How to Practically 'Keep the Faith' in the Day-to-Day
- Annette Griffin Contributing Writer
- Updated Dec 11, 2020
We live in a culture that has become increasingly enamored with repurposing sacred words for trivial use. Love describes how we feel about everything from pizza to social media posts. Collective thoughts and prayers are offered as the standard sentiment for every national tragedy. The phrase keep the faith has become so watered down that top Google search results include links for a rom-com film, lyrics to a Bon Jovi song, and political commentary.
Because the world’s definition of faith is so muddled it’s easy to understand why the idea of keeping the faith has been reduced to a simple slogan of solidarity. But when we view faith through a Biblical lens the charge to keep it becomes weighty.
Faith is not a feeling, it’s not a fanciful belief in a mystical realm or being, it’s not a mantra, an activist cause, or a ritual. Faith is a sacred substance.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1 (KJV).
This substance—a combo of knowledge, belief, and trust in the Almighty—is a gift that is planted in the core of all believers by Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith.
Carrie Lowrance, in her article “What Is Faith and Why Is it Important?” puts it this way: “Faith can only come from a new heart, regenerated by God; therefore, faith is a gift from God. It is the unique way that God uses to bring salvation to his people.”
This gift is a treasure that we hold in earthen vessels, and we are called to keep—guard, protect, and preserve—this divine deposit daily.
What Is the Origin of the Phrase 'Keep the Faith'?
Although the modern idiom “keep the faith” didn’t become popular until the 1960s when American civil rights activists adopted the mantra as their own, the apostle Paul nearing the end of his life proudly proclaimed, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7. Paul not only coined the phrase—he embodied it. Despite overwhelming opposition, this apostle, empowered by the Holy Spirit, endured multiple physical attacks and pushback from legalists, naysayers, madmen, and even members of the church. Yet his faith never wavered even when he felt “hard-pressed on every side” 2 Corinthians 4:8.
What Does the Bible Say about Keeping the Faith?
The Bible has a lot to say about what believers should do with this treasure of faith. We are to walk in our faith, work to develop and grow our faith, share our faith, and live our faith in a way that others can see Christ in us. But the call to keep the faith is an exhortation that comes with a warning.
“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you--guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” 2 Timothy 1:13-14.
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” 1 Timothy 4:1.
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers”1 Timothy 4:16
As the enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy—he sees our faith as a prime target. Because of this, the Bible instructs believers to guard their faith with all diligence.
What Are Examples of People in the Bible Keeping the Faith?
In her article “14 Bible Characters Who Wrestled with Their Faith and Won,” Danielle Bernock writes, “Wrestling with your faith isn’t a sign of weakness, but evidence of your humanity. The men and women in the Bible show us this.” Throughout Scripture, we are given examples of real people who fought for and guarded their faith through insurmountable odds.
Hebrews 11 does a great job of recapping some of the most famous heroes of the faith from the Old Testament, but there were others who followed in their footsteps. People like John the Baptist (Matthew 11:2-15), Simon Peter (Mark 14:66-72), and Thomas (John 20:24-29) were believers who knew and walked with Jesus—yet they still experienced a point of crisis in their faith. By holding fast to the truth and keeping the faith they overcame.
5 Practical Ways to Keep the Faith Daily
Here are five practical ways to keep the faith daily.
Be a Clingy Branch
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” John 15:5.
The best way to guard our faith is to cling to the One who provided it. In Christ, we are given everything we need to overcome the enemy, our old nature, and the world.
In times of trouble, we have a choice to run to God or run from Him. When we pull away from the source of our strength our faith becomes vulnerable to attack. But as Jeanne Doyon so beautifully states in “Abide: Where to Stay When Nothing Lasts” “Jesus says, Abide. Stay. Remain. Trust that I AM your constant. I will never turn my back on you. I AM the one you can trust. When all else is falling apart, I will remain. I will be your rock and shield.”
Know the Truth
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" John 8:31-32.
This world is full of half-truths, fake news, and false teachers. There’s no way anyone can possibly keep track of all of them or even begin to discern the motives behind the deception. But if we are armed with God’s truth through scripture, we’ll be able to spot a lie and reject it before the enemy can use it to undermine our faith.
Randy Robison writes in “What Is Truth?” “Jesus is the source of all truth. He is dependably correct in all matters. He is the reality to which we must conform. Since Jesus is the truth, he is the most reliable source for the truth. He routinely began his teachings in the New Testament with the phrase, "’I tell you the truth.’”
Keep a Clear Conscience
“Holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith” 1 Timothy 1:19.
Every believer knows that sin separates. The Holy Spirit that lives inside each of us will not allow a believer to continue comfortably in unrepentant sin because God is holy. Jesus paid the price so that if we find ourselves estranged from the Father because of sin, we have a way—through Jesus’ shed blood—to return to fellowship.
Two of the enemy’s best tools to conquer our faith are guilt and shame. If he can make us feel unworthy of being in the redemptive presence of our Father, he can begin to undermine what we believe about God, our position in Him, and our salvation. But the truth is, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9.
Remain in Fellowship with Other Believers
“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong-- that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith” Romans 1:12.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” Ecclesiastes 4:12.
As we spend time in fellowship with like-minded people who share our faith, we become stronger. Knowing this, it’s no wonder that the enemy often uses the divide-and-conquer scheme to weaken our faith. When we let bitterness, unforgiveness, or petty differences keep us from sharing life with other believers we are like sheep who leave the safety of the fold.
Pass the Tenets of Your Faith to Future Generations
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” Deuteronomy 4:9.
Part of keeping the faith requires that we preserve the tenets of faith for future generations. In “How to Pass Your Faith onto the Next Generation (and Why it Matters!)” Kathryn Graves gives some great suggestions for doing that. She explains that “Deuteronomy 6:4-9 specifically commands us to impress God’s commands on our children—to talk about them at home, when you travel, in the morning, and at night. Verse eight tells us to wear them as jewelry and verse nine says to make wall and door hangings with them. In other words, keep scripture visible and in the front of our minds all the time. The goal is to surround ourselves and our children with God’s words.”
Even in a culture where everything sacred seems up for grabs our faith can be a shield. As we strive to keep this faith—it keeps us. Our faith drives us forward toward the goal of knowing God, being conformed into the image of His Son, and one day being reunited with our Lord. As we run this race—by faith—we can find great courage and hope in knowing that we’re not running alone. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith …” Hebrews 12:1, 2b.
Photo credit: ©Unsplash/Benjamin Davies
Annette Marie Griffin is an award-winning author and speaker who has managed and directed children’s and youth programs for more than 20 years. Her debut children’s book, What Is A Family? released through Familius Publishing in 2020. Annette has also written curriculum for character growth and development of elementary-age children and has developed parent training seminars to benefit the community. Her passion is to help wanderers find home. She and her husband have five children—three who have already flown the coop and two adopted teens still roosting at home—plus two adorable grands who add immeasurable joy and laughter to the whole flock.
This article is part of our larger resource library of Christian practices and disciplines important to the Christian faith. From speaking in tongues to tithing & baptism, we want to provide easy to read and understand articles that answer your questions about Christian living.
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