Faith. What is faith? Is it a fuzzy feeling? Is it verbally saying you accept a set of facts? What does it look like to have faith in our lives?
Faith is so much bigger than a fuzzy feeling or agreeing with facts. Faith is something that is visible in your life. It is an action.
In the book of Romans, Paul talks about obedience through faith. Faith looks like obeying the words of Jesus. This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. As Christians it is so important that we are constantly overcoming fear and growing in our faith. Faith is essential to following Jesus. This is something I am constantly trying to make sure is growing in my life! I want to know Jesus, and I want to be His disciple. So here’s a little peak into what i’ve been pondering the last few weeks.
What exactly does it look like to have faith in our lives? It looks like walking out what Jesus taught us. Jesus taught some pretty tough stuff at times, and the way we live our lives is the proof of whether we are listening and responding to Him. Knowing Jesus’ words should be a vital goal for us as Christians. In James 2:14-18 it says
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and will show you my faith by my deeds.”
In Hebrews 11:6 it talks about how it is impossible to please God apart from faith. Faith is a big deal to God! The way you live your life really shows what you believe. There is a misconception out in the world among Christians that it doesn’t matter what you do, you are saved as long as you’ve said the prayer. This is completely untrue. If that was the case then that would take away our free will, and there would be no need for faith.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about is what hinders us from having faith. I would say one of the biggest oppositions to faith is fear. Faith and fear are constantly battling in all of our lives. I love the story of Peter walking on water, because this is a great example of this. The story is found in Matthew 14. Pretty much what happens is Jesus gets done feeding the 5,000 and he wants some time alone to pray, so he sends his disciples off ahead of him. His disciples get into a boat and start travelling across the lake. They get pretty far away, and then suddenly there’s Jesus - walking on the water. No big deal. They freak out and think it’s a ghost. Jesus tells them not to be afraid and Peter says, “If it is you Lord, call me to walk on the water”. And so Jesus tells him to come. Peter steps out onto the water and begins to walk towards Jesus. But then suddenly he remembered the wind and became afraid. He began to sink and cried out for Jesus to rescue him. Jesus rescues him and they get into the boat. Jesus says, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Sometimes when I read this story I think, “Yeah, why did Peter doubt? He was with Jesus after all!” But how many times in our lives are we Peter? Because the truth is, Jesus is with us now. He is still the same as he was then. Peter had faith to walk on the water, then the fear took over and he began to sink. Faith and fear aren’t things that can operate at the same time. We either allow faith to take over, or fear. As I said earlier, our actions truly show what we believe. If I’m constantly saying, “I trust God to provide for me” and yet I can’t give a single dollar away, do I actually believe that? Or is it just words? My pastor often uses this example, and I think it applies to this: If 2 dogs are fighting but you’re only feeding one, which one is going to win? The one you feed. It’s the same with faith and fear. The one you feed is the one that will eventually win. Fear only has the power in our lives that we give it.
It takes time to grow our faith. It’s human nature to operate in fear. But the question is, are you working on it? In my life I’ve had big struggles with fear, and I am in the process of overcoming that. And through that process my faith in Jesus has grown exponentially. Let’s continue going after Jesus and not allowing fear to win in our lives!