Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Fern C. Willner's new book, When Faith is Enough: A Safari of Destiny that Reveals Principles to Live By, (Believe Books, 2006).
You’re bound to confront unexpected challenges that strike you with the fear of the unknown. It’s at times like these that you’ll have to choose whether or not to follow where God leads you – even when you don’t understand what’s happening. But no challenge is insurmountable. Faith is truly enough to overcome even the toughest challenge.
Here’s how you can use the faith God gives you to overcome any challenge you’ll ever face:
* Live by the Spirit. Don’t rely on your own limited strength. Instead, plug into God’s unlimited strength by asking the Holy Spirit to guide and empower you. Trust that He will help you obey God’s leading in all situations.
* Believe even when you don’t see answers to your prayers. Remember that God is always at work, but sometimes He’s working behind the scenes until the right time to reveal His answers to your prayers. Believe in who Jesus really is and in what He has done for you. Recall God’s promises from Scripture. Ask God to give you the confidence to continue to listen to God’s guidance and act on it.
* Be courageous. Understand that faith in the known is greater than fear of the unknown. Pray for the courage you need to follow uncharted paths. Expect that there may be a time of testing between the time you act in obedience and the time you receive what God has promised.
* Be patient. Know that your faith must sometimes be tried to produce patience in you and help you mature. Don’t lose your vision simply for a lack of patience. Trust God as you wait. Remember that God is never late.
* Build unity with other believers. Recognize that faith is effective when there is unity. Understand that agreement on Earth releases provision from heaven. Do your best to work with others to find a place together in God’s will, so that God’s will supercedes your individual wills. Then agree to do God’s will together.
* Realize that true faith originates from God – not just good intentions. Don’t take claims based simply in good-intentioned emotion seriously. Know that when sincere or zealous statements of faith have no divine origin, they don’t bear witness to the truth, and they don’t bring real comfort. Understand that it’s much better to face reality – no matter how hard that may be – and speak the truth in love than to speak without God’s leading and just tell someone what he or she wants to hear.
* Don’t worry about provision. Be assured that God will not only meet your needs, but He’ll do so abundantly. Pray specifically about whatever practical needs you have, and trust God to respond.
* Don’t substitute sacrifice for obedience. Realize that your greatest sacrifice to God is not enough to justify disobedience.
* Stay focused. Expect your faith to waver if you allow other concerns to distract you from God’s guidance. Focus on your God-given goals instead of the past, and on God’s promises rather than your circumstances. Invite God to remind you of how much He loves you, and let that motivate you to stay steadfastly focused on what He wants for you.
* Let fear jumpstart your faith. Whenever you experience something that troubles you, realize that God may intend that experience to be a roadblock to help you change direction in your life. Turn to God with all your heart when He’s trying to get your attention, and ask Him to direct your steps.
* Know that faith makes it possible to be secure anywhere. Understand that anyplace is secure with Jesus, but no place is safe without Him. Realize that God’s provision isn’t dependent on your own resources, that His ways aren’t subject to your approval, and that His timing is often different from yours. Recognize that your security lies in trusting God. Know that, no matter what, your faith can stand when it’s based on God’s promises instead of your own understanding.
* Stand firm when you encounter evil. Know that faith born in the light may be tested in darkness as you go through attacks from evil. Be strong, pray, and keep believing when darkness temporarily hides victory from view.
* Remember that faith without love is worth nothing. Realize that any attempt to follow Jesus’ example of ministry will be ineffective unless you also follow His example of love. Don’t let any of your sacrifices or service for God be in vain. First, get your motivation right by getting your heart right with God. Then – out of true love for God and gratitude for His love for you – give to others.
* Let faith give you quiet confidence. Recognize that strength comes not from power, but from the quiet confidence of an indwelling faith. Expect that every time you submit your needs to Jesus, you’ll experience the confidence that only He can give you. Rely on that confidence to do whatever God leads you to do.
* Act in faith when it’s not convenient. Whenever you sense God leading you to do something that doesn’t make sense in your current circumstances, be willing to follow His leading despite that. Remember that it’s rarely convenient to walk by faith, and that God may challenge your faith when He wants to encourage you to grow. Choose to hold God’s call in higher regard than the circumstances surrounding you.
* Let faith build understanding in your relationships with others. Know that you can share a bond with other people through faith, which will transcend all your differences and unify you like nothing else. As you interact with others, take the time to truly get to know them, and let God’s love flow through you into their lives.
* Fight so that the enemy doesn’t steal your faith. Be alert to ways Satan is trying to discourage you and tempt you to turn away from God. Stay connected to God through frequent prayer, and build relationships with other believers who will regularly encourage you. Remember that good is more powerful than evil.
* Don’t give up under pressure. Be assured that God will give you faith sufficient for whatever you need you’ll face. Never give up in the midst of tough circumstances; just pray for the faith to handle them well.
* Let your faith help you solve problems. Look beyond your problems to the God who will give you solutions. Pray for creative ideas to solve whatever problems you’re dealing with, and apply the wisdom you receive.
* Remember God’s promises. Understand that, while you may be unfaithful to God, God will always be faithful to you. Read God’s promises in the Bible and know that you can count on Him. Persevere in tough circumstances, trusting that God will deliver on His promises to you.
* Recognize that faith works by love. Realize that the power behind faith is love. Let love inspire you to reach beyond your own inadequate abilities and resources and into the realm of God’s help. Be willing to try whatever God wants you to try, trusting that He’ll help you along the way. Remember that nothing is impossible with God. Expect that you may even experience a miracle as God’s love flows through you.
* Know that faith is never in vain. Don’t judge your faith by the apparent failure or success of your work. Remember that faith is not based on what you can see. When you don’t see the results you’d hoped for when you prayed about something, remember that God still has in answer. When your current circumstances don’t indicate anything to assure you that God is working, wait for the right time and know that God will reward your faith.
* Understand that faith is not limited by time or space. Realize that God is always near even when He seems distant. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, be assured that God sees you and cares. Know that someone is always interceding for you in prayer – either Jesus in heaven, or another person who cares about you. Recognize that prayers from another dimension (heaven) or another location (even across the globe) are just as powerful as those uttered by someone in the same room with you.
* Expect God to reward your faith. Know that God will never send you out to accomplish something without generously providing everything you need in order to do it. Understand that God will sometimes surprise you with extra blessings when He sees you respond faithfully to His guidance.
* Recognize that God calls young people to be just as faithful as older ones. If you’re young, don’t let your age be an excuse or a hindrance from living out your faith. Remember that maturity isn’t the same as chronological age. Respond to God’s challenge to live a life of integrity that pleases Him and represents Him well to others. If you’re older, do all you can to encourage youth to live out their faith.
* Remember that faith is worthwhile. Be patient during times when your faith is tested by hardships. Remember that the effort you must make to follow God’s leading is always worth it.
* Let faith motivate you to give. Remember how much God has given to you, and let your gratitude for His generosity motivate you to give to other people. Know that God sees when you give with pure motives, and will reward you in heaven for doing so.
* Don’t trade your faith for comfort. Know that you’ll regret any time you back away from something God wants you to do, just because it makes you feel uncomfortable. Instead of focusing on temporary, earthly rewards, focus on the eternal rewards that God will give you if you’re faithful to follow where He leads.
* Don’t sacrifice obedience on the altar of common sense. Understand that faith’s security lies in obedience. Rather than basing your decisions on circumstances you can see, seek wisdom from God, who has the benefit of a complete perspective on every situation. Rely on God’s guidance instead of your own limited understanding.
* Bolster your faith with daily guidance from God. Don’t neglect regular prayer time during which you seek divine direction. Know that God always has something to say to you; make time to listen to Him.
* Let your faith transform your weakness into strength. Read, study, and meditate on God’s Word, the Bible, often. Realize that the substance of faith is inherent in God’s Word. Expect that when you receive His Word in faith, you’ll also receive the strength you need to live it out.
* Realize that you can’t reach a positive goal by taking negative steps. Understand that faith can either be strengthened or defeated by your actions. Decide to trust God, even when you don’t understand or like what He’s doing in your life. Don’t give in to wrong feelings and act outside of God’s will. Ask God to help you stay positive.
* Know that your faith will affect future generations. Remember that the greatest gift you can give your children, grandchildren, and the others that come after them is a heritage of faith. Hold onto your confidence in God, realizing that doing so will benefit not only you, but others who will be inspired by your example.
* Remember that faith is the substance and evidence of the unseen. Know that faith points to the One who gives it: God. Remembering that your faith is a gift from God, decide to use it to serve God as your gift back to Him. Make good use of the faith God has invested in you, and trust that as you apply this intangible resource, you’ll see tangible blessings as a result.
* Realize that God can multiply a single act of faithful giving. Expect that, when you lovingly give even a small gift to help someone in need, God will use it in ways that go beyond what you can imagine. Be willing to let your possessions go when God asks for them, knowing that the little gifts you give may become great.
* Let the knowledge that God truly sees and cares about you strengthen your faith. Realize that, through your relationship with God, you are truly known and truly loved. Let His deep personal love for you increase your hope for the future and bolster your faith.
* Be active, not passive. Don’t squander your time and energy on activities that don’t relate to God’s purposes for your life. Don’t be idle and then pity yourself when others receive opportunities you would like. Ask God to give you the self-discipline you need to grow in your faith and serve diligently.
* Link your faith together with other believers’ faith. Build meaningful relationships with other believers. Participate in and contribute to a healthy church. Know that when believers are linked together in active faith, they form a chain of deliverance. Be obedient enough to give to others in need, and humble enough to receive from others for your own needs.
* Remember that faith is founded on, and maintained by, an intimate relationship with God. Recognize that faith isn’t measured by anything else but the quality of your relationship with God. Make building a close relationship with God your top priority in life, and know that God will respond by giving you more and more faith.
Adapted from When Faith is Enough: A Safari of Destiny that Reveals Principles to Live By, copyright 2006 by Fern C. Willner. Published by Believe Books, Washington, D.C., www.believebooks.com.
Fern C. Willner graduated from both Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri and Zion Bible Institute in East Providence, Rhode Island. At Zion she met her future husband, Rev. Charles Willner, with whom she went on to share a life of adventure and ministry along with their seven children. Fern went to be with the Lord in 2002. This book seeks to keep her vibrant testimony alive.