Practicing Faith

by Joanna Pierce on January 17, 2019

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you (Philippians 4:9, KJV).

What’s Faith

Faith is trust, confidence in, and assurance in something. For the Christian, we have faith in God, which is a foundational aspect to our walk with God. It’s the means by which we learn to respond, relate, and receive from God. We are told in Scripture that faith is of absolute importance. Jesus even demonstrated this fact in His own ministry. We see numerous examples where Jesus performed miracles in some places due to their faith. Just like any other Christian discipline, faith must be practiced.

Practicing Faith is More Than…

Words

Faith is going to be more than just what we say (James 2:14). If we hang around the church long enough, we can start to learn how to say the right things. We can become pretty good at going through the motions: saying what others say but not meaning them at all. We can’t do this with our faith! Faith must be put into action. Jesus warned His disciples of this when He explained that in the end times, people will cry unto Him to enter heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father will make it (Matthew 7:21)!

Feelings

We can’t base our faith on our emotions because our feelings are fickle. Part of our walk with God will be comprised of feeling God, but we can be emotional and moved by Him in a church service but never act on what we feel. Scripture tells us that if we “wish” something and don’t follow up with action, it isn’t worth anything (James 2:15).

Believing

We can believe in a lot of things, especially God, but faith is much more than belief. Belief is not enough because even if we choose to believe in God, the demons already do and they tremble (James 2:19). Devils understand the majesty and awesomeness of God, but they are no closer to being saved in their belief than we are if we only believe. We must do more than agree in the existence in God; faith is demonstrated by our actions. Our behavior will show what we really believe (James 2:17–18).

The Summation of Faith

Faith is saying, feeling, and acting on what we believe God for. It’s not that we shouldn’t feel faith, speak in faith, or believe, but theses alone are insufficient. They only become valuable when an action accompanies them. Our faith is the assurance of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we don’t see (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is what we can see in the spiritual that we can’t see physically. In Scripture, Abraham’s faith was mixed with works. It was only at this point was his faith made perfect (James 2:20–24). Remember, our faith is not determined by what we do but demonstrated by what we do.

We Practice Faith When We…

Give Correctly

By faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice to God than his brother Cain (Hebrews 11:4). How did Abel know the right sacrifice to bring? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that he had enough insight in God—and faith—that he was moved to bring the right sacrifice. Sometimes exercising our faith by giving allows God to work through us. He will teach us how to give the proper offering to Him and to others.

Live to Please God

Because of faith, Enoch was translated so he wouldn’t see death; he pleased God (Hebrews 11:5). Enoch used pleasing God not just as a filter, but made it into a lifestyle. He didn’t act on his own accord and then check with God afterward. He literally lived to please God; his own will was dead. Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.

Give Up What We Want to Keep

Abraham was tried and offered up his only son to God. He had faith God would raise him up again from the dead (Hebrews 11:17–19). Abraham understood that Isaac was given to him as a promise of the future. Therefore, he knew that even if he gave him up, God’s promise would still be executed through Isaac’s seed. In our walk with God, not everything is “addition.” Scripture tells us that walking with God is about gaining and sometimes about losing. But, faith is about understanding that no matter what we gain or lose in this life, the promise is still ours to keep!

Live Out Our Trust in What God has Promised Us

When Joseph died in Egypt, he gave a commandment concerning the promise of Israel (Hebrews 11:22). He knew the people would survive famine and bondage and God would deliver them to the Promised Land. He had so much faith in this promise that he didn’t want to be buried, but wanted to be placed in a coffin so his bones could later be taken with the people. Like Joseph, we should make decisions in alignment with our belief in the promise of the Word of God!

Choose to Suffer for What’s Right Instead of Compromising for What’s Wrong

Moses refused to be called the Pharaoh’s daughter but instead chose to suffer affliction with the people of God (Hebrews 11:24–27). By faith, he forsook Egypt and was consistent and endured for the Lord. His example of faithfulness and standing up for truth is one we should practice in our own faith-walk with with God. At some point, if we have not already, we’ll need to make a stand for God. The truth will divide us!

Allow Ourselves to be Used by God

There were many faithful men of God throughout Scriptures. Because of their faith they subdued kingdoms, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, etc. (Hebrews 11:32–34). Their faith was practiced and increased all because they all wanted to be used for the will of God. If we allow ourselves to be a conduit for His presence, and truly be His hands and feet, we’ll see faith activated and practiced in our life. We’ll see great moves of God because of it!

Trust God’s Answer and God’s Timing

There were great heroes of faith in the Bible, but they didn’t see their promises come to pass in their lifetime. They all died before they happened (Hebrews 11:39). When we take a moment to think about their walk with God, they spent their whole life practicing faith. Could we do the same? Could we practice faith our entire life without ever getting an answer? Since our patriarchs of faith have set the example of practicing faith, we need to do the same in our life. Answer our no, our final authority is belief in prayer that God will answer and will answer in His right time. We must ultimately submit to His will (I John 5:14–15).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on January 16, 2019 with Pastor Nave