The practice of faith
Today, we will be looking at living in a state of constant faith in God. Many of us equate faith with miracles and don't see a connection between faith and life. In fact, a lot of us look at faith as something we draw on only when a difficult circumstance or situation arises. Do we use our faith like:
• A spare tire - used only in case of an emergency?
n A wheelbarrow - must be pushed?
n A bus - taken only when we have no other choice and it is not going your way?
The faith that we use to get great miracles is the same faith we use to live life. Today, we are going to learn how to practise our faith. The practice of our faith, or a life approach to faith, is really about building a strong relationship with the one in whom we place our faith.
We are going to look at the Father of Faith, Abraham. The scriptures in Hebrews 11:8-19 elevates him as an example of faith for all of us. "18 There was no hope that Abraham would have children, but Abraham believed God and continued to hope. And that is why he became the father of many nations. As God told him, "You will have many descendants...' (Romans 4:18-21, ERV). Abraham was a man of extraordinary faith.
So how do you grow stronger in your faith when everything around you screams, "It is not going to happen!"
To practise and live my faith, I must:
1. Trust and obey God
"By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." (Hebrews 11:8). It was not Abraham's plan to leave Ur, but when God revealed himself to Abraham and called him to a life of faith, everything changed. The life of faith, the practice of faith, begins with a willingness to leave your 'Ur', your place of sin and unbelief. The Word of God calls for faith that demonstrates itself in action. It involves moving out of our comfort zones to a greater commitment to God and His call on our lives.
2. Make God number one in my life
"By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents..."
When Abraham arrived in the land of promise (Canaan), he lived there as a resident alien. However, as God was bringing the promises to pass in Abraham's life, Abraham's focus was not on the blessings, but on God. As believers, the practice of our faith requires us not to lose focus of the ultimate prize, being with God. We have a tendency, once God starts to bless our lives, to move the focus off the One who blesses and place it on the blessing.
3. Wait on the promise of God
Although great things were happening in both Abraham and Sarah's lives, they still found themselves waiting on a very important promise of God. "And, by faith, even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise..."
Do you ever feel like God has put your life on hold? Waiting is one of life's greatest disciplines. God is always working behind the scenes, preparing the way to position us to accomplish His vision in our lives. Practising true faith means waiting for the fulfilment of God's promises in God's timing, and not taking matters into our own hands. We never lose when we trust God in the dark.
4. Be willing to sacrifice
"By faith, Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son..." (Hebrews 11:17-19). It was by faith that Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice when God tested Him. Abraham demonstrated a willingness to give God the most important thing in his life, his son.
Similar to Abraham, God will test your faith in the same way. It is a test to check if God is the most important person in your life. And the only time the truth of your heart comes out is when you are tested. If you're afraid to trust God with your possessions, your dreams, or someone in your life, then you need to take a look at the life of Abraham. Abraham was willing to give up everything for God, and he received far more than he could imagine. You will never give up anything for God that God will not repay many times over.
As you consider Bible heroes then, yearn for faith like theirs and not only that, but practise trust. Faith that makes us stand in awe is practised faith.