Living by Faith
Duane Vander Klok
I want to talk to you today about, “faith.” I’m sure you have heard this word many times before, but I want to dig a little deeper. I want to look at what it is, what it isn’t, and how we can live our lives by faith.
Faith – What It Is
Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” I want to focus on the word “confidence.” It is not confidence in something, but in someone! It is a confidence in Jesus Christ and what He has done, is doing, and will do in the future. It is a confidence that He came down from heaven, was born in flesh and blood, lived perfectly, died for our sins on the cross, and rose again so that we may have an intimate relationship with God! Regardless of our past sins and mistakes, we can now “approach God with freedom and confidence,” (see Ephesians 3:12). Faith is confidence in Jesus Christ and His promises!
So how can we grow in our faith? Romans 10:17 (NKJV) says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” In other words, we grow by reading scripture every single day. Of course there are other things that help us grow like worship, prayer and meditation, but it is through reading God’s Word that our faith in Him grows exponentially!
Have you ever been reading a familiar scripture, and suddenly the words that you’ve seen a dozen times jump out at you? Somehow, something is different. In that moment, a verse suddenly takes on new life, and it pierces your spirit. Hebrews 4:12 says it this way, “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
When you are reading God’s Word, it is actually reading you. It is reading whatever situation you are in and speaking to your spirit. It is correcting you. It is exposing and showing you things. It knows what you need to hear and what needs to be revealed to you in every situation.
You could think of the Bible as faith food! Why? It is because your faith will not grow without the Word of God. You grow spiritually through reading, meditating, and worshiping through His Word. This is not meant to be a once a week thing on Sunday mornings. But it is meant to be part of our daily routine.
Faith – What It Is Not
Whatever and whoever we place our faith in affects everything that we do. It is the filter we view the world through and interact with it. The problem is, sometimes we place our faith in the wrong things. It’s possible to be a believer in Christ, but place our faith in something else completely.
So often we place our faith and confidence in things of this world. Sometimes we put our confidence in money, power, the approval of others, education, etc. If we are not careful, this false confidence will become an idol that takes the place of God.
Our first reaction may be to “withdraw” from non-believers and this world in an attempt to somehow protect ourselves, but that would be placing a false confidence in our own power. Believers have never been called to separate from the world, but instead to do just the opposite. We have been called to go out INTO the world. We are called to proclaim the Good News and to live out the confidence we have found in Jesus Christ! Paul writes it this way, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2).
The goal of our confidence in Jesus Christ is not to simply cohabitate with the world, but to be a light within it. The goal is to glorify God and expand His Kingdom.
Faith – Eternal Perspective
Sometimes we believe the lie that life is supposed to be happy, carefree, and painless simply because we have radical faith in God. However, what we find in scripture is almost the complete opposite. We find that all of the disciples were killed, imprisoned, or tortured for their faith in Jesus Christ. We are even told that we, as believers, will likely be mocked and hated by this world. Jesus tells His disciples this in Matthew 10:22, “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Faith is not easy.
Here’s the thing: we live in a broken and fallen world where sin, death and the enemy are waging war against God and anyone who puts their faith in Him. Despite that, we have confidence in the promise that Jesus Christ will one day return, bringing with Him a new heaven and a new earth!
Faith thrives in discomfort, and our response to hold firm to our faith affects more than just ourselves. The tests that we face become our testimonies. The trials and tribulations that we have faced, currently face, and will face are meant to become tools of encouragement for others who face similar trials. James 1:2-4 says it this way, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Our faith is not a guarantee or ticket to happiness and stress-free days in this life. Look at Jesus. He is called the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, NKJV). He was blameless and perfect, but was crucified for our sins. And we are called to find comfort in His promises because they are so much more than the world has to offer.
Through Him, we are guaranteed to have redemption and restoration to the Creator of all things, eternal salvation rather than eternal suffering in hell, and an inheritance that we cannot comprehend or imagine in this life. If you ask me, this eternal perspective makes the trials and tribulations of this world grow strangely dim.
Life is short. The older we get, the more perspective we gain through our experiences. The older we get, the faster time seems to go. James 4:14 (NKJV) says it this way, “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” That is why the Bible tells us that TODAY, not tomorrow or next week, but TODAY is the day of Salvation. TODAY is the day to take hold of your faith, your confidence, in Jesus Christ.
You will end up wherever the path you are on leads. If it is on a road of sin, addiction or bondage, then you will likely not end up where you want to go or where God wants you to be. It can be easy to put things off until tomorrow thinking, “Someday, I will serve God,” or “I will get right with God when…” but TODAY is the day of Salvation.
This is the one and only life that we have. TODAY is the day to repent, the day to believe in God, and the day to serve Him. Complacency, doubt and fear of the unknown will attempt to move your heart off target from Him, but God is here TODAY. He is greater than anything we can ever know or imagine. He can redeem your life no matter how “messed up” you think it is!
We all must make the choice to place our confidence in Him. We can live by faith TODAY and every day!
As you have been reading, if you have recognized that you are not right with God or that you have no idea where you stand with Him, and you are saying, “I want to be forgiven, I want to be right with God, I want Jesus to be my Savior and my Lord,” then bow your head and pray these words from your heart:
“Oh God, I believe that Jesus died on the cross, and I believe His blood paid for my sins. I believe He rose again, and I give Him all of my heart and all of my life. I hold nothing back. I receive Him as my Lord, and I thank you that I’m forgiven, that I’m a part of your family, and I’m on my way to heaven and am part of your eternal Kingdom. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
All scriptures are quoted from the New International Version of the Bible, unless otherwise stated.