One of the challenges for a follower of Jesus is a lack of action. It is easy to talk about living out the life of a follower of Jesus. We can also learn about how to live as a follower. Yet when we don’t move to live out Jesus teaching in our lives it is an epic fail of Christianity. One of our greatest oversights is we fail to grasp that a genuine relationship with Jesus produces Jesus type actions in our lives.
I never cease to be amazed that the simplest of truths in the Bible are the most profound. Take for instance this admonition, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) Let’s for the sake of discussion define “faith” as “trust.” These 8 words challenge the follower of Jesus to trust rather than live based on what we experience. Now, this is not a statement against common sense and learning from life experiences. It is a statement of God’s call on His people to trust His direction for their lives over our emotions and our physical senses. It is call to place our trust in God’s Word and God’s leading through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Our trust can be for things, on the one hand as simple giving to the Lord’s work, to on the other hand laying down our life for Him.
One of the better known passages on Faith is found in Hebrews 11. It is a chapter that highlights the practical nature of faith. It is a brief survey of the lives of some Old Testament saints and their faith in action. It opens with, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) The two words, assurance and conviction remind us of “action” component of faith.
Scholars wrestle with two possible translations for the word assurance in our passage. The first, it could be understood objectively, and translated as confidence, focus on what God has done regardless of how it impacts us. Or it is understood subjectively and translated as assurance, speaking to an individual personal confidence and trust in God’s leading. I prefer the subjective understanding because it seems to fit better in the context of the chapter. The truth is faith requires both the objective and the subjective component to be a real faith. The whole emphasis is that this assurance leads us to “Step into” action. It is a reminder that our faith is not wishful thinking, but personal confidence in God’s leading in our situation.
And that brings us to the second term, “conviction.” It is here that we see that our belief in God must result in action. The word “conviction” could also be translated as “proof.” We are reminded that a genuine faith in God results in tangible proof. This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. And in the next verse we learn that God is pleased when His people put their beliefs into action. “For by it the people of old received their commendation.” (Hebrews 11:2)
One of your greatest challenges is to put your faith into action! Maybe you are wrestling with trusting God right now. If you are, you are not alone. Yet it is only when we “Step Into Faith” that we experience God’s working in us and through us. Just read the rest of Hebrews chapter 11. So, will you “Step Into Faith?” I know that I have never been disappointed.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson