- Believing in God, Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit… and
- Obeying His will, the Spirit of the Law… and
- Willingly following God wherever He would lead us… and
- Complete trusting in God… and
- Giving up our own free will.
Believing in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is the first step in a journey of faith. It takes a lot of study and immersion in the Bible, learning the language of love and faithfulness and allegiance to the ways of God. It is the beginning, the initiation of the believer. Most of all it involves a commitment to learn how to be in God’s will.
The second step is to obey is His laws, the Ten Commandments, and to grow into the spirit of the law, as Jesus taught. We are to obey the first four commandments, as Jesus put it, to love God with all of ourselves, heart, mind, soul and strength. In other words, to put God first above everything, to have no graven images, to keep the Sabbath, to not misuse the name of God.
Then we are to honor our parents. We are not to murder, commit adultery, steal, lie about your neighbor or covet anything that belongs to your neighbor. We are to live in gratitude for all that we have been given in our lives. As we grow in our understanding of the spirit of the law, we understand that God comes first in everything, that we are to honor our parents and to do no harm to anyone, be they friends or neighbors, the outcast, the alien, the marginalized, the enemy, no harm to anyone!
- Follow His “still small voice”
Thirdly, we are to willingly follow God’s “still, small voice” wherever it leads us. And, step by step, He will lead us to give up all the personal issues that stand between us and God. He will lead us, again step by step, into our purpose and the fulfillment of our lives. So, in everything in our lives, we are to look to God for inspiration and direction. It may happen in the reverse of what I have described: He may reveal our purpose and as we work at that, we discover all the ways we are separate from God. Either way we are to give up all that stands between us and God for His healing and transformation.
As we follow His will for us, we will see that we can totally trust in our God and in His creation of us and in who He wants us to become. Whatever comes into our lives, we will trust that it will benefit us, even when we can’t see that possibility. In big things and small we will trust Him, trust Him to be with us, to support and sustain us, to love and forgive us, to provide whatever we need. That’s the fourth step in our faith journey.
- Trust in God
Fourthly, as we follow God’s leading, as we see what He unfolds in our lives, as we gain our own experience of God and His love and forgiveness for us, we begin to really trust Him in all that He does for us and in the world.
- Align our will with God’s will
Lastly, we willingly align our will with God’s, because of our experience of His presence in our lives, of His providence for us, because of the complete trust we have developed in Him. So we rest in His arms, in His kingdom, in His will.
Faith is a process of conversion from the world’s ways to God’s ways. All these steps are to be completed, but they might occur in any order. It takes a lifetime to complete, however long that lifetime is after we have first believed. It is a process of perfecting our love for God without the expectation that we will be perfect so long as we live in our human bodies here on this earth.
Questions to ponder over the week: How would I describe my faith in God? What steps would it entail to be fulfilled? If I took each of the five points above and assigned them a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being the highest, where would I end up on each of the five points?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who believe, obey, follow, trust and align our will with God’s will. May we be true to God, faithful in all things.