The opening of the way of faith and learning to walk in this way is, of course, only the beginning. The goal is a steady living by faith when faith is constantly growing and being perfected. In this way, faith becomes a major motivation and driving force. Only then we can fully achieve and experience God’s specific purposes and plans for our lives. Thus we can fulfill completely what we are created for.
Living by faith – how?
In the first place, we know that we have an Initiator and a Perfector of our faith. He has initiated it and He is taking care of and overseeing its perfection. It is also important to concentrate and focus on the Lord by “looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith”. (Hebrews 12:2) The more we get to know and focus on the object of our faith – God, the more our faith grows and is being strengthened.
The Word of God reveals three main principles of living by faith, related to our minds, emotions, and will. These three principles lay the foundations of the life of faith.
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Reprogramming our thinking
The Bible calls this process “renewing of the mind” in accordance with God’s Word. The Word of God is true and correctly reflects reality. Human thinking is subjected to many factors. For example, family environment, school, work environment, experiences (especially traumatic). These formative factors lead to the development of firmly rooted beliefs.
The renewing of the mind involves two elements. The first is deleting the old programming. These are beliefs that are false and do not correspond to what God says about things. The second one is new programming – acceptance of God’s point of view. For example, we are programmed since childhood to think negatively and fatalistically, always expecting the worst. Knowing and understanding more and more who God is, His love, the security we have in Him, and experiencing His care in action, help us to erase old thinking and to build a positive and optimistic view of life.
Being transparent and honest (emotional integrity)
The Bible calls this process “walking in the light”. The primary role here play our emotions and the right way to process them. This includes as well giving ourselves permission to be real with God and the others. Emotions are the language of the soul. Therefore, it is very important to allow ourselves to feel them, to recognize and acknowledge a given emotion. Many people do not allow themselves and/or have no idea what they feel.
There are three ways to process emotions – suppression, outburst, and recognition/acknowledgment of the emotion and its true cause (trigger). The first two ways are dysfunctional and bring problems for the psyche and the body. The third way is the right, godly way that benefits us. Accordingly, it is vital to learn the language of our soul that gives us information about what really happens in our souls. For example negative thinking, unforgiveness, unprocessed past, obscure or blocked goals, etc. Let us learn together with God to manage the enormous emotional energy which He has given us. Let us allow Him to show us the real problems of our hearts through the barometer of our emotions.
In addition, to be emotionally honest, we need to learn a life of openness and transparency with God. We need to give Him access to all aspects of our life and all the corners of our hearts. In other words – no secrets between us. This is not easy, and quite painful at first. However, it is God’s way of purifying, healing, renewing, and constantly refreshing us. The hidden must be consciously opened so it can be changed. And since we are endowed with free will, which God respects, our desire, permission, and invitation are what triggers God’s transformational work in the hearts.
Surrender and release control over to God
The opposite of the life of faith is the controlling and manipulation motivated by fear and founded in pride. The controlling is doing everything we can to ensure the desired result. It is primarily directed outwardly – controlling people, situations, conversations, etc., e.g. controlling of all that is not our direct responsibility and not in our power. Controlling is opposite to self-control as a trait of the character that the Spirit of God produces in us.
In the sphere of our will (the ability to make choices and decisions), God’s way of building and exercising faith is a conscious and constant choice to humble ourselves and release control over to God (for people, situations, results). We need to surrender ourselves and the things that worry us under His care and control. The emotion and the indicator showing that we have relinquished the place at the steering wheel to God is peace and tranquility. God is Almighty, All-knowing, and Omnipresent – e.g. He is fully qualified to be at the wheel in comparison to us.
The framework of practicing these three ways of building and exercising faith is the relationship (with God and the people in our lives) and the principle of responsibility and accountability to them. We have a responsibility not FOR but TO God and people. By sharing the things we are going through not only with God but also with a few close and trusted people, we receive support and motivation to move forward.
Faith is not a theoretical setting or knowledge. It is tested and perfected in life. When the storms of life collide with real faith, then they make it grow, overcome and testify to God’s presence and strength in our lives.
With which of these principles have you been less familiar? What is the biggest obstacle for you to live and grow by faith? You are welcome to share and comment!