A tightrope walker preparing to cross Niagara Falls asked onlookers if they thought he could successfully make it across while pushing a wheelbarrow. Most said they thought he could.
Their attitude reflected their “belief ” in his abilities. The showman then added a unique challenge.
He asked the gathering crowd, “If you believe that I can make the trip, then will you get into the wheelbarrow?” Every spectator declined his invitation. They lacked the “faith” to support their belief.
A STEP BEYOND BELIEF
But Jesus also asked His followers to go even further and exercise their faith by standing firmly on His promises for eternal life ( John 14:1-6). It is not enough simply to hold beliefs about God. The real question we must ask ourselves takes us a step beyond belief, to the realm of faith.
GOD’S KIND OF FAITH
Faith is not some fluffy feeling. It is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Faith puts us in touch with God’s best for our lives. It takes hold of God’s promises, no matter what circumstances we may be facing.
Faith also requires us to take action as God directs. These actions will vary. In fact, there are as many “acts” of faith as there are people and situations. For example, the widow at Zarephath was directed by God through Elijah to take a drastic step of faith, using the last of her visible resources to feed the prophet before she received God’s blessing to sustain her and her son (1 Kings 17:7-16).
However, King Jehoshaphat was instructed simply to take up positions on the battle lines as the Lord delivered the Israelites from their enemies (2 Chronicles 20:12-22).
A FOUNDATION FOR LIFE
The Scriptures teach us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the foundation for everything else we do in life, a foundation that is built first and foremost on surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ.
This is what Jesus called being “born again” ( John 3:3). If you have not given your life to God, all you have to do is confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and the Bible says you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
THE REAL QUESTION WE MUST ASK OURSELVES TAKES US
A STEP BEYOND BELIEF,
TO THE REALM OF FAITH.
It’s so simple; a child can do it. But that’s the beauty— and the wonder—of God’s greatest gift. As Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15). Simply ask the heavenly Father for this greatest of all gifts, yield your life to Him, and you will have eternal life.
Just as we are saved through faith, God expects us to live out our lives walking by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). The daily walk of faith will lead us to grow to full maturity in Christ (1 Corinthians 14:20, Ephesians 4:14, 1 Peter 2:2), advancing His kingdom here on earth and demonstrating the good works that are the surest marks of faith ( James 2:20, 24).
We don’t have to have large quantities of faith to see God’s power at work in our lives (Luke 17:6). It is not the amount of our faith that is important, it is the object of our faith—our reliance on God—which makes the difference (Matthew 8:5-10).
BUILDING YOUR FAITH
Men and women of God who truly know Him desire to grow in their faith. Jesus’ very own disciples asked for help in this area (Luke 17:5). Here are some guidelines that can help you experience an ever-increasing walk of faith.
Examine your heart: If your faith is not as strong as you would like it to be, take an honest look at your life to discern if there is any sin which is blocking your faith (Psalm 32:1-7, Hebrews 12:1).
Once you have identified sin, confess it and begin to walk in the faith of His forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
Focus on God, not yourself: (2 Corinthians 4:18, Ephesians 1:17-18, Hebrews 12:2). One day while in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, Peter heard Jesus’ call to walk to Him on the water. Immediately, he left the fishing boat, and acting on faith he began walking on the water. When Peter took his eyes off the Lord, he began to sink (Matthew 14:25-31). If, like Peter, your own fears and the circumstances around you distract you, cry out to the Lord and ask Him to renew your faith.
Tune in, and obey! God speaks to us in a variety of ways, including His Word and the “voice” of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 30:21). As you read your Bible, pray, and fellowship with other believers, listen carefully to what the Spirit of God is saying to your heart—and then obey His voice. Remember, faith apart from works is dead ( James 2:26).
AS YOU PRAY
“Lord, I desire to know You more deeply. Forgive me for times when I have lacked faith to do Your will, and increase my faith so that I may serve You and worship You more fully. Thank You for the daily encouragement of Your Word. And please help me to walk by faith in all areas of my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
GOD’S WORD ON FAITH
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. … And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that
he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:1-2, 6 niv).
FOR FURTHER STUDY
Scripture is quoted from the ESV, except as noted.