Christians are held in a tension. We know that we cannot earn a place of acceptance with our Heavenly Father with any amount of good works. We are made right with Him through faith. Yet, our faith is not abstract. It is shown in how we live.
Abraham is the example used in Romans. “What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” (Romans 4:1-3, NLT) From his life of faith, however, we discover that a ‘faith-full’ life is consistent in word and actions!
Many disciples talk about faith, but live like atheists. They pray, but act as though God does not hear, or is not willing to act, or is incapable of doing what they ask. Abraham’s faith was a core value from which his life was formed. In Genesis 12:1 we read of a radical choice based on faith: The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, teaches three ‘life of faith’ principles.
1. Faith is informed by God’s voice.
It does not spring from self. Abraham heard from God before he did anything! Do you think that faith is hatching up an idea and then insisting that God bless it? Do you mistake faith for presumption because you think that you have the right to ‘tell’ God what to do for you? God does the telling, we do the living. God sets the agenda, we implement His plans. A heart of worship that is learning to listen to the Spirit and the Word is the fertile soil from which faith grows.
2. Faith leaves the familiar.
Abraham was compelled, by faith, to pack up and move out. He left comfort, safety, family, and friends behind to faithfully pursue God’s plan. Sounds so easy when we say it like that, doesn’t it? Sounds Almost adventurous, like getting on the cast of ‘Survivor.’ EXCEPT, that the Adventure doesn’t end in 6 weeks. It’s a life-long pilgrimage that only rests in Heaven. Faith will pull you out of religious traditions that no longer are useful in connecting you with God. Faith will lead you out of cultural norms that ‘deaden’ you to God’s work. Faith may cause you to do the ridiculous, not because you’re crazed and hearing voices, but because you’re ‘hearing His voice.’
3. Faith goes forward without knowing tomorrow.
Imagine stopping Abraham’s caravan 50 miles out of Ur, his hometown.
“Abraham, where are you going?”
“Don’t know, He didn’t tell me. He just said, go.”
“How will you know when you’re there?”
“Don’t know. He didn’t tell me. He just said, go this way today.”
Faith is risky. Living in faith we will certainly make mistakes. But, faith is the only way to find our true home. “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. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” – Hebrews 11:8-10
“Father of the faithful, add my name to the roster of those who lived by Your Words.
Help my ears to be turned to you, to be eagerly anticipating Your directives.
Give me courage to move out from what I know, from what is comfortable, to pursue Your plan.
You know how much I love to know the whole route in advance.
Holy Spirit, reassure me with Your powerful Presence as I just GO, even when I don’t KNOW the end.
May your Son, Jesus Christ, be honored by a life of faith I live today. Amen.”