Faith in Action
“Fall back! I’ve got you.” I watched as my daughter caught my son in her arms as they participated in one of their favorite games: the trust fall. It hit me every time I saw it—this was faith in action. If my son did not trust that his sister would catch him, he would never have fallen backwards in the first place. And we see examples of faith in action every day. Fathers toss delighted children, transactions are completed by stores and customers through nothing but plastic cards, and pedestrians cross the roads with cars idling all around. Did you know that we too are called to act in faith in our spiritual walk?
In Hebrews 11 (the chapter in the Bible which I call the Hall of Fame of Faith), we are given example after example of those who have walked by faith. And it all starts off with one of the best definitions humanity has been given: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” So today, let’s explore stepping out in confidence by looking at three examples from scripture: Abraham’s obedience, Moses’ perseverance, and Jacob’s worship.
God called Abram (soon to be Abraham) to do something huge—and perhaps a little scary!—for him and Sarai. He told him to take all he had and move to a place he had never been. Abram would be a stranger in this foreign land, but it was a land that God had promised to give him—a land that he and his countless descendants would live in and own. So Abram did what anyone would do…he told God, “No, I’m so sorry—I am comfortable here. Everything is working so well! My occupation is set, I have a nice place to live, and I am enjoying life with my beautiful wife and my wealth.” Did he say that? No, he did not! Abram packed up everything he owned and left all that he knew to obey God’s leading. Sometimes, we are afraid of change; but when God calls us to do something, we need to get up and do it. If God gives us an opportunity to share our faith, we need to trust Him and speak! If God leads us to minister in a prison, in our neighborhood, or in our workplace, we need to follow His calling. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Abram, “was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11: 10). When we fix our eyes on Heaven, we gain hope and perspective to walk in faith every day.
As we talk about stepping outside our comfort zones, we remember that God called Moses to do something that, in the end, he was actually persecuted for. If you know a little about Moses’ life, you might remember a baby placed in a reed basket and set into a river. Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses and adopted him as a prince of Egypt. But Moses was not really Egyptian…he was an Israelite by birth. Hebrews recounts that Moses “chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” He could have had a lifestyle of a wealthy prince; but instead, he followed the Lord’s leading and worshiped God instead. He spoke out against the slavery Pharoah placed on the Israelites. Even though he faced mistreatment and persecution, he walked in faith. He persevered even when things got hard. He spoke when God told him to speak. And we can do the same! No fear should keep us from sharing the Good News of the Gospel with others. Because it is just that—Good News! And God calls us to share it in love. The enemy may try to harm us for it; but we know that Jesus, the Victor, is with us through it all.
And finally, we see the example of Jacob in worship. “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.” This seemingly small verse from Hebrews 11 may not seem as important as the other heroes talked about; however, I find it to be a powerful and life-changing example. What was significant about the end of Jacob’s life that God included it in the Hall of Fame of Faith? Well, until his last breath and as he was dying, he served Jesus by speaking words of blessing and worshiped God. For Ann and I, our fervent prayer for both our lives and our children’s lives is that even when we’re old and gray that we would continue to worship Jesus and follow Him with our whole hearts. We have this example to follow: that we can bless others by sharing the Words of life (the Gospel) until our very last breath. And like Jacob, this will be credited to us as faith.
It’s never too late to start putting our faith in action. We can walk in obedience like Abraham, persevere like Moses, and worship Jesus like Jacob. And let me encourage you to start by taking small steps. Begin praying for God to show you who He would have you share the Gospel with. Start sharing your testimony or God stories of what Christ is doing in your life to start talking about spiritual things with others. Don’t be discouraged! Continue finding ways to pray for and share the Good News with others. And finally, find time to worship God each and every day—through your actions, words, prayer time, and daily devotions. May we be ever ready to walk in faith and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
John Sorensen (Doctorate of Divinity, Knox Theological Seminary & Doctor of Humane Letters, Montreat College) is the president of Evangelism Explosion International (www.evangelismexplosion.org) and host of Share Life Today (www.sharelife.today). Sorensen has authored the books Well Done and Your Story Counts and travels the globe for Evangelism Explosion. This past year Evangelism Explosion International equipped more than 435,000 Christians worldwide to be witnesses for Christ, and saw, by the grace of God, more than 7.9 million people make a profession of faith in Jesus. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife, Ann, and he has four adult children and six grandchildren.