Faith is not for the faint of heart. It is no comfortable attribute we may seek to possess. It doesn’t belong scripted across a nice sign on our walls with no manifestation in our actions.
Faith is dangerous.
Faith does something.
By faith we understand (Heb. 11:3), we obey when we are called to go (Heb 11:8), we look forward to a promise (Heb. 11:10), we receive power (Heb. 11:11), we offer up what is most important to us (Heb. 11:17), we refuse the fleeting pleasures of sin (Heb. 11:24-25), we conquer kingdoms, enforce justice, obtain promises, stop the mouth of lions, quench the power of fire, escape the edge of the sword, are made strong in weakness (Heb. 11:33-34), we approach Jesus (Mark 5:27), we tell our friends about Christ (John 4:39), we take Jesus at his word (John 4:50).
Faith really should be a verb. So I’ll make it one. “Faithing” is now the verb form of faith.
We see “faithing” all throughout scripture and, specifically, throughout Hebrews 11: people do things by faith.
A true faith in Jesus inspires action—faithing—even in the face of great opposition or great confusion.
In his ministry, Jesus hadn’t healed a single person, yet, a royal official (John 4:50) approached Jesus and asked him to heal his son. When Jesus said “Go, he is healed.” The man left. It takes great faith to even approach Jesus, let alone to take Jesus at his word and leave.
When the bleeding woman had endured twelve years of sickness, she approached Jesus in faith, believing that if she just touched his cloak, she would be healed.
You see, we have made faith into a piece of jewelry, a house decoration, a cool tattoo, a religion; but faith described in the Bible is daring action that goes against the direction of what seems natural and right.
That’s why the opposite of faith is not necessarily faithlessness, it is fear.
What stops us from faithing? Fear.
What if I’m wrong? What if it doesn’t work out? What if God doesn’t follow through? What if I fail? What if I lose it forever? What if it isn’t good? What will people think? Who am I to do that? What if it hurts? What if He rejects me? What if they reject me? What if I heard Him wrong? What if everything falls apart? What if I hurt someone?
Fear creeps in to choke out our faith so that it becomes a nice accessory to wear, but it never touches our thoughts or plays out in action.
So, here are three actions of faith that may seem small, but they’re the first steps in faithing.
- Read and study the Bible
It is actually a great act of faith to pick up the Bible and dedicate a good portion of your day to study it. I’m talking more than a convenient 5-minute devotional. In the midst of our hectic lives, dedicating a half hour or more to something is a big commitment.
We hear that we “should” read the Bible. Some of us may know that the Bible is “alive and active” as Hebrews 4:12 says. You may have heard that “all scripture is God-breathed” as 2 Timothy 3:16 says.
But it is an act of faith when we would give our time and energy to read it—not just every once in awhile, not just a verse or two here or there—but to actually read it, study it, engage it, and discuss it.
We engage with the uncomfortable parts of the Bible. We don’t shy away from asking questions about it to other people. We read it fully and whole-heartedly. We give it a real chance.
Maybe this needs to be your first act of faithing. Maybe you’ve been a Bible skeptic, you’ve dropped it too quickly, or you’ve never really engaged it.
Take a step of faith. Dig in. Ask someone to join you. See what God does.
2. Pray throughout your day
Praying may seem like the cop-out answer. It’s a common response when we don’t want to give away our time, money, or resources in sacrifice to other people. But prayer takes great leaps of faith when we fully engage ourselves in it.
Many of us may have some routine of prayer, and that is precisely why I’m inviting you to pray throughout your day in addition to or instead of your routine.
When we begin to pray throughout our days, we are taking a step of faith by inviting God into every aspect of our lives.
Pray as you wake up in the morning that the Lord would equip you with what you need to do his work throughout the day. Pray through interactions with people at school or work. Pray through the emotions you feel throughout the day. Ask God questions. Invite God into all moments of your day. Pray in thankfulness over the small and big things. Ask God to do unexpected things in your day. Pray scripture over your day. Ask people if you can pray for them.
This can be prayers silently to yourself. They don’t require a bowed head and folded hands. They can be out loud, in your head, or in writing. They can be with people or alone.
See what the Lord does as you take a step of faith and pray without fear or hesitation, but with great expectation.
3. Honestly share your questions and doubts about God with other people
This may be the biggest faithing you can do right now.
For whatever reason, it is extremely difficult for Christians to remove their masks of “everything is fine” and “I got this” to share what is really going on in their hearts.
We all have doubts. We all have questions. We all have fears.
What would happen if we spoke them out loud to someone we trusted?
Bringing those things to light is the first step in dispelling the darkness and loneliness they create.
Brokenness is inevitable and it lives in all of us. Share in your brokenness. Repent of your struggles. Ask for help. Present your questions. Think for yourself.
And then relentlessly pursue God in all of it.
**Bonus: 4. Make Disciples
My first three steps of faith are geared toward anyone on the journey of growing their faith. This fourth step is a bonus for those of us who are ready to leave everything behind and follow Jesus so closely that you step on the back of his shoes.
Jesus’s last words to his disciples before ascending into Heaven were a call to go and make disciples (Matthew 18:19-20). If these were his very last words, you know they must have been important.
Why didn’t Jesus just appear on the Earth and immediately die on the cross? Because the work that God had for Jesus to do had to be finished with him as a human-being lovingly investing in his own disciples.
Jesus invites us to follow him in the same way that he made disciples. He invited people to come get to know him and ask questions. He then invited them to leave everything and follow him. He spent time with these people and invested in their lives. He taught them how to continue God’s work and told them they would do greater works than he did because he was going to be with God.
Our greatest act of faith will be to take Jesus at his word and go invest our lives in others.
Whether that’s a neighbor, friend, family member, the students at your church, your kids’ friends, or all of the above. Get into their lives, invite them to come and see, invite them to leave it all to follow Jesus, and take them with you on the journey as you make more disciples.
As we take these seemingly small steps of faith, we come to see that God has bigger leaps for us than we could have imagined. All of the people of great faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 began with small steps of faith—some in the midst of great doubt and uncertainty. The difference is they continued in faith and did not let fear stop them.
What steps can you take to start faithing today?