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Pointers along the way #545

Applying faith
- Jacob Ninan

We need to have faith in God (Mk.11:22). This means that we believe in who He is, what He is like, what He has done for us, etc., and place our confidence in Him rather than in ourselves. When we believe there is nothing we can do to make ourselves acceptable to God and receive by faith the forgiveness for our sins which God offers to us because of His grace, that is our faith, or trust and confidence, in God in action. We need to understand that it is not enough to have faith in God, but we need to apply this faith in our daily life and appropriate all that God has promised for His children. If we say we have faith, but do not apply that faith in practical situations, God will tell us that that kind of 'faith' is dead (Jas.2:26).

One mistake we can make is to have faith in God and then expect that everything will become easy--no more temptations, trouble or problems. But we do face trouble in different ways, and then we may wonder what use our faith really was! We read in Hebrews 11 about how different people did different things by faith! In the same way, when we face difficulties in life, we also have to overcome them by applying our faith.

We cannot have just a single approach for applying faith. Sometimes God wants us to overcome our fear by looking to God and expecting Him to do something for us (Ex.14:13). If God has given us a specific promise to us in a certain situation that we don't have to do anything, as in the case of the Israelites before the Red Sea, we can believe it and just wait expectantly for God to act.

But remember that God didn't tell the Israelites to take this approach every single time. When they came to Jericho, they had to march around the city seven times and then the walls fell down. Another time the priests who were carrying the Ark had to step into the water first and then the River Jordan stopped flowing and opened a dry path for them to walk on. We also need to hear from God.

Most of our problems trouble our mind. We may wish that because we have placed our trust in God, we should be free automatically from worries, fears, lusts, jealousy, greed, etc. But the fact of life is that whenever we are troubled by anything, we need to overcome it by applying faith to that particular situation. For example, when we are fearful about the future and worry about how we can cope we can comfort ourselves by reminding our heart about God's promise to be always with us (Mt.28:20), and that if He is with us we don't have to fear anyone else (Ro.8:31). We can hold on to the promise that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability but will always provide a way out for us (1Co.10:13).

These are works resulting from faith. If we don't learn to work out our faith (Php.2:12), but assume that just because we have faith everything should be fine, we make a terrible practical mistake. Salvation is by grace, but we need to appropriate it for ourselves by acting according to our faith (Jas.2:24).


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