For years I thought the Christian life began by faith, but then continued by will-power.
So if I was impatient, I would try hard to be more patient; if I was unloving, I would determine to be more loving.
Sometimes this worked. Sometimes it didn’t. But even when it did, the change was just on the outside, and didn’t last.
Faith– from start to finish
But then I discovered that the Christian life doesn’t just begin by faith — it continues by faith.
I saw this in Galatians 2:20, where Paul said he lives the Christian life “by faith” — in John 6:29, where Jesus says the work we do is to believe in Him — and in Colossians 2:6 where Paul says we walk in Christ the same way we received Him (which is by faith).
Faith — the source of everything else
I also saw this by noticing how much of the Christian life comes from faith —
Where does joy come from? Faith (Phil 1:25).
Where does peace comes from? Faith (Rom 15:13 — “believing” is the verb form of the Greek word “faith”).
How about love? From faith (Gal 5:6). Obedience? From faith (Heb 11:8; Rom 1:5).
How does God supply us with the Holy Spirit and work miracles? By faith (Gal 3:5).
How can we overcome the sinful pull of the world? By faith (I John 5:4).
And what extinguishes every one of Satan’s flaming darts? You guessed it — faith (Eph 6:16).
Just like electricity
Faith powers everything in the Christian life, like electricity powers every appliance in your home.
If there’s a neighborhood power outage and your TV won’t turn on, it won’t help to open the back of the TV to tinker with the wires — that’s not the problem. The problem is there’s no electricity. To get the TV working you need to restore the electricity.
Same with the Christian life. What powers every part of the Christian life is faith. So when there’s a lack of joy or obedience or love, the problem is with my faith. The solution is to strengthen my faith.
But this only works if we understand what faith is.
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(The picture is from everystockphoto.com.)