As Christians we must have faith, but how do we know if we have enough faith? If we don't have faith, we can't be Spirit-led. If we aren't Spirit-led, change, growth and transformation are not possible.
Faith is enough if it moves us to do what God tells us or shows us to do. Our faith in Him must overcome any fear of us taking what might feel like a risky step, kind of like Abraham did when God told him to leave his homeland. (See Heb. 11:8-9, NIV.)
Just what is this thing called faith? It is said to be the "confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see," (Heb.11:1). The Amplified Bible defines assurance as the title deed of things divinely guaranteed.
Faith Can't Be Seen
We must have complete confidence that God is leading us and the eventual outcome of where He is taking us will be for our good and His glory. We have the title deed to whatever God has already put in our hands. It is the title deed to our future.
Our faith has to move us to comprehend as a fact what we cannot actually see, touch or feel right now. We cannot experience it by our physical senses, but we trust God and have faith that what He has said will come true.
"For we walk by faith, not by sight," (2 Cor. 5:7). It wouldn't be faith if we could see it. What helps is to know that God stands outside of time and has already seen the future and knows exactly what will happen when we follow Him.
Faith and Perfection
Paul talks a lot about Abraham in Romans 4. Still, I could never understand why God call Abraham a man of faith when he failed so many times? Each time he failed, though, he recognized his mistake.
Twice he lied about Sarah being his wife. He did what Sarah wanted him to do and slept with her maid, Hagar, in order to have an heir. None of these were good decisions. Abraham saw that after the fact and learned from them.
Abraham is not our father of faith because he was perfect. He is that because at critical junctures in his life, he listened to God and followed Him.
Paul tells us in Romans 4:16-17 (NLT) that God's promise of salvation is "received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it ... if we have faith like Abraham's. For Abraham is the father of all who believe ... Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing."
Abraham's life showed this. We've already mentioned one time which was when Abraham left his homeland to go to a place God would show him. That was the beginning of God creating new things out of nothing for Abraham, who cooperated fully.
The second time was when God opened Sarah's womb at age 90, way past childbearing age. Abraham was 100 years old! (See Rom. 3:18-20.) This was definitely another new thing God did.
Sacrifice the Promise
The third time was when God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. This was Abraham's son of promise from God, yet he trusted what God had said.
Hebrews 11:19 tells us what Abraham was thinking. "Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead."
Like Abraham, when we have faith, we have to be willing to give anything up for God. This is faith shown by action. This is faith that transforms. And when God gives back what we gave up, it is a time for rejoicing!
Faith Isn't Difficult
Faith is not a difficult concept to grasp. We have faith when we sit in a chair that it will hold us. We have faith when we go to work and do what is expected, we will get a paycheck. Sometimes our faith results in a favorable outcome, and other times we fall on our behinds. It all depends on the reliability of the chair or the company for which we are working.
It's like when we follow the latest diet to a tee and have faith we will lose a certain amount of weight as promised. Nine times out of 10 this doesn't work like promised because we have faith in the rules of the plan instead of God.
When I dieted, I might lose some weight, but the issue was when I stopped following the diet and went back to normal eating. That's when I gained it all back plus more because I was following someone else's rules. I had no faith that this would work for the long haul, and I didn't want to keep following a set of complex rules.
God, Not Rules
God also doesn't want us just following a set of rules. He wants us to follow Him. That seems much more difficult than following some rules. When we follow God, it feels difficult to know exactly what to do. That's because our faith is in the rules rather than God.
We must trust God no matter what He says. Then, our faith will result in Spirit-led action. Any other action is useless.
Scripture explains it this way. "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without actions is dead," (James 2:26, NIV.)
Abraham's faith led to action. Any of his actions without direction from God would not have had the same result. We can't go out and copy Abraham's actions and be counted as faithful.
Our journeys will be different and may seem even more difficult than his. How can we see a way to pay the insurmountable amount of debt we have? How can we restore the broken relationship in our marriage, with our children, with our friends? How can we lose the mountain of weight that has attached itself to our bodies?
Faith in what God asks you to do is always the answer, but that faith must be backed by whatever action God is telling you to take. Your Spirit-led transformation journey is as close as your next step.
Let me ask you, what would it take for you to do whatever God is whispering in your heart to do right now? It's time. He's calling you. Will you have the faith to take that next step?
Find the Spirit-Led Transformation course with action steps and challenges by joining Overcomers Academy here.
For more on this topic, listen to this episode of Sweet Grace for Your Journey on Charisma Podcast Network, This Thing Called Faith.
This article first appeared on teresashieldsparker.com.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her No. 1 bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is live on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.com. She is also a Christian weight loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don't miss her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on CPN.
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