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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Are You Living by Faith? (And Why That’s Important)

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Living by Faith

Faith means trusting all that God promises to do for us in Christ.

And since we are called to live by faith, this means everything we do should involve conscious trust in God’s promises.

This is important, because ”without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Hebrews 11:6), and because ”whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

But Why?

Why is anything that’s not from faith sinful and displeasing to God?

What helps me understand this is to see that we are always trusting something to satisfy us — either God as revealed in Jesus, or something else.

So if we are not trusting God to satisfy us, then we are trusting something else to satisfy us – which is idolatry.

Not only that, only God operates on the basis of mercy, which means we can’t manipulate, obligate, or earn anything from him. All we can do is humbly trust him to give us what we need.

But anything else we trust operates on the basis of merit, which means we see ourselves as earning or deserving what we need — which is pride.

Am I Writing by Faith?

For example, right now I am writing. Think of how I am humbled and free from idolatry if, while I write, I am consciously relying on Christ’s undeserved mercy to –

  • Pay for my sins and clothe me with his righteousness so I am assured of his forgiveness and his help,
  • Energize me (I did not get much sleep last night),
  • Give me the wisdom I need,
  • Reward me with so much undeserved joy in him that the work of writing is worth it.

But think of how idolatrous and self-reliant it is if , instead of humbly relying on Christ’s mercy —

  • I just pushed myself to work hard,
  • Relying on my own abilities,
  • Motivated by my desire to impress other people,
  • Without consciously depending on Christ for anything.

Huge difference.

Are We Living by Faith?

So how can we tell if we are living by faith?

It’s not –

  • Because we believe Jesus died to pay for our sin (faith is not just agreeing with what the Bible teaches).
  • Because we are not lying or cheating or stealing (the Pharisees didn’t, either).
  • Because this morning we read the Bible (that’s good; but what is my heart doing now?).
  • Because we are doing what God wants us to do (faith is not just what we are doing, but what we are trusting).

So how can we tell? It’s because right now we are —

  • Consciously relying on Christ’s shed blood and perfect righteousness as the only reason God can fulfill his promises to us.
  • Decisively turning our hearts from whatever else we might trust to satisfy us, and trusting Christ alone to satisfy us in himself.
  • Intentionally relying on Christ to strengthen, guide, help, and provide everything we need to have the greatest joy in him now and forever.

What This Shows

This shows how often I am not living by faith in Christ, which means that at those moments I am proudly, self-reliantly, and sinfully living by faith in something else.  Ouch.

So here’s what I am doing to grow in living by faith —

  • I am trusting Christ’s death to cover all those times that I did not live by faith, which assures me of God’s love and help.
  • I am asking God to crush my prideful self-reliance, and increase my humble faith in him.
  • I am praying over verses showing that I can do nothing (John 15: 4; 1 Corinthians 4:8; 15:10).
  • I am praying over verses showing the sin of not living by faith in Christ (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 14:23; Hebrews 11:6)
  • I am regularly checking my heart, to see when I am and am not consciously trusting Christ.
  • When I am not, I confess this as sin, and intentionally turn my heart back to Christ.
  • When I am, I thank him that his grace is changing me, and I seek to keep my heart set on trusting him.

Join me.

Questions? Comments?

I’d love to hear them, although I might not be able to respond.  Leave a reply below — thanks.

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Category: Strengthening Your Faith

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6 Responses

  1. Lisa says:

    Excellent reminders and teaching tools! Definitely encourages our walk!
    Thank you!

  2. Shannon says:

    Hi Steve I just joined the site today after reading some of the comments and I really needed this, some days I find myself discouraged and my faith not where it should be, though I should have all the faith in the world, considering all that GOD has brought me through. these are definitely excellent reminders, something that I really need at this time. Thank you and GOD bless

  3. Arold says:

    I think that one of the greatest mistakes that believer might make is going forth with their own alternatives when what they’ve been expecting from God isn’t fulfilled at their desired time frame. Living by faith isn’t an easy undertaking because there will be time in which things will look terrible humanly speaking, but faith impels us to look beyond life’s storms with a strong sense of confidence that God is not only able to turn things around but actively working on our behalf even if we don’t see any visible manifestations. Living by faith simple means to look at life’s challenges through the lens of God’s divine viewpoint.

  4. Steve says:

    Thanks Steve

    Personally, I believe slightly differently.

    Faith (for me) comes down to a simple, clear proposition: to fully believe that Jesus is God. And if you believe this one basic proposition – everything else follows.

    For instance, how can anyone possibly trust Jesus if they aren’t convinced in their heart that he is God? Why would you commit your whole being to obeying his words if you just thought Jesus was just “some enlightened guy”.

    Articles like this are well intentioned. But to me, they put the cart before the horse.

    If anyone truly believes Jesus is God, then they will naturally have no difficulty whatsoever believing and obeying his word. His words will be taken on face value – he is God afterall! By definition – if you believe Jesus is God – you will trust what he says.

    So when Jesus says (for instance) just a single line such as “I will be your strength, I will never forsake you” you can see why a believer (that Jesus is God) is energised and joyous.

    For a half hearted believer, they are not life changing words at all – no matter how hard you try to believe them. It comes down to belief in Jesus being God.

    Jesus suggested this in John 6:29 when asked what we are supposed to do: “This is the work of God: Believe in the one he has sent”.
    Everything follows from that. You can’t trust in someone you fundamentally don’t believe in. Conversely, if you believe – then everything else follows.

    My thoughts only….

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