How do we respond with faith? What motivates us to act in a certain way? What stirs us towards specific deeds? There are two key motivators: fear or faith working through love.
They are opposite and mutually excluding. The main fears which drive people are usually the fear of death, of man, of failure, of the unknown, of loss. The second key motivator is faith working through love (Galatians 5:6).
Faith as a driving force and motivation
Faith as a driving force and motivation works in two directions – first as responding (reaction) to things outside or inside us and secondly as initiation and action. Responding by faith is about our reaction to things unforeseen, unplanned, and often unwanted by us. The more mature part of walking by faith is the active initiation of God’s promises and vision for our life.
How do we respond with faith?
We have no control over what happens to us, on circumstances and events beyond our control. We have control and responsibility for what is our property – thoughts, emotions, reactions, decisions, actions. When confronted with a problem such as suffering, loss, illness, betrayal, lie, it is our choice and responsibility on how to respond. What God expects of us is always to respond with a faith rooted in God’s love. Walking by faith is always a choice. In Christ, we are free to choose how to respond because we are no longer subject to the power of the flesh, sin, and law.
Examples of faith response
- Submitting and surrendering. This involves the conscious choice to surrender ourselves and the given problem, person, situation under God’s control. We actively seek His provision, intervention, and help. We refuse to control and manipulate the situation and the outcome. The surrender is an expression of humility and recognition of the sovereignty and ultimate authority of God.
- Choosing to put our trust and hope in God, His love and His promises and Word.
- Adopting an attitude in unison and agreement with God’s character, teaching, and instruction in the Word. The most important thing that we can always grasp is that God is good and loves us all the time; that all work for good for those who love God; and that nothing can separate us from His love.
- Choosing to exercise and express gratitude and to maintain such an attitude.
- Abiding in God (in prayer and in His teachings) and following His guidance.
Growing in the right motivation
What most often blocks and influences our choice to respond with faith is prejudice and reservation. They can be about the character of God, His promises, and love, often due to insufficient knowledge, disappointment, bitterness, unbelief, a desire to control in attempts to secure our safety. It is important to grow in the knowledge of God, for it is also the key to the growth of our faith.
Whether we want it or not, as creatures endowed with free will, our lives are woven by decisions and choices. Whether we want it or not, we react to what surrounds us and happens to us. Let us consider the true motivation in our lives and decide to live with faith and trust every day, trusting God and relaxing in His embrace. The more we respond and make choices motivated by faith and unselfish love, the more it becomes natural for us. This way our faith (a precious virtue in the eyes of God) is perfected and grows to become a proven faith, more precious than gold.
„In all this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith … may result in praise, glory, and honor…” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
How do you respond when you struggle with anxiety and fear? Which of these faith responses is the most difficult for you and why? You are welcome to share and comment!