I‘ve never heard anyone say they accidentally became a more faithful follower of Jesus Christ.
I’ve heard many say they wish they could be. I’ve heard the sound of disillusionment in their voices, as if they’ve resigned themselves to not being among the chosen ones wise enough to decipher the secret code to more intentional living by faith.
But living by faith simply means that you act, speak, and think based on what you believe to be true — not on what you feel to be true. The Bible makes this contrast clear:
We walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7)
Sometimes I think it would help if we were blindfolded.
Whatever it means to be living by faith — walking it out in our daily lives — it is the opposite of trusting what we sense with our eyes, ears, nose, and emotions. All that stuff says I’m crazy for walking away from what I think is safe and secure to follow a homeless man who calls me to leave all to follow Him. But His word says that if I seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then He’ll take care of all the other stuff. If I believe, I will act.
And so I choose to believe and act, instead of drifting into some weird blending of faith and sight that can’t be what God had in mind. Picture Moses entering the Red Sea with a life jacket and homing beacon and you get the confused picture we must often present to the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Lest we forget, without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6)
How can you get more intentional about living by faith instead of accidentally drifting into dangerous self-reliance? For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
5 Steps to More Intentional Living by Faith
- Get clear on what you believe. Many Christians aren’t living by what they believe to be true because they don’t even know what they believe in the first place. Ignorance of the law is no excuse when stopped for a traffic violation. Nor is it a valid reason for violating our faith, especially when it has never been easier to study and know the things of God.
- Lay side every weight. Although God is at work within us, we still bear responsibility for letting go of what’s holding us back from truly living by faith. John Piper rightly describes our faith walk as a “wartime lifestyle.” Soldiers can’t afford extra gear in the trenches, much less all that harmful stuff. Neither can we in this most holy of Kingdom conflicts.
- Expand your faith vision. Far too many of us think living by faith only applies to those parts of life officially labeled as “spiritual.” But God (Spirit) became man (physical). One of the reasons the Word became flesh was to forever show us that He is calling us to all-inclusive obedience “from faith to faith” throughout all of life. (Rom. 1:17)
- Open yourself up to inspection. I confess this one is the hardest for me. Thanks to the deceitfulness of sin, it’s way too easy for us to fool ourselves into thinking we’re living by faith when we’re not. Daily study of Scripture [ How to Read the Bible Every Day — and Enjoy It! ] and prayer, regular fasting, fellowship with other believers, seeking wise counsel — all of these are what Christians have long called God’s “means of grace” to expose sin and encourage us to more intentional living by faith. See my post 5 Questions to Know God’s Will for Your Life.
- Act on what you believe. Once you know that the truth is, all that remains is the most difficult part — act. We excel at finding all manner of excuses for not taking the next step of living by faith. A brother has a need. We can meet it. So we pray about it. Why? Because we want to know how it will turn out before we step out. Living by faith means we step out before we know how it will all turn out. [ Tweet this! ] To paraphrase Andy Stanley, we’re afraid that if we do __________, God won’t __________. But faith doesn’t work that way. Neither does God.
God’s way is not to show us what tomorrow looks like or even to tell us what decisions we should make tomorrow. That’s not His way because that’s not the way of faith. God’s way is to tell us that He knows tomorrow, He cares for us, and therefore, we should not worry. ~ Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will
I wonder if God finds it strange that we stop to pray about obeying clear commands of Scripture but don’t stop to consult Him when it’s time for the big game on Sunday or when there’s a sale on that flat-screen TV we’ve been eying for the last month. Instead, we call that an “open door.” Maybe we should file that under things that make God go “Hmmmm….”
Which of these steps for living by faith do you find most helpful? What others would you add? Leave a comment with a click here to help us all grow with more abundant faith.