A living faith. What is a living faith? Why is a living faith important and how do you know if you have it? Come with me on a little journey as we explore what faith is and how a living faith changes your life for time and eternity.
“Are you a person of faith?” There have been occasions when I have asked this question of someone with whom I’ve been having a deep discussion. Do you know the kind of answer I generally get? People typically answer by telling me the church they attend, i.e., Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, etc.. What would you say if someone asked you to that question? Do you have a living faith?
If the person I’m talking with is open to further discussion, we can get past the surface talk about church membership and doctrine to the level of faith that is of ultimate importance. So,to do that in this blog I want to deal with a couple of ideas about “faith” in order to be very clear about what a living faith is.
There are different ways to use the word “faith.” I think there are three categories of faith.
Practical, everyday faith is one kind of faith. This faith allows me to depend on and use electricity, drive my car, rest in my bed, eat my food, and go about my daily life without being frozen in fear. Most of us learn to use this kind of faith from our early years. Our physical existence depends on it, we can’t live without practical faith.
Then there is the faith of mental ascent or ascribing to certain teachings of my church or denomination. What I’m getting at is that I can accept my religion’s doctrines and teachings in my head, but believing those truths intellectually do not affect the way I live. This kind of “faith” does not change how I behave. This is the kind of belief James refers to in James 2:19: “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.” I can “believe” there is one Supreme Being, but if that belief doesn’t reach a deeper part of me and change my character, it is useless. James actually calls this kind of faith a “dead faith.”
I want to invite you to embrace a very different and risky kind of faith. The faith I challenge you to consider has some elements of the two just mentioned but is uniquely different in one important way. That difference is a living relationship with the unseen God who becomes the sustaining and guiding Source of your life.
What is this “faith” I’m talking about? Biblical faith has knowledge and action parts to it, just like the two faiths I have already mentioned. Biblical faith, however, challenges you to take a “leap” into the unseen reality we refer to as “spiritual.” Biblical faith is trust in the unseen God and acting in obedience to what He reveals to you to do. Hebrews 11:1 tells you this faith is the key to, the foundation for the life for which God has created you. You can only receive eternal life and become the person God intends you to be by this kind of faith, a living faith.
Living faith often defies human knowledge and understanding and calls for actions that may not “make sense” at the moment. Abram demonstrates this kind of faith as he obeys the call of God, leaving his homeland in search of the place God promises to give to his descendants. Noah works for seventy years building an ark on dry land because God tells him he and his family will begin a new civilization after the great flood that is coming.
We who enter the adventure of biblical faith have much in common with the biblical heroes who have gone before us. We believe in the unseen reality of God, trust and act on His guidance through his word, prayer, and His Spirit. Our faith endures and sees us through tough times when God seems silent and looks with hope and assurance that He is working in everything for good to all who love Him and participate in His purpose.
It is my hope that your faith will be strengthened, deepened, and your commitment to this adventure of living faith will increase as you know more about the loving and trustworthy God you serve. Keep the faith and see what God is going to do in your life.
What’s coming next week? We’ll build on what we’ve learned today and discuss the question: What is your faith quotient, your FQ? Give some serious thought to this before reading my blog next week. Thanks and have a faithful week.