Most of us confuse faith with a plan. In other words, we have faith that our plan is foolproof and will work, leaving little margin for faith from the very beginning. With a plan, we use logic and reason and get all our ducks in a row. We then have faith that our plan will happen…but seldom do we plan to have faith in the process from the very beginning. With true faith, we don’t know all the specifics from a human perspective, but our plan includes a trust and belief that God’s got it and will eventually reveal it.
In reading through Hebrews Chapter 11, we see over and over the words “By Faith…” By Faith… Abraham, Moses, Noah, Isaac, Jacob acted in obedience to something God had called them to do. In each of these situations and in countless others in scripture, we see a similar pattern. To test to see if it’s an act of faith, here are four steps to take.
1. Believe when you don’t see it. We must be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Faith is trusting God and is seeing the invisible with spiritual lenses.
2. Obey when you don’t understand it. Too often, we need to understand everything and then we “obey” our limited understanding of it. This is the complete opposite behavior of true faith. We must obey first, trusting the understanding will follow. Because faith always involves risks, God desires for us to trust Him first.
3. Persevere when you don’t feel like it. The waiting period to see what God will do becomes very hard at times. However, it’s true that growth occurs when we live our lives by commitments rather than by emotions and feelings.
4. Thank God before you receive it. We must be confident enough in God and His Promises that we can thank Him in advance, even before it becomes a reality.
When our plan succeeds, we are seen, esteemed and glorified. When faith is lived out, God is seen, esteemed and glorified…and people say, “Wow, only God could’ve made that happen!” Amen.
Jocelyn and I recently shared the above teaching at The Church at Carter’s Orchard in Dover. Here is a link to the complete message: http://www.cartersorchard.com/blog/files/podcast_69.mp3