Stepping Out in Faith

It’s not the version, but the pastor of our church recently offered a definition of “faith” that I hadn’t heard before. He said “faith is an action based on a belief.”  Faith is an action. Faith is a verb. It’s not something you have, it’s something you do.

Belief is something you have, faith is something you do. You live your faith. You act on it. You move in it. Faith is a verb. A verb that’s meant to be in motion. We talk about taking a leap of faith, or walking in faith, serving in faith. In our vocabulary we acknowledge faith as an action, but I don’t think we always think of it that way. We let our faith become stagnant. Like an old dog that no longer stands by the door, leash in mouth, begging for a walk. We let our faith become sedentary. We let it relax, climb under a blanket and get cozy. We don’t push it, poke it or take it out for a ride any more.

Encounter any young Christian teenager who has just returned from church camp or a missions trip and likely their enthusiasm for Jesus and their on-fire faith is enough to make your head spin. They are on top of the mountain, on top of the world, and they are emboldened to take actions based on their belief in their Savior. Their faith fires are stoked and they believe they always will be. But as they return to school in the fall and September fades into October they get busy, their schedule fills up and suddenly their burning fire begins to wane. Their belief in God hasn’t changed, but their willingness to take actions of faith has been dampened by #allthethings. I’m not trying to pick on teenagers, this scenario happens with full grown adults all the time. #beentheredonethat.

Women that return from Christian women’s retreats. Men that go with their men’s groups on weekend warrior retreats. It happens to all of us. Our faith fires begin to grow dim and we’re not sure where to get the next piece of wood to fuel the flames.

So easily, our desire to live our faith can be turned down when the demand for our attention in the world turns up. But living your faith doesn’t require taking leaps, or journeys to far away places. Those acts of faith matter and they can do tremendous good in the world. But each of us has an opportunity every day to live our faith right where we’re at. We can grow a life that grows God’s Kingdom in the soil where we live. On the streets of our neighborhoods. At our kitchen tables.

If faith is an action based on a belief, then taking daily actions to share your belief in Jesus is the foundation. And that can look a million different ways. It might be teaching a Bible study at your church, but it might also be saying hello to the barista in the coffee shop. Extending a helping hand to the mom who is juggling kids, grocery bags and a stroller in a parking lot. Putting your faith into action in the little things is important and great preparation for life’s leaps of faith.

This week I took a big leap of faith personally and headed out on a journey across the country to interview several women for the book I’ll be writing this year. I had to laugh when my friend Natalie asked me on Thursday morning when the book was coming out. I don’t have an agent, a publisher or even a book proposal. But I have faith. Faith in the belief that God made me to be an encourager, and a story teller, and most importantly a Kingdom builder. So I’m stepping out and putting my faith in the original storyteller, the Creator of all things good and beautiful.

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"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits."

Matthew 7:15-20 ESV