faith in action
Are you waiting to see how things will turn out? Are there results that you are waiting on? Are you hoping to see a change in a dire situation? Is a crucial area in your life hanging in the balance?
I think most people can identify with the state of “wait and see,” but I also think people, who profess faith in Jesus Christ, do not recognize this as a state of unbelief. The children of God are people of faith, and faith is not, “wait and see.”
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
Being sure, expecting, and having full confidence is very different from the mindset of “wait and see.”
How does one live confidently in the expectation of things to come before they actually happen?
I have to say it simply, because it truly is a matter of simple faith. Child-like faith. When a parent tells a child, “I’m going to bring you a treat tonight when I come home from work,” what does that child do? He waits expectantly. Why? Because he knows what his parent said is factual. A child doesn’t reason and doubt. He doesn’t look back on past experiences or look at the checking account balance to determine if the current promise is possible. The child doesn’t wait and see if a treat will come; he knows he will have one at the end of the day.
Oh, that we could live with joyful expectation of seeing God’s Word come to pass in our lives! If only we could understand that an earthly father, although he has a sin nature, is capable of bringing something good to his child, but even more so the Father in heaven gives good things to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11)! He gives us His Holy Spirit who is always with us and in us (Luke 11:13 and John 14:17). A Spirit-led life is vital for the believer, because the Spirit teaches us all things and reminds us of everything the Lord has spoken to us through His Word (John 14:26). We liken the Spirit’s voice to the voice of the earthly father assuring his child that a treat will be in hand later that day. We, like the child who believes his father, hear the truth of God’s spoken Word and believe upon it.
The disciples had an issue with what they sensed in themselves was a lack of faith. The things Jesus was teaching them were going to be hard to incorporate into their lives. They asked Him for an increase in faith, but Jesus responded by addressing their need of exercising the current level of faith they have, even if it is only the size of a mustard seed (pretty tiny in size, by the way). Jesus said, even with faith as small as that, “…you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you” (Luke 17:6).
Jesus continues to teach but He focuses on the topic of authority and obedience. He wants His friends to understand just why the tree would be uprooted in obedience to a spoken command. He likened the scenario to a servant doing his master’s bidding. Let’s imagine the White House preparing a dinner for dignitaries. Would the president ask the chef and kitchen team to sit and eat dinner? No, he would tell them to prepare and serve the meals to himself and his guests. The White House kitchen staff would do so in obedience. Those put in place to serve the president obey his commands, and Jesus says our faith operates through our understanding of spoken words directed to things that exist to serve us. Just like the president has faith that an extraordinary meal will be served in obedience to his spoken command, so we are sure of things coming to pass as we have spoken according to the authority we have in Christ.
Authority and obedience directly relate to our understanding of how faith works.
I exist to glorify God. As a Christ-follower I do not serve any other gods; I do not practice idolatry. Therefore, I do not serve my job; my job exists to serve me with the fulfillment of purpose and provision. I do not serve money, but money exists to serve me in the advancing of the kingdom of God and in procuring the necessities of life. I do not serve my body; instead, my body exists to serve me in the spiritual, physical and mental activities I engage in as one who worships God in everything I do. Do we get the picture? These things exist to serve me so that I am able to glorify God. That puts me in authority over them, meaning that what I speak in faith according to the Word of God, they must obey and do. I don’t wait and see if they obey; they obey because they exist to serve me. However, if a wait is required before I see with my eyes what I have believed for whole-heartedly, I wait with expectation.
Faith in action: Speaking to those things that exist to serve you so that you can glorify God.
The gospel writings are replete with examples of faith in action. Like the teaching above about the mulberry tree, we observe Jesus taking that very authority over a fig tree that did not bear fruit. Because Jesus understood the tree existed to serve Him as a source of nourishment, the fact that it failed to do so warranted His declaring that it will never bear fruit again. In other words, let a tree that will actually serve man well with provision of fruit take this space and nutrients from the soil. What surprised His friend, Peter, was the discovery of a withered fig tree the next day (Mark 11:12-14, 20-21).
On one occasion a Roman centurion sought Jesus for healing of his servant. Jesus offered to go to the man’s home and heal the servant, but the centurion humbly replied he was not worthy to have Jesus as a guest in his home. However, as one who is under authority and who executes authority over those under him, the centurion explained that he understood how faith works. He knew in order to see fulfillment of authority, one only has to put it into action through the spoken command to those who exist to obey and serve. “Just say the word,”he added,” and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8). In essence, the centurion recognized that Jesus the Messiah has authority over all things, including the life of his servant.
Do we live like we believe the same? Do we truly believe that He is before all things and in Him all things have their being (Colossians 1:17)?
Read Jesus’ excited response.
“I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith… Go! It will be done just as you believed it would” (Matthew 8:10-13).
What are you believing God for in your life? Is it something that exists to serve you so that you bring glory to God? Don’t live with a “wait and see” mindset. Put faith to action by speaking to that thing with understanding of your authority over it and its expected act of obedience to you. Expect it to happen, because faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.