Me to We: Faith-filled, Big Thinking
Many people view faith as a belief in the existence of God. But does that adequately capture the idea of faith? To me faith is a person’s relationship and trust in God. The difference between faith as “belief in something that may or may not exist” and faith as “trusting in God” is significant. The first is a matter of the head, the second is a matter of the heart. The first can leave us unchanged, the second brings change. God wants us to grow in faith. Our faith can only grow as strong as we use it. So, every need is a faith opportunity, and thus an opportunity for growth. And the good news is that God will help us to learn to walk in faith.
Something To Talk About:
Faith is a powerful weapon. Not so sure? Imagine how different your outlook on life would be if you had absolute confidence that God was with you? Imagine how differently you would respond to difficulties, temptations, and even good things if you knew with certainty that God was in all of it and was planning to leverage it for good. In other words, imagine what it would be like to have unwavering, unflappable faith. In this week’s message, we looked at some cautions and caveats on faith:
- You cannot play it safe and please God: There are Christians who like to play it safe, preferring the shadows to the limelight. It can seem easier to fly under the radar. The problem is Jesus came to give us abundance, so living small—keeping it safe by making easy choices, doing just enough to get by, refusing to reach, grow and discover—is robbing us of the full life God wants for us. I believe there is more for us, if we can push past self-erected limitations. Especially in the area of faith. Bigger faith requires us to come out of our comfort zones. Maybe life isn’t meant to be safe. Could more meaning in life be found with more risk? God doesn’t want your life to be boring. In fact, Jesus promised life to the fullest. If we want to go beyond the norm, we can’t do things in a normal way. If you don’t want to settle for the typical, then it’s time to stretch your faith.
- As long as you have a guarantee – you don’t have faith: There is a common assumption regarding God’s will. It’s the belief that if you make a decision which honors God, God will guarantee your success. That is a dangerous assumption. Yes, God makes guarantees, or promises, in His word. He promises redemption, salvation, an eternal inheritance to name three. Here is where we need to know the difference between expectation and hope. Hope is the desire for a certain thing to happen while expectation means that there is a strong possibility, even a certainty, that the event is going to happen. Hope usually does not have any certainty at all, it is only a pie-in-the-sky dream. Too often we get into an expectation situation where we believe God will give us the answer we want. But we won’t always get the answer we want. God is not in the guarantee business, He is in the faith business. Faith is trusting God and allowing Him to be in control of our lives. Or in other words, having faith in God without any guarantees of the outcome.
- To step toward your destiny, you have to step away from your security: Sometimes when we face difficult situations, we may feel that we are helpless because of our circumstances. Obstacles may seem frightening, but the Bible says that God will honor a person who has the faith to let God lead and guide. “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6–7) But it begs a question: Do we have the courage to step into total, crazy abandonment? Do we have the faith to stop clinging to our security, stability, predictability, comfort, and personal agenda? Jesus said it this way, “…I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.” (Luke 18:29-30) We all try to work through the things of our life, but big faith brings us to the point where we realize there is nothing left to “work through”—nothing left to do but obey and love our Lord and Savior. And when you do… be sure, you will find Him in all that He promised He would be.
- How would you rate your faith? What is the craziest thing you ever did as a step of faith? What is the craziest thing you would like to do as a step of faith? Why?
- A.W. Tozer once said, “Any faith that must be supported by the evidence of the senses is not real faith.” Agree or disagree and why?
- Do you know people whose faith in God is so strong that at times you would describe it as amazing? What is it about them that makes you think their confidence in God is so strong?
- There are times we need to be reactive (patient) and other times proactive in our faith. How can we tell when one or the other is required?
- Has there ever been a time in your life when your confidence in God—your faith—hit a really low point? Would you be willing to share that story with your group? If so, describe the events surrounding your loss of faith, as well as what happened that helped you regain it.
- What is one bold step of faith you sense God is asking you to take? What is stopping you? How can this group help?
Take One Thing Home with You:
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:1
Pastor and theologian A.W. Tozer once said, “Any faith that must be supported by the evidence of the senses is not real faith.” My prayer for every member or regular attender of Northstar is to grow your faith in such a way that God is alive in our people and our community because God is alive to and in us. My prayer is that we will be people who pray and believes. Expects then sees. Asks and then receives. That we will be people that are not easily discouraged or hampered by fear and insecurity, but are willing and committed to translate our beliefs to active big faith. No holds barred faith. This year let’s equate faith with risk. Let’s take some risks and see if the Lord will move some mountains in our lives and in the lives of others.