By Jeff Keaton
The concept of living by faith in God is a common one among Christians.
At the core of cardinal Christian doctrine is the belief that we are saved by faith in Christ alone and that the Christian life consists of trusting God enough to obey Him in our daily lives. We can’t turn the TV or radio on to Christian channels for five minutes without hearing someone talk about faith. This is all good because the Bible consistently talks about the importance of faith in God if we want to reach our spiritual potential. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Why is it impossible to please God without faith? Because without faith in God we will never obey Him when it costs us or when we can’t see how things will turn out.
I would dare say that most evangelical Christians would agree with all that I have written so far and would agree that the life of faith is absolutely necessary if we want to live a dynamic and successful Christian life. However, believing in these concepts and practicing them are two totally different things. It is my humble observation that very few Christians actually live by faith and even fewer Christian organizations live by faith.
The evidence of this assumption is abundant for us to see. I have consistently noted the surveys that say the average American Christian only gives 2 percent to 3 percent of their income to a Christian ministry. This one baffles me. If we don’t have enough faith to pay a tithe of our income, do we have any faith at all? Do we believe Matthew 6:33?
Also, when it comes to churches and Christian organizations, how many do you know that actually operate by faith? One pastor recently told me that in the several years he pastored a certain church he didn’t think that church ever did anything that actually required God’s help or intervention. Another pastor told me recently of a board member who could not believe that his 100 member church could ever reach 150. As they were talking about the need to build a larger sanctuary this board member said, “I don’t think we could ever get 150 people to drive to our country church and if we built a sanctuary to seat 150 how would we ever pay for it?” Thank God they built it and have reached almost 200 people in a couple of years.
Some people seem surprised to learn that at the church I pastor we operate what we call a faith-based budget. Each year we seek God’s leadership on what we should do and then we put it in the budget. We do not base our future ministry decisions upon how much money we took in last year. We simply do our best to determine God’s will and then we do it. He has always paid our bills!
As I have been learning more and more about what it means to walk by faith my heart and mind have been drawn to some of the great men and women of faith found in the Bible.
Recently I examined the life of Moses and here is what I discovered.
I. Moses’ Call to a Life of Faith
This call really began before he was born. His parents had enough faith in God to save their baby boy even if it meant they were risking their own life. Remember this, “every act of faith makes possible an act of God.” Had Moses’ parents feared Pharaoh more than they feared God they would have allowed Moses to die like all other baby boys. Their faith in God gave us Moses. Moses’ call to live by faith finally became his own when he had to choose between Pharaoh’s house and God’s people. Hebrews 11 tells us that Moses chose to suffer with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. This took big time faith. Later Moses heard the most specific call of his life at the burning bush. All of his other acts of faith and obedience in life had prepared him for this one great call of a lifetime. Moses didn’t accept this call without a little kicking and screaming. However, he was God’s chosen man for the mission and God was patient with him. I have learned that God will lead us along gently and patiently on this journey of faith.
II. The Cost of Living a Life of Faith
It cost Moses everything. He had to give up His life of plenty and accept a life of poverty. He had to give up his life of pleasure for a life of pain. He had to give up his life of prestige and accept the life of a peasant. He gave up the power of being Pharaoh’s grandson and became a man of weakness on the back side of a desert.
Most of us are not enjoying the life of faith because we are simply not willing to pay the price it requires. Radical faith in God will cause us to give up everything we hold dear in order to experience this amazing life God has for us.
III. The Complications of the Life of Faith
Right after Moses received his great vision at the burning bush he must have been pumped. I can just hear him telling his wife what an awesome assignment God had given him. He marches down to Pharaoh, full of confidence, only to have his hopes dashed by a godless king. As a matter of fact, in Exodus 5:22-23 he is already questioning God’s desire and ability to fulfill the vision.
Here’s the point: From the very beginning and all the way through the journey, Moses came across one complication after another but because of His refusal to quit and God’s continued grace and help, the vision was realized. As RENEWANATION gets off the ground we need men and women who believe down deep in their hearts that this is a vision from God and who will stand with us through thick and thin to see the vision realized.
When God gives a vision, it will come under constant attack but if it is truly from God, Satan cannot stop it. We want life to be easy. We want great things to be accomplished without a fight. Learn this, nothing great has ever been accomplished without continuous challenges and complications. So it will be with RENEWANATION. But if this vision is from God, no weapon formed against it will prosper.
IV. The Conquest of a Life of Faith
In spite of all the complications, thousands of years later the whole world is still talking about Moses and what he accomplished. Why, because a life of radical faith in God produces lasting and eternal fruit.
God did exactly what He said He was going to do. He used Moses to get the Israelites to the Promised Land. The good news is: God is still doing exactly what He says He will do and when we discern His will and follow His plan, against all odds, we get to be a part of the great things God is doing on earth.
It’s one thing to talk about faith and another thing to actually live by it. As RENEWANATION and the church I currently pastor have stepped out on faith to expand our first affiliate school, it has dawned on me that faith is an action not a feeling. Right now our journey of faith consists of borrowing $2 million to build a beautiful new building for Parkway Christian Academy. We have hired a large number of new teachers in order to double their enrollment potential and we have offered scholarships to many needy children.
Do I know how we’re going to pay for all of this? No! But I know that God has called us to build a tuition-free school system and the only way we can build that is by acting and acting now.
Moses had to act long before he got to the Promised Land. He had to act long before he knew how Pharaoh would respond. He had to act when he didn’t know how he would cross the Red Sea. He had to act when he had no idea where the food and water would come from to provide for millions of people. ACTION produced by his FAITH in God allowed the vision to be accomplished.
How is your faith life? How is the faith life of your church or your school? Are you living by faith or just talking about it?
Volume 1 Issue 2 - The Renewanation Review