Fashioned by God: Living By Faith
“16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:16-18 NLT)
Last week we talked about fear. We agreed that overcoming fear is possible. So now let’s talk about how to walk that out in everyday life. In Romans 12, Paul tells us that every believer has been given a measure of faith, and as we will read in a little bit, Jesus tells us that even if we have a tiny bit of faith, we can move mountains. But first, let’s look at Matthew chapter 8.
“24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ 26 Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:24-26 NLT)
Jesus basically tells His disciples that their faith was too small, and implies that fear and faith are opposites. Now read what Jesus says a few chapters later.
“‘You don’t have enough faith,’ Jesus told them. ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.’” (Matthew 17:20 NLT)
Twice Jesus tells the disciples that they do not have enough faith. Why would Jesus say that we only need a little faith, but then tell the disciples that they had too little faith? I submit to you that the secret to mountain-moving faith lies in the basic concept of love, not in an amount or a quantity.
Let’s look at Matthew 8 a little closer. Jesus implies that the only way to combat fear is through faith. The bible is also clear that faith is imperative for a believer. You probably already know that it is impossible to be a God-pleaser without it.
“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NLT)
But what is faith? The bible doesn’t hold back on the answer to that question either. It’s an inner visual of our hope, the proof of those things we desire, even though we cannot yet see them with our natural eyes.
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)
Remember last week when we talked about how fear is the dreaded feeling that comes with the fact that we are walking into the unknown; that it’s a human emotion that you feel about something that has not happened? So here is where it gets interesting. The very definition of faith implies that we trust and believe in something that we can’t see. Therefore, both fear and faith are based on the unknown. So you just need to choose which unknown you are going to put your faith and trust in. Which unknown you will bank your life on, your reputation on, your relationships on: especially your relationship with the One who created you.
You see, childlike faith demands that you trust the love of your heavenly Father to the point that you will jump into his arms with joy and unbridled, reckless abandon, even if you can’t swim. Have you ever seen a toddler giggle and rejoice with delight when her Daddy opens his arms as he stands in the swimming pool and tells her to jump? She will close her eyes with delight, laugh and jump into his arms. Why? Because she is 100% convinced that her Daddy will catch her, even if she has never jumped into a body of water before. And why is that? Would she jump into the open arms of a stranger standing in a pool? No, most likely not. She jumps into her Father’s arms because she knows he loves her. Her confidence in his love is immovable. She knows that he is going to catch her because she knows him. And why do you think she closes her eyes? She trusts her Daddy to the point that she does not need to see what’s going on with the water, how he catches her or even what other people are doing around her. She closes her eyes to focus on the delight that she is receiving in being in the presence with the one she loves.
You have got to know the character of the Father. You must be so convinced of His relentless love for you that you are unshakable and immovable, even in the face of giant waves and pelting water. When you delight more in being in His presence than seeing what’s going on around you, you can begin to once again possess the childlike faith that all believers want to demonstrate, but most of the time fall grossly short.
Our key verse tells us that fear cannot coexist with perfect love. It is impossible. It has never happened, and it never will. Our passage continues to remind us that if fear is present, it is for only one reason: it is because we have not yet fully recognized, understood or accepted God’s love, that is of course, perfect. 100% perfect. Not almost perfect. Not perfect in most situations. But just perfect. Period.
Fear is a feeling; faith is a belief. It’s the confidence that God will turn every situation around for your good because He loves you (see Romans 5:8). Because He knew you before you were born (see Jeremiah 1:5). Because He chose you before the foundation of the world (see Ephesians 1:4). Because He has an amazing plan for you that He wrote down in a book even before He created your physical body (see Psalm 139:16). Because He has given you a God-ordained purpose that is more valuable than your day-to-day schedule or daily agenda (see Psalm 57:2; 138:8).
Remember what Paul says in Romans?
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT)
All things. Everything. Even stormy weather and splashing water that gets everything around it soaking wet. Even that difficult situation that you are currently facing. Take your eyes off of the waves and jump into the arms of the Father, who is waiting for you to join Him with reckless abandon. Choose to abide with Him. Resolve to live in His presence.
Pray with me.
Daddy, thank you that you have never left me and You never will. I am confident in Your never ending love for me and Your lovingkindness. Thank You that You love me, know me, chose me and gave me a plan and a purpose. I want to trust you with reckless abandon. I choose to go all in and jump into Your presence and live there. I resolve to take my eyes off the water and focus on You. Remind me to look to You again when I fail You and fall short of Your glory. In the miraculous name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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