My last post was titled, “Faith Does Not Move God’s Hand.” I believe what I stated in that article is crucial to understanding and experiencing a living relationship with God. But, if faith doesn’t move the hand of God, what does faith do? In this post I will talk about two of faith’s actions:
- Faith rejoices
- Faith obeys
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The unfortunate misunderstanding (or false hope) that many suffer from is the assumption that real faith will eliminate seasons where “the fig tree does not blossom.” But crop failure is common to everyone who does their best to live a life of faith. It’s in these seasons that one of the best uses of faith is to rejoice in the Lord. Habakkuk’s attitude is great instruction and encouragement for all of us. He says, “I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Let me explain what Habakkuk didn’t say. He didn’t say, “I will do my best to be happy.” His focus was not to pretend to be joyful. His aim was fixing His inner eye on the character of God as His Savior. There is a major difference between trying to be joyful in the middle of hard circumstances and joy that results from focusing on God as your Savior regardless of circumstances.
Again I am reminded of Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him…” We seem to be trained by our culture to trust in ourselves. Pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps is deeply embedded in our understanding of what it means to be responsible and successful. Unfortunately, that thinking has made it’s way into our spiritual training.
I am not saying that we don’t have personal responsibility. But my question and challenge is in what the heart of that responsibility is to be. Jesus disciples asked (John 26:27-28) about their responsibility in doing the works of God. He told them, “Believe in the One that God has sent.”
Paul told Timothy (I Tim. 6:12) to “fight the good fight of faith.” That fight is won and lost emotionally on the battlefield of mental imaginations. It’s a fight. But it’s a good fight.
What is the second thing that faith does? It obeys. It obeys the stirrings of the Word of God in one’s heart. Faith responds and acts on the voice of the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures, inner nudges, impressions, and any number of other ways He “gets personal” with you.
This “step” shouldn’t be as difficult to explain and understand as it often is. I believe that one of the primary reasons is because the average Christian, today, has very little experience with a truly personal relationship with Jesus within. So many Christians now days are trying to “act out” the latest teaching that’s promised to make them successful if followed. Teachings are profitable if true, but these counsels and instructions are meant by God to be guidelines to help give His children encouragement and focus for their personal walk.
Obeying the Word of God is an art, not a science. If it were a science, then all we would have to do is step one, two, three, and success would be guaranteed. (And btw…that’s exactly how many modern day American believers are trying and failing to do it…) But then everyone’s faith experience would look exactly like everyone else’s. Life with God is intended, I believe, as an art form. According to the Apostle Paul we are His workmanship. The word workmanship literally means, “poem.” (art form).
I don’t claim to have nearly all the answers for you, my reader, as it relates to your personal walk of faith. But, I do believe the two actions I’ve written about in this post are important guides to help you discover what a life of faith truly is. Only you can answer that for sure.