I decided to devote my Bible study time to understanding what it means to walk by faith and how I can walk by faith. Here are a few of the things I've figured out.
Faith means trusting God
Have you ever played that trust game where you close your eyes and fall backwards into the arms of someone waiting to catch you? It's really not my favorite. It's scary to not be able to see where you're going to land and to let yourself just … fall, trusting someone will catch you. Faith is kind of like that, except God is the one we're trusting. When we feel prompted to do something that takes us outside our comfort zone, faith means trusting God will be there to catch us and turn it into something wonderful.
Faith means believing God prompts us and listening when He does
So, what about those "promptings"? What's up with that? And how can we tell if it's God talking or just our imagination? One of the things I learned in my quest to understand faith is God's voice is quiet, so if we thinkwe hear Him talking to us, if we wonder if He's the one putting ideas into our hearts and minds, we need to exercise faith and act. If the idea is the kind of thing God asks people to do, if it's kind and thoughtful, then do it! Faith means believing God speaks to us and then acting on the whisperings we receive. After time, as we get more practice listening, His voice gets easier and easier to hear.
Faith means believing God is taking care of us
When those promptings come and we follow them, it can be really scary! What if He prompts us to talk to that person we've been avoiding at church for weeks? Or to randomly take cookies to someone we barely know? What will we say? What will they think? The answer is if we trust Him, He will make it beautiful. He's taking care of us. If it wasn't Him sending the prompting but was our imagination, He will love us for doing our best to follow Him and will bless us anyway.
We all get hurt, sometimes badly. Abuse and bullying happen in this life. It can be really hard to walk by faith when people are mean. Part of walking by faith is taking time out from the hard things to talk to God, to cry out our tears of frustration, fear and confusion and to let Him take our sorrow. Faith means believing He will take care of justice. We can trust Him to do that while we get back to the joyful parts of life.
Faith means expressing gratitude
Faith includes seeing the blessings we have in life, consciously pausing to notice them and expressing gratitude for them. From sunsets to kind words to someone holding the door open for us, blessings are everywhere. We walk by faith when we express gratitude not only to God but also to the people He puts in our lives to bless us. Acknowledging Him in our blessings strengthens our faith as we notice He loves us and is pouring out blessings all around us.
Faith means exercising belief for it to grow stronger
Trusting God, listening to and acting on promptings, letting go of anger and expressing gratitude are all pieces of what it means to walk by faith. Just like a toddler learning to walk, we don't go from zero to cruising on the faith racetrack in one afternoon. The more we exercise our faith muscles, the stronger they get and the easier it is for us to feel peace.
While faith is much more than a feeling—it's a willingness to trust God and to act as He asks us to—it does bring some recognizable feelings. The greatest of these is peace. As our faith muscles get stronger, we feel peace in more and more situations. And pretty soon, we'll be sharing that peace with people around us, helping them to walk by faith as well.