Having Faith That Creates Action!
As Christians, I don’t think we place enough emphasis on the action our faith should produce. We have the prayer part just fine, as long as there’s no action that goes along with it. Prayers are prayed for the right career. We beg God that a friend or family member will find Jesus. Plenty of time is spent on our knees pleading for the chains of addiction to be broken. And then, we get comfortable. We sit back and wait for God to show up and show off.
I don’t want to give the wrong impression here. As Christians, sure, we’re called to pray. Prayer is a fundamental part of our faith. It’s how we communicate with our Heavenly Father. Many of us, especially myself, could use much more prayer in our lives than there currently is. I’m simply saying if there’s no action behind your faith, if you’re not praying and going out of your way to make something change, your faith is all wrong.
Since the summer of 2013, a huge part of my prayers has been that I would be known as a “Christian” writer. That’s how all this began for me. I wanted to write something on a regular basis that would lead others to seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I went as far as telling God I wanted to be known as the C.S. Lewis of my generation.
Since then, I’ve had an extensive career in the writing industry. I’ve built a solid reputation as a sports writer, particularly in the betting industry. My freelance career includes writing in multiple industries including medicine, law, landscaping, home repair, even travel. Along the way, there have been a few people who begin following me simply because of what I’ve written about the Christian faith.
More than ever, my prayers are beginning to center around being known for inspiring others to grow closer to Christ. Here’s the thing. I could continue writing about all of the other subjects I have built a career around, and pray God would lead people to stumble across articles I’ve previously written for Christian websites. Or, I can go out of my way to make sure regardless of how busy my schedule gets, I’m still regularly writing about Jesus and the Bible.
Yes, I’m still going to need a ton of prayer asking God to bless this ministry and what we want to accomplish. But if that’s all I’m doing, nothing’s ever going to get done. Eventually, God gets tired of hearing us cry out to Him, especially when He sees we’re not doing anything about the situation ourselves. Yes, I said it. Eventually, God gets tired of hearing us cry out when we’re unwilling to do anything. Don’t believe me? It’s in the Bible.
Exodus 14:15-17 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
There’s really no other way to explain this. Moses is crying out to God to save the Israelites from the Egyptians. God asks Moses what he’s doing the crying, and tells him to take action. I have to imagine God looks at many of us and thinks the same thing. “What are you doing just sitting there crying to me? When are you finally going to do something about this?” Hasn’t anyone ever told you that, “God won’t do for you what you could do for yourself?”
Here’s what we need to keep in mind with this passage. Moses cries out to God, just as we do through prayer. God responds by giving Moses specifics on what to do. He’s to give the Israelites orders, lift his staff, raise his hand, and then the sea will be divided.
Only when Moses does this will God divide the sea so the Israelites can escape. This will happen not so the Egyptians will fear the Israelites, but so they will recognize God for who He is. Moses does the work. God provides the results and gets the recognition. As Christians, why would we expect a different equation for our prayers? There’s always something we should be doing. Not necessarily instead of praying, but the effort which accompanies our prayers.
Acting on our faith
The Christian faith wasn’t built around people sitting around and waiting for God to move. It’s built on people taking action based upon their faith in God. Now, I realize there are situations where nothing can be done. But these situations are few and far between. And even in these cases, there’s usually one more thing that can be done, having faith in God providing a miracle.
Again, this action isn’t to replace prayer. Moses didn’t learn what he needed to do until he desperately cried out to God. It’s no different with us. Here’s the thing. Moses was close enough to God to recognize His response. We have to make sure we are giving ourselves the same opportunity.
This happens by spending time with God every day. We spend time in prayer, both talking to God and listening to Him. Time is spent studying His Word, learning how God has interacted with His people throughout the past. Also, we have solid relationships with other Christians, providing us an opportunity to learn from their experiences. God constantly speaks to us through other people. The Israelites being saved here by listening to Moses is a perfect example.
Trusting God for results
If this is something you’re new to, it’s going to be difficult. Knowing regardless of how much effort you give, you’re not going to succeed unless God does something on your behalf. Only total desperation will provide this willingness. When you want something bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes.
You’ll take the shifts no one else wants to cover. You’ll sit up late doing homework and studying when you’d rather be sleeping. You won’t hesitate to call one more doctor’s office, knowing the person answering the phone has no clue of the advice you need and you’re going to be on hold for more time than you have.
Here’s the thing. As long as you’re trusting God to create results you can’t produce on your own, you’re never going to fail. You can’t accomplish what needs to be done, and you’re already fully aware of this. When the tank hits empty and you see no way of going on, you find the extra ounce of energy you’ve never known was there. The struggle isn’t as hard as it’s always been in the past. God sees your willingness, and out of His love for you, He can’t help but respond. It’s simply not always the response you think is best for you.
Pointing others to God with His results
Out of the three points I’ve made, this one will always be the most important. Regardless of what action God leads us to take, regardless of how much we’ve sacrificed, the end result always has to be the same. If we’re not using the action of our faith to lead others toward the cross, we’re not going to have too many answered prayers.
There’s no reason we should ever expect God to act on our behalf other than the opportunity to glorify Himself. God is not in the business of our pride, ego, or making much of who we are. When we fail to make Him the center of attention, we can’t expect Him to show up again. It simply doesn’t work this way. This is where our motives and our hearts always come into play. This story ends as our example.
Jeffrey has a degree in theology from Aidan University and is the founder of Gospel Grammar in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. His goal is to inspire others to seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.