Do you believe in gravity? Do you believe in electricity?
Of course you do. So do I. And we prove our belief every time we take a step or turn on a light.
But when it comes to biblical truth and spiritual matters, our beliefs don't always translate into actions. And I confess to being as guilty of this as anyone else.
The reality is that I often fail to live in accordance with what I claim to believe.
- I claim I trust God as my heavenly Father ... then I worry.
- I say God is worthy of sacrificial service ... then I pick and choose the most convenient way to serve Him.
- Or I declare my gratitude for forgiveness found in Jesus Christ ... then I withhold forgiveness from those who have offended me.
Funny thing is, many who claim to not believe in God sometimes live as if they do!
- They ask for prayer when tragedy strikes, even though they claim to not believe.
- They express gratitude for the good things in life, but refuse to thank the giver of all good gifts.
- Or they hold to a moral code of right and wrong (for example, stealing and lying are both wrong), while denying the source of that moral code.
Many Christians surrender to fear that often keeps us from living what we claim to believe. For example, we say we trust God, but we're afraid when He works in our life for our good, the "good" will be like medicine: helpful, but it tastes terrible.
We worry God's definition of good differs from ours. We define "good" as pleasant, comfortable and convenient. But God defines good as that which accomplishes His purposes for us. And His purposes are usually related to stretching us out of our comfort zone and growing us beyond our convenience.
We say we want an eternal focus, but we're consumed with making this temporary life as comfortable as possible.
So what's the key to consistent living?
1. Start with prayer:
- Sometimes we want to change, but need the Holy Spirit's help to do it. Other times we need the Holy Spirit's help to give us even the desire to change! Ask the Lord to give you the desire and the ability to live consistent with what you claim to believe.
2. Maintain an eternal focus:
- Our broken world aches from the consequences of sin. And just as creation groans under the burden of sin (Rom. 8:22), we also groan. But I wonder if part of our groaning is because our focus causes us to behave as if this world is all there is.
- There's a better world coming. Our best life is not now. Our best life is yet to come. This world is nothing more than a glorified bus station, and we're all in transit.
3. Take a step of faith:
- Just as we manifest faith when we flip a light switch, we manifest our faith in God by placing our full confidence in Him and His promises. I can claim a chair will hold me, but never actually sit in it. Or I can place my full weight in the chair as a demonstration of faith in what I claimed.
- What "chair" is waiting for you to demonstrate your faith? Is it the chair of trust? Sacrificial giving? Service? In what area do you need to step out in faith, knowing God has already proven Himself trustworthy?
4. Do it again:
- Don't stop with one step. Take another. And another. Studies confirm it takes more than two months to form a new habit. It could take even longer, depending on the old habit you're trying to replace (Phil. 4:9).
The key is not doing it in our own strength. This is not about trying harder, working smarter and doing better. This is about depending on the Holy Spirit for the power to say no—or yes—as the situation requires. And to do it day by day, hour by hour, and sometimes even minute by minute.
Do you desire to live consistent with the faith you claim to have? It's rarely convenient. But you'll find yourself on a faith journey that will exceed your greatest expectations.
Ava Pennington is a writer, speaker and Bible teacher. She writes for nationally circulated magazines and is published in 32 anthologies, including 25 "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. She also authored Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, endorsed by Kay Arthur. Learn more at avawrites.com.
This article originally appeared at avawrites.com.
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