Sometimes because we’re missing one crucial piece, we have nothing. Like getting in your car but missing the key. Or having a job interview but missing your pants.
It’s the same thing with faith. When you’re missing one part, you have nothing. I previously defined faith in this equation because I’m a nerd…
Knowing God’s Word + Believing in God’s Word + Applying God’s Word = Faith
So let’s say I punch you in the face because you said something like you love Pirates of the Carribean 2 & 3, which are absolutely horrible movies. The Bible says you should ‘turn the other cheek’. You know that, and you believe in it, but you don’t do it, and try to punch me back. You are not acting in faith. (Neither am I, but at least I’m right about the movies).
So missing one piece of the equation isn’t faith. But you can miss more than the “Applying God’s Word” element. What if you’re missing the first part, “Knowing God’s Word”?
If you don’t base your faith in God’s Word, then who’s word are you basing it in? Yours, the world or Satan’s. Let’s just lump that all under ‘temptation’. The problem is if you think that you’re basing it God’s Word, but really aren’t, and you sincerely believe it and act on it, you’ll be sinning while calling it faith (or God’s will) the whole time.
An obvious example is when you see Christians yelling at a group they see as sinners. You know these Christians are sincere, because the Bible says certain things are wrong, but then they don’t base their actions on God’s Word (the parts talking about the fruit of the Spirit). Just because we’re not actively ‘sinning’ by killing people or watching Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3, doesn’t mean we’re living in faith.
Living by God’s Word will help those who are so afraid of doing something outside of God’s Will that they are frozen. “I don’t know if it’s God’s will that I should take this job or that job, or eat a sandwich or a salad, or go to bed at 11:00 or 11:30. ” God’s Word gives us general commands, like love your neighbor – but it doesn’t give you the details, like should I invite them over on Monday or Tuesday, or should I wear khakis or jeans when I talk to them?
God’s Word gives you the commands and wisdom fills in the details.
That’s what the whole book of Proverbs basically says ‘seek wisdom’. Let’s say your kid disobeyed, do you actually need to pray to know that you’re supposed to discipline them? No, because it says so in God’s Word, but now you pray for wisdom so you can figure out how to discipline them. Let’s say your boss is a jerk.
God’s Word says to treat them with love, patience, self-control, etc (Gal 5:22-23). And now you pray for wisdom so you can figure out how to do those things.
When trying to live by faith (which is to live by God’s Word) and to do God’s will, think of the Bible as big list of commands. Like God has told you to go to the grocery store and buy healthy foods. Seek wisdom for the details on things like, when should you go, what route do you take, which grocery store, which foods?
Yes, you will get some of the details wrong. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying to carry out his commands because the alternative is to flat out disobey God’s commands. And that’s rebellion. We’re not perfect, we have sin, and we will get details wrong, but that shouldn’t prevent us from trying to obey commands, it should encourage us into obedience because he still loves his people despite their sin.
So now what?
Since life is lived with a million decisions every day, we need to have God’s Word with us at all times, in our hearts. Yes, it’d be best to memorize tons of verses. But if you don’t then at the minimum it’s important for us to have a few key verses that apply to every situation so that we can at least be generally basing our actions in God’s Word.
Try to memorize these ‘umbrella’ verses for situations you face:
I don’t know how to act: Gal 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal 5:22-23 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
…basically, if you’re not acting out of love… it’s not faith.
I don’t know what action to take: James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
I don’t know how to deal or why this is happening: James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Faith starts with God’s Word. So to live by faith we must first know God’s Word if we are to believe in it and act on it.
Take Time To Pray: Ask God for the motivation to be dedicated to His Word so you can base your faith in it.