In my daily reading of Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: a Daily Gospel Devotional last month, I came across this passage about the true and full nature of faith:
“The belief of the heart and mind is an essential ingredient of faith, but it does not summarize all that faith is. True biblical faith is always something that you live. If your faith does not reshape your life, it is not true faith. Faith is not just intellectual assent to a body of truth. I’m afraid that’s what faith looks like in evangelical academic circles. But real faith radically rearranges your life. This is why Hebrews 11 focuses more on what people did with their lives than it does on the details of their theology. Faith is deeply theological, but it is much, much more than that.
“As the writer of Hebrews defines faith, he immediately gives three examples of how real faith in God transforms the way that you live. First, faith redirects and recaptures the worship of your heart. Second, it procures in you a heart of obedience. Third, faith causes you to submit to the calling of God. ”
I would add a fourth dimension to faith: our faith depends so much on how grateful we are to God for both the challenges and the blessings that He showers on us. What He brings to us as we follow Jesus affirms God’s role in our lives and bring us new lessons to learn about all that God is and what He is asking of us. As we see the changes in our lives, particularly the fulfilling purpose He has assigned to each of us and the increasing ability in us to express the true love of God, described in Galatians 5:22-23 as the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and humility,” we feel so much gratitude that we look forward to the gifts of the future.
We have to remember that as we follow Jesus, our own lives are spent in serving our God in whatever way He has designed us for and for the times in which we are living. And that is where a truly fulfilling life comes alive in us. Our story is no longer about us, but about the people the Lord has asked us to serve and His love for them and for us. What are their needs? And how can we help fulfill them? How can we show them the way to the fulfillment of their lives in small steps and then bigger and bigger ones? How can we truly love any person to the depths of who they are? That is what God is asking us to do with goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and humility—again the fruit of the Spirit referenced above.
When we reach this expression of our purpose, there is really nothing in us that can stop us from carrying out our purpose. For it brings us so much love and peace and joy and patience even with ourselves that we would not abandon the work we are called to do—again the fruit of the Spirit guiding and fulfilling us! God has so graciously designed who we are and what will fulfill us and He has loved and forgiven and supported us from the very beginning of our lives whether we were aware of His care for us or not. This is what His Son, Jesus Christ, has promised us and delivered to us! And that is why we have faith in God!
Questions to ponder over the week: Is your faith an active faith of following Jesus’s direction or do you just believe in God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ? Are you willing to really allow the Lord to reinvent your life to be what He had envisioned in you at your creation? Can you fully surrender to the Son of God?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who follow Jesus wherever He leads us. May we live faithfully in His will for each of us, wherever He would ask us to be and to do.
Check out my two websites: patsaidadams.com and deepeningyourfaith.com. Every blog post I have written in the last 15 years is available on these two websites, organized by topic. Don’t forget that this is my second to last post!
- I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at email@example.com and I will email it to you, free of charge.
- My latest books, “Called to Help the Poor and Needy” and “A Study Guide to the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount” are now in bookstores and on line. The first is about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need. The second is a journaling/pondering guide to Jesus’s most complete sermon.
 From the October 5th reading, entitled: Faith in God is more than believing the right things. It’s living the right way because you believe the right things. (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2014)