One of the best examples of faith comes from the story of Abraham. In his very old age he finally had a son that he greatly loved and from whom God had said that He would make a great nation. Then God told him to kill that son as a sacrifice and Abraham actually tried to do it. Because of his great faith, Abraham obeyed God by doing something that, logically, would have dismantled God’s own plan. Abraham threw human logic in the trash in order to obey.
I live in a Muslim country and the Muslims here say that they have faith in God and prove it by praying, fasting, giving to the poor and by traveling to Mecca. And, I will grant you, they demonstrate more faith in that way than most people that call themselves Christian. But, think about it. In what way did they risk something the way that Abraham risked losing his child? It isn’t real faith if there is no risk involved; it is just religious stuff.
It isn’t real faith if there is no risk involved; it is just religious stuff.
When I got saved I really wanted to do good for God so I thought that reading my Bible, praying, giving money and going to church was what I was supposed to do. After a time, though, I realized that I was losing the exhilarating feeling that I had when I got saved. I was doing all of this religious stuff but the excitement was wearing off. In the beginning, it had been exciting when I realized who Jesus was and used faith to make him the lord of my life; that took risk as I was afraid it would anger my father. And it had been exciting when the Holy Spirit came inside of me. Doing the religious things, though, did not use faith and I was not feeling the power of the Holy Spirit any more.
One of my mentors recently retired from missionary work after 35 years in China. He told me that, the hardest part about living in America again is that he doesn’t use faith there. A missionary doesn’t know how to solve many day-to-day problems or how to move forward in work for the kingdom of God so my friend risked losing control of his life when he moved to China. For 35 years, his solution was to pray and see God’s power take care of everything. He used faith, he saw God’s real power and it felt great—not that it is all about feelings, but I can also testify that it does feel great.
God tells you what to do --> you can’t do it but you trust God and obey (risky) --> God comes through with His power --> You feel great because God worked through you
If you don’t have the advantage of living overseas then you have to figure out how to live by faith where you are, and I warn you that it will take risk. Following Jesus isn’t about doing the religious stuff, it is a matter of the heart. It is about the faith that we have in our heart and the power of the Holy Spirit that works through us to accomplish God’s kingdom purposes.
Main point: Faith is more than just believing facts. If there is no risk involved, then it isn't real faith. So what: What are you doing, or have ever done, out of faith, as defined above? How will you live a life of faith?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.