’t we apply them to trusting God?
So how can we know God?
Mainly by seeking Him in His word.
Jeremiah 29:13 tells us
“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
But how do we know the Bible is the right place to seek Him?
2 Timothy 3:16 confirms
“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
The Bible is God’s direct word to us. Through His word, He conveys to us His character, His attributes, Who He is.
To truly know someone, you have to listen to them.
To truly know God, we have to listen to His words.
His words are in His word.
Faith is nothing unless you act on that faith. We are called to not just trust, but to act IN trust. God calls us to active faith. Jesus is not a passive God, but an active God, who expects action from His children as well!
James exhorts in James 1:22-25:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
The first step to living an active faith is CHOOSING to trust God.
We can know 101 things about Who God is, but if we don’t make the conscious decision to CHOOSE TRUST, we do not have faith.
A profound example of this conscious choice is the story of Job.
Job had just been told that all of his precious children were killed and all of his livestock, livelihood, and household destroyed. In that one moment, everything he had ever known was gone.
I don’t know about you, but if I discovered that everything and everyone I held dear had been ripped away from me, I would be a broken, sobbing mess.
But Job doesn’t do that.
He rips his clothes from his body (a sign of immense grief) and profoundly responds:
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
When his world came crashing down around him, Job chose to bless and trust the God He knew was worthy of His confidence.
I really like the way Matt Redman translates this verse in his song “Blessed Be Your Name” below:
“You give and take away/ my heart will choose to say, ‘Lord, blessed be Your name.'”
Faith is an active choice, not a feeling.
When you are going through life’s trials, you probably aren’t going to feel all happy-go-lucky “Jesus is awesome.”
You may doubt God. That’s okay. Job questioned God countless times.
Faith is choosing to believe what you know to be true about the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.
“God, I don’t feel you right now. I have no idea what you’re doing, but I know Who You are. I know that You are good. I know that You have my best interest in mind.”
3. Maintain faith after action.
The world is constantly pulling at us, begging for our attention, giving us false-hope.
If we truly want to have faith in Christ, we’ve got to continue acting after our initial choice.
Choosing faith isn’t a one time thing.
It’s a process. In every challenge you face, every mountain you climb, every puddle you wade through, you must choose to trust God in that moment.
There are four simple ways to maintain your faith:
Ask God to reveal Himself to you.
Pray for trust, pray for faith, pray for knowledge. “God, I don’t trust You right now, but I want to.”
God loves you and wants your heart to be at peace. He is always good and honors a sincere and willing heart.
Seek Him in His word.
While the New Testament is a must-read, don’t neglect the Old Testament, especially the prophetic books (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.). They really provide insight into the just and loving and powerful and caring character of God.
Note: If you’re going through a rough time and struggling to have faith in God and His goodness (and even if you’re not), I encourage you to read the book of Job. It is such a profound story of faith and perseverance.
3. Don’t do this alone.
Join a youth group, a campus ministry, or a church group.
It is vital that you share your struggles and successes with other believers. Others have doubts as well and a good church group is a safe place to explore God and His word in the fellowship of a loving church family.
4. Remember that it’s okay to struggle .
Lastly, it’s okay to have negative feelings. It’s okay to be angry at God.
It’s okay to question God.
But it’s vital to remember that ultimately our feelings don’t determine or change who God is. God is God.
If I’m angry, He’s still a good God. If I’m have negative feelings, He’s still a good God. If I question Him, He’s still a good God.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Listen, sister, I am not saying that having faith will always be easy. It won’t. But it is so worth it. To know that no matter what I’m facing, no matter how scared I am, no matter who fails me, I can always turn to God and trust that He is always for me. He is always loving, always faithful, and always good. So good.
Nothing worth doing is easy, but with God, it’s possible.
1. “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman and Travis Cottrell: Listen Here.
2. Free phone wallpaper! This is actually my lock screen; it’s such a good reminder!