Faith, Priscilla Shirer tells us, is when we act like God is telling the truth. And each time we step out in faith and see God work, it spurs us on, giving us greater confidence to take additional steps and to see God continue to move and work in our lives. Having faith means we believe there is a God who is bigger and knows more than we do.
Perhaps the most well known passage on faith appears in Hebrews 11, which starts off with a simple definition: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV) It goes on to explain, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)
Another passage written by Paul explains that followers of Christ “walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7, ESV) The idea of “walking by faith” means that we are striving to see the world through the lens of our belief in God and what we learn by studying the Bible. Instead of taking things at face value, we look for the spiritual implications and opportunities for growth that exist within them. We continually ask God to show us what he wants us to learn through the situations we face. We expect to see him at work in our lives and are open to letting him change us into better versions of ourselves.
Learning to live like this takes focus and discipline. We must fight against our natural tendency to compartmentalize different aspects of our lives. Imagine your mind as a bookcase and each book on the shelf represents one category in your life: the spines of your “books” include titles like “Family,” “Friends,” “Marriage,” “Work,” “Social Life,” “Fitness,” “Entertainment,” etc. Many of us start out with “Faith” as one of the categories in our minds. We engage it at certain times and in certain places with certain people, but it doesn’t permeate our lives or influence many of our choices. Our default mode is to make decisions based on our preferences, not on God’s Word.
But as we grow in our relationship with God and begin applying the truth of the Bible to our lives, we begin taking steps of faith. We start to see that God knows what he’s talking about and really does have a better plan for us than we have for ourselves. Faith begins to spill over into other “categories” in our lives, affecting the choices we make about relationships, money, career decisions, raising kids and even our social lives. Faith in God shouldn’t fit neatly into one compartment of our lives because it is meant to inform EVERY area of our lives.
What role does faith in God play in your life? Does the hope of what is yet to come spur you on daily? Or have the cares of the world caused you to change your focus to what you can see and touch? Are there any compartments in your life that you’re holding back from God? Anywhere you’re unwilling to allow your faith to have influence? If you want more than what the world has to offer, pray and ask God to help you surrender all of your “compartments” to him. Stop rationalizing. Admit your fears. Root out apathy. Tell God where you are holding back and take a step of faith by inviting him to move and work in one previously “off limits” area in your life.
Make Lauren Daigle’s song “Come Alive” your prayer of faith for today.
Priscilla Shirer, The Armor of God, Lifeway Press 2015.