Chapter 7: You can’t live beyond what you believe

Walking by faith is choosing to live based on what you believe in God’s Word, rather than by the things you can see, feel, hear, smell, and taste. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:7, we walk by faith and not by sight.

One of the problems we have with the words faith and believe in America is that we have turned them largely into intellectual words. The words, more often than not describe intellectual agreement. Do you believe that there are 50 states in America? Yes. But there is no implication to that belief. I can believe that all I want and it really does not move me to action in any way.

In God’s Word, faith is active. If you have biblical faith, the results are going to be evident. Read James 2:14-26. James goes so far to say that if your faith doesn’t produce corresponding works, you have a dead faith. Biblical faith is where you believe something to the extent that it becomes a conviction. You know you are walking by faith when the truth of God’s Word moves you to action.

If you are going to grow in your faith, you must grow in your knowledge of and understanding of God’s Word. This is where study, memorization, and meditation come in. You can’t believe something if you don’t know it. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. (Note: hearing is used because they didn’t have copies of God’s word for everyone, so much of the learning was by hearing the reading of the word of God).

But learning the truth of God’s word is only the first step. As you apply and obey God’s Word, you will experience the truth of God’s Word and your faith will grow. God’s Word will become a driving force in your life. You will see that your faith will empower you, guide you, and strengthen you as you walk through life.

If all you do is read God’s word for an emotional fix (kind of like a thought for the day), I don’t think you will see powerful, deep change in your life.

So where have you placed your faith? In whom and on what truth are you basing your life? Here’s an exercise that will clarify things for you. It will take a little while, but it will be worth the effort.

Step1

Take a few moments, quiet your heart, and then write out the deepest convictions of your life. What are the things that you deeply believe and to which you have committed your life. Be honest. If you believe money will ultimately bring you happiness and significance, write that down. Writing what you think you should believe won’t really help you. For the sake of this exercise, limit yourself to 8 to 10 key statements. Don’t be afraid to edit and remove a statement if you discover you need to add something more important.

To help you get started, here is a partial list of the truths of God’s word on which I am building my life. They don’t all drive my life completely, but it is honestly where I am headed. I list these simply to give you an idea of how to proceed. Give yourself time to think through your own faith base.

  • The Bible is the complete Word of God. It is God’s revelation of himself, what he desires of us, the blessings of walking with him and the consequences of rejecting him. If I want to know my Creator, the Bible is the clearest path. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • God created the heavens and the earth and he created people in his image. The most important thing about us is not how we relate to each other, it’s how we relate to God, because he is our creator and he created us for him. I believe every human being is accountable to God, because God is our creator. (Genesis 1-2)
  • Every person has sinned against God. The evil and suffering that I see in this world is a direct consequence of our rebellion against God. (Genesis 3:1-18, Romans 1-3)
  • God is “triune” in nature. He is one God, but he subsists in three persons. God so loved the world that he sent Jesus, the son to live a perfect life, die as a sacrifice for my sins, and rise from the dead thereby proving that he is the son of God and the future judge of all mankind. (Deuteronomy 6:4, John 1:1-4, 3:16)
  • The only way that any human can ever come in to a relationship with God and experience his mercy and grace is by placing his faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Eternal life is not a reward for a good life here on earth; it is a free gift of God’s grace (John 14:6, Romans 6:23)
  • Jesus has given me the task and the privilege of telling others the good news that they can experience forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Jesus Christ. No matter what I do for a vocation, being a light for Jesus Christ and making disciples of those who believe is my calling. (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20)
  • There is a heaven and there is a hell. Both are eternal and how we live on this life determines where and how we will spend eternity. If a person has rejected God’s offer of forgiveness, he will stand before Jesus and be judged by the standard of God’s perfection. He will fall short and be cast in to the Lake of Fire. For me as a follower of Jesus, I will stand before him to be rewarded (or suffer loss) for the things that I’ve done as a follower of Jesus. I have eternal life, but living faithfully will bring eternal rewards that will never be lost or fade away. (Revelation 20:11-15, 21:1-5, 22:1-5)
  • My Christian Life is a daily journey to love God and those he has placed in my life, to grow to become more like him, to serve the body of Christ with my gifts and resources, and to do everything I can to help those who are lost to find God through Jesus Christ. (Matthew 5:13-16, 22:37-40; 1 Peter 4:10-11)

Those are a quick sample of my convictions. It would be really helpful for you not simply to copy mine, but to think through what you believe.

Step 2, take each of those convictions and write down the answer to this simple question:

If I truly believed this, how would my life change? (or what would be the visible results)

 As you compare your answers to your current life, you will see quickly the change that God wants your faith to produce. As you meditate on the truth of God’s Word and submit your will to the Holy Spirit, your ability to live by faith will grow! As your experience of walking by faith grows, your influence for God’s kingdom grows and that gets pretty exciting!

To stir your thinking

  • How can you build your faith?
  • What is getting in the way of a strengthening faith in your life?
  • What would be the blessing to you if you grew in your walk of faith?
  • What would be the blessing to those God has placed in your life if you grew in your walk of faith?

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