What does your faith look like? Do you have any? And if so, where have you placed it? In yourself? In financial security? The government? Good deeds? Church attendance? False gods? Grandma’s faith? Ephesians 2:4–9 says we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is not anything we produce ourselves or achieve by doing good works. It is a gift of God. Faith comes through the grace of Jesus Christ. He is the author and finisher of faith.1
Once we have placed our faith in Him, how do we then use that faith in our lives? Is it fiercely focused, distracted by deterrents, hanging on by a thread, or put up on the shelf? Faith is made for a day-by-day, moment-by-moment experience. It keeps our eyes looking forward in hope and our hearts reaching forward to God.
When we are distracted, we are chasing our own desires, fretting about world events, seeking after beauty and longevity, and trying to gain fame and fortune. We are looking for bigger and better, more and more, greener grass, and no suffering. We become selfish and insatiable, and we become misdirected and apathetic about true faith.
On the other hand, when our faith is focused, it is a faithful faith. This kind of faith withstands the test of time, the stormy gales, the fires and floods. It says God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. It is calm and collected, peaceful and patient, tried and true, strong and sure, ready and real. Even though it is battle-scarred, it is beautiful. It is built with grit. It is not overwhelmed or overflown. It is not downtrodden or despairing. It is not helpless or hopeless. It presses on when it is pressed down. It rises up when it is laid low. It pushes forward while being pulled back. With faithful faith, we are more than conquerors. God’s grace is sufficient. He gives peace that passes understanding. He loves His own with an everlasting love. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Faithful faith is unshakable, persevering, enduring, stalwart, steadfast, and vested.
Faithful faith is not like deterred faith that is snatched away by lies, choked by cares, deceived, temporary, and based on favorable circumstances. Faithful faith is not a fair-weather friend. It sticks it out through the difficulties, the ugly times, the dark nights, and the cold winters. Faithful faith is tried in the furnace and found genuine.
This sounds like being perfect, doesn’t it? Well, none of us are perfect. So, what then? What if we have failed? What if we have set our faith aside? What if we have disowned it? We have plenty of examples to look at of people who have done this and what the outcomes were. The apostle Peter claimed he would always be faithful to Christ, yet, he messed up—big time. He denied Christ. But then, he came back; and then, he went forward. David failed, multiple times. Then he repented, received forgiveness, and moved forward. The apostle Paul said he struggled with his flesh fighting against the Spirit, but he continued to press on, day after day, year after year. He moved forward. Yes, faithful faith moves forward after failure, moves forward in the face of fear. It moves forward forgiven and hoping for the future.
Faithful faith comes when Christ is put first. He is given preeminence, and all eyes turn to Him. Faithful faith worships through war, blesses through battle, remains courageous in calamity and chaos, perseveres, trusts, and hopes—because God is love, and He is loved.
So, hold on, my friends, no matter how dark the night, for joy comes in the morning. The day will dawn when we will see the Bright and Morning Star. Let’s be faithfully faithful to the One who is the author and finisher of our faith. Let’s turn our eyes to Him, turn our hearts to prayer, and turn our feet to godliness. Let’s determine that life will be lived in Christ alone. Our God will hear us, and His presence will be with us. We can keep believing, trusting, and moving forward. Yes, our faithful faith can keep us moving forward. Even though it may have gone through a start-and-stop cycle, it continues the journey. The road to faithfulness never ends. This God is our God forever and ever, and He will be our guide until death.2 Let’s set our hearts toward Him and determine to finish the race and keep the faith. The past is past, and we cannot change it, but we can move on forward through this day and into tomorrow.
Scary and shaky times will come. How will we respond? We can choose to go in the strength of the Lord God. Our spirits can be willing although our flesh is weak. He can help our unbelief. Moving forward is how faith works. Understanding the definition that faith is the evidence of things not seen means we have to move forward without knowing.3 But, that doesn’t matter, because we know Him, the God of the universe, the One with all power and all knowledge. We can trust Him. We can keep being faithful because He is always faithful. His faithfulness is great, and His mercies are new every morning.4 We can keep moving forward after mistakes, times of doubt, and unbelief. There is no need for us to be distracted and turn aside after vain human things which cannot satisfy us or deliver us. His mercy is available, and we can come boldly to His throne of grace for help.5
So, when the questions come, fear rises, emotions erupt, and our hearts break, may we entrust ourselves to God’s hand and God’s plan. Let’s not harden our hearts, turn our backs, set faith aside, or call it quits. And let’s not put our faith into storage until the next crisis comes along, but instead, access it day by day. Let’s allow the author and finisher of our faith to grow our faith and bring it to completion.
We can consider the great things He has done in the past and look to the future with the faith that will help us live now. David faced Goliath and won. Moses faced the Red Sea and crossed it on dry ground. Joshua faced the walls of Jericho, and they fell. Jesus faced death on the cross and triumphed over it. All of these situations looked insurmountable, but each person set his face to God, chose to do His will, and moved forward with faithful faith. And God was faithful to bring the victory.
1 See Hebrews 12:2.
2 See Psalm 48:14.
3 See Hebrews 11:1.
4 See Lamentations 3:23.
5 See Hebrews 4:16.
©Text and photo Francee Strain, May 15, 2022