What Step of Faith Do You Need to Take?
- Thursday, August 19, 2010
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me (1 Cor. 13:11).
This verse came to me in sort of a new and unusual way - while I was contemplating my current "faith journey."
I have taken a number of "spiritual gift" tests over the years and one gift that has always scored high for me was one of "faith." I have believed in God, His omniscience, His love for me, His desire for wanting the best for me, etc. As I face struggles, I look and pray for His direction and know He will provide wisdom, knowledge, and provisions as He sees fit and in His time.
As a "baby" believer, I looked at faith as more of a passive, internal conviction. I trusted God in my head and my heart, but not as much through my actions.
However, as I have matured in age, both physically and spiritually, what I thought "faith" was may have been more of a belief in a concept, not true faith. Recently, I have been stretched, as many of us have, by the downturn in the economy, the tightening of purse-strings, job insecurity and an unknown relational future. As a result, I have had to make some decisions and take some steps that have not come easy, nor gone as expected.
What I have learned through all of this is faith, real faith, takes action.
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:17).
Faith does not mean sitting and waiting every day for an answer. It doesn't just mean believing God will provide or God will show you the way. It means taking an actual "step of faith" in the direction you believe God is leading you.
It reminds me of the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indiana is faced with a deep chasm he must cross in order to retrieve the Holy Grail, which was used by Jesus at the Last Supper. He believed his dying father would be healed if he were to drink from it.
All Indiana sees is an insurmountable gap separating him from the challis with no logical way to get across. The "historical guidebook," which he references, says crossing over will be "a leap of faith" and his father said in his dying breath, "You must believe, boy, you must believe."
As Indiana takes a step of faith into the abyss, each foot lands solidly on a previously unseen narrow rock bridge. With each step, we see his demeanor change as his faith seems to grow as he moves firmly into the unknown and unforeseen.
Granted, this is "only" a movie, but it provides us with a visual image of how our faith in what we believe must be backed up by action.
So where in your life can you see God stretching your faith? Where are you venturing out into the unknown?
Have you been patiently waiting for a mate or a relationship? Contemplating a new job or new career? Deciding upon a move to a new area? Waiting on God for something?
Whatever the case, how have you been actively and deliberately taking a step of faith in your situation?
Are you making yourself available by getting out and being more social? Are you changing up your routine in order to meet and network with new people? Have you been letting others know of your situation, inquiring of new opportunities, or trying something totally new? Have you been taking steps out of your comfort zone, out of your immediate community, and into the unfamiliar? Have you broadened your thoughts to include options you have never considered before?
If your answer is "no" to many of these questions, what are you waiting for?
Jesus said: "Everything is possible for him who believes" (Mark 9:23).
If you truly believe in God and His Word, believe He will provide you with the wisdom, knowledge and provisions He promises, believe He cares for you more than the birds of the air, you have faith, but it is dead without taking action.
Up until recently, my faith had not really been tested. I was living comfortably in my "Cliff-made" environment, enjoying a fairly routine life, with no real need or desire to change. That was until I felt God was calling me (with only a couple of months notice) out of that situation and I was faced with having to make some serious life changes.
Over the past six months, I have moved out of a city (carrying only four pieces of luggage) where I lived for fifteen wonderful years and have some of the best friends anyone could ask for, out of a great home I resided in for ten years, left an amazing church of nine years to a state where I only knew a couple of people, started a new job in a somewhat new field of expertise, lost that job four months later and moved into a guy's place who I found on Craig's List.
To what some may consider a series of "un-wise" or foolish decisions, leading to a year of upheaval in my life, I have made some amazing new lifelong friends, found a new church home, become part of a great small group, discovered some new ministry opportunities, broadened my perspective and participated in some amazing challenges.
The only reason I am able to have such a positive outlook on my very tumultuous life is because I truly believe I am where God wants me to be and doing what I believe God is leading me to do.
I have made a conscious choice to be intentional and purposeful in my decision making process to take action based upon my faith.
This is what the ancients were commended for (Heb. 11:2).
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family (Heb. 11:7).
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:8-10).
By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he onsidered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore (Heb. 11:11-12).
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance (Heb. 11:13).
Faith does not mean seeing the whole path before you take action and, as the ancients found out, taking a step of faith does not even ensure you seeing the results of what you started. Faith is being obedient to what you believe you were called to do and "sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Heb. 11:1).
However, faith is nothing unless we live it out, "and without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6).
What has been on your heart recently? What do you believe God has been prompting you to do that you have been avoiding? Where is God calling you to go?
How are you going to take a step of faith today?
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to CYdmg@yahoo.com.
**This article first published on August 19, 2010.
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