I hear people say all the time that you just need to “have faith.” But what does that mean? And more importantly, why does it matter?
If properly applied, faith can be a powerful force, but many people don’t understand it. Some people think that it is just repeating the same statements over and over to yourself. While that may improve their mental outlook, that’s not faith. Others think that it is the mental acceptance of a fact. But knowing about Jesus is not the same thing as believing in Jesus. And there are others who keep their faith in the closet of their life and don’t bring it out except for show on Sunday mornings. That’s not faith; that’s compartmentalization.
Faith will be helpful to you when it’s incorporated into the totality of your life. When it shows up in every part of your life, you can get the most out of your faith. Here’s what it looks like to put action to your faith.
When reading the scriptural accounts of the heroes of the faith, it’s easy to lose the most important lessons. I know I have read all of the biblical narratives at least ten or twelve times. But there are many things that I missed because I wasn’t looking for them. And neither was I clued in to appreciate them.
The Scriptures teach a lot without directly saying it. Much of the stuff worth picking up from the biblical accounts is implied. Readers have to be willing to go a little deeper, using information and experiences that everyone can relate to, in order to process the lessons of Scripture.
Here are three important points for looking at the people in these historical accounts.
Because you are a leader, you are a spiritual target. You have people depending on you to do the right thing. And the enemy of your soul wants to take you down.
Pastors are leaders with big targets on their backs. But business leaders have targets on their backs too. And parents especially have targets on their backs. Because all these leaders carry the responsibility of leading and caring for those in their charge.
It is imperative to watch out for how you can be targeted by the enemy of your soul. Here are some warning signs from James 1:14 to help you handle being a spiritual target.
The source of your spiritual health is your thoughts. The thoughts that enter your head will either lift you up or bring you down. So the key to your spiritual health is intentional thinking.
Many people do not consider their ways. They do not take inventory of their thoughts. And therefore reap the consequences of what Socrates called an “unexamined life.”
Romans 12:2 says to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Here’s how you can take that verse to heart and improve your spiritual health through your intentional thinking.
If you have achieved success in your business, then that should be commended. As Ecclesiastes 5:19 says, it is the gift of God when you can rejoice in your labor and take your portion as a result of attaining riches and wealth. Therefore, you should not feel like an impostor.
God knows exactly who you are—and who you are not. If you have been successful, then it is fine to acknowledge that God has blessed your efforts. But it is not good to put on a false humility. Neither is it good to believe that you had nothing to do with your success.
Don’t give into thinking you’re a fraud. Here are three DON’Ts to remember when you think you are an impostor.
There will be times that you feel you can do nothing right. There will be times you will feel that you can’t get your spiritual life on track. You’ll feel at times that you are poisoning the relationships you have with others. You will feel at times that you can’t get a handle on the sins that you commit. But that doesn’t mean God is finished with you. Because you are not disqualified to serve God.
When you continue to stumble in specific areas of your life, you can still be used by God. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. You should NOT be content to sin and cause havoc in your life and in your relationships. It is important to admit the sin, repent of it, hate the sin, and put it away from you. But it is OK if you still wrestle with sin in your life. The key is that you keep wrestling.
The enemy of your soul will try to convince you that you are useless to God. The enemy of your soul will try to tell you that you might as well give up and give into the temptation. But you are not disqualified to serve God because of your sin. It’s how you handle it that matters.
Here are some heroes of the faith from Scripture who had sin issues—but God used them nonetheless because they were not disqualified to serve Him.
Have you ever marveled at how some people can persevere through anything? They seem to be able to plow through any obstacle to achieve their goals. Ever wondered why? It’s because they have the power of courageous commitment.
I know some people have a self-confidence that borders on cockiness. But the power of courageous commitment doesn’t have to be based on our own sense of self-importance. In fact, it should be grounded on a firm belief of who God is and what He has called you to do.
Here are some examples from Scripture to show that you too can appropriate the power of courageous commitment.
Soon after my book Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew became a #1 best seller in three categories, my thinking went into a downward spiral. I developed a defeatist attitude about the book, about myself, and about life. After about a day of wallowing in this funk, I realized I had to give myself a talking-to. Because I had to remind myself what was true. I had to remind myself that the book had 30 endorsements. I had to tell myself it received 18 glowing reviews. And I had to say out loud to myself that I thought it was a good book. Because I knew that I can’t believe everything I think.
There will be times that you will have similar situations. You will feel beat down by circumstances—and sometimes you won’t even know why. You will get negative thought patterns stuck in continuous loop and you won’t know how to get out of it. That’s why you can’t believe everything you think.
Because those defeatist days will come, it’s important to know when they will come. Using biblical accounts as illustrations, here are some times to watch out for “stinking thinking.” Because you can’t believe everything you think.
Most people don’t discover God’s vision for their lives. Even if they did discover what God’s vision for their life was, they wouldn’t believe that they could do it. As a result, most people are frustrated with their lives. Because they don’t live up to their God-given potential.
Here’s a simple exercise. Answer the following questions:
- Do you believe that God is all powerful?
- Do you believe that God can use any instrument to accomplish his purposes?
- If God called you to achieve something you thought impossible, could you accomplish it?
That’s why you need to see yourself as God sees you. Here’s how you can find out God’s vision for your life, so you can live up to your God-given potential.
It’s important to have core values of truth and mercy. Living those values will bring about a godly culture in your home or workplace. But how does that work practically? Are there situations when those core values conflict?
God calls you to stand for truth, but also to exemplify mercy (Micah 6:8). And He does not want you to choose one over the other.
Here’s a scriptural perspective of how truth and mercy work together, to demonstrate you do not have to have these core values conflict.