No Free Passes


Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives you assurance about things we cannot see.

Christian Misconception No. 1:
When you follow God’s plan, everything will fall in to place and nothing will be difficult.

It’s an absolute misconception nowadays, that most Christians have, that if you are in God’s will and doing what He wants you to do, then you won’t have to work at it or you won’t have any trials along the way. Absolutely untrue. Sometimes I think it takes even more faith to walk out God’s plan for you. God will provide you with just what you need, but at the same time He’ll tell you, “I’ve brought you here, now it’s time for you to exercise your faith for the rest.”

After the wreck that totaled my lovely, paid-off car, I had this plan of my own that I was going to take the settlement from the accident and pay cash for another car. I did NOT want a car payment again. But I also wanted a reliable car that would last me the next 5 years.

So off I went, every night, scouring the used car lots because, let’s face it, you aren’t going to find a new car for $10,000. But what I soon began to realize was I wasn’t going to find a good used car for only $10,000 either.

I had started out on this faith venture gung ho and ready to believe for the right used vehicle. But each night that I would go out looking, I would come back even more discouraged than before. After three weeks of car searching, I was no closer to finding a replacement vehicle than I was the day my car was totaled.

I found myself really having to guard against being flat-out angry at God. I knew His will for me wasn’t to go into debt. But why did it seem that every door was closing when I was looking for a used car?

As I began nearing the end of the month, 3.5wks after the accident, I was at the end of my rope. I no longer had a rental car and was relying on the kindness of others for transportation. The settlement check had come in…but still no car. My sweet father was looking just as hard as I was for something every single day. But every time he’d find something, I wouldn’t have peace about it, or every time I would find something, he wouldn’t have peace about it. I remember one night, lying in bed, crying out to God “It’s not supposed to be THIS HARD!!”. Then, three days before the end of the month, my father suggested “Why not a new car?”.

His argument wasn’t only strong, it was rather convincing. Why sink $10k into a used car that you’re just going to have turn around and replace again in 2 years or make major repairs on? Why not put that money towards a new car, that won’t have problems, that will have a warranty, and you can get just what you want?

I wasn’t completely convinced until I heard my mother say, “Which do you have the faith for? To believe that the used car will have no problems and you won’t have to put any money in to it? Or believe that a brand new, problem-free, car can be paid off?”

That’s when I felt the Holy Spirit rise up inside, reminding me that I was limiting God, once again, by making a decision based on current circumstances instead of basing it on God and His Word – instead of basing it in faith. And with that, I made the decision based on peace.

Within 24hrs of that small revelation, I was sitting inside a dealership, signing the paperwork on my brand new 2015 car. A car, that just as I had prayed almost 4wks earlier, had sought me out…the dealership had just driven the car in from across the state the day before on a trade – it was the exact one I wanted, and the only one like it anywhere. On top of that, I began to see God’s hand at work with the deal – I not only ended up with a negotiated price that was thousands below MSRP, but I also received 0% financing so it would not cost me anything to borrow the remainder of the money. I had instant equity in the car when I drove it off of the lot and I had enough from the settlement to pay for more than half of the car.

So today, I am driving around in my brand new blessing and every day I call her “paid off”! I believe by faith that this was the direction God led me and if this is His plan, then I believe just as strongly that He will provide the way for me to pay this car off. On the same day I signed the papers on the car, I received an unexpected raise – now if that’s not God, I don’t know what is.

Sitting around with a dear friend recently, discussing the recent leap of faith she and her family have taken, I heard the same faith theme as I had just learned myself. Just because you are walking out God’s plan for you, doesn’t mean that everything is going to fall in to place and you aren’t going to have to work for it. It doesn’t mean you aren’t still going to have to believe by faith every single day while you are walking out that plan.

It was absolutely God’s plan for the children of Israel to be led out of slavery in Egypt and in to the promised land.  BUT – even though they were walking out God’s plan for them, they still had to believe daily for God to provide for them. They had to believe for food each day. Shelter and protection each night. Even for their clothes and shoes to keep those 40 years. And 40 years! I know many times they wanted to give up their faith – and many did – but those who didn’t, those who continued to believe and push forward, no matter how hard it got, saw the promised land – they saw God’s promise to them fulfilled!

Remember walking out God’s plan for your life doesn’t give you a pass to sit back and kick your feet up. Walking God’s plan out is going to require more faith than you ever expected – but the reward will be greater than anything you could ever imagine.

Putting Feet to Your Faith

  
I can remember growing up, one of my favorite songs was, Screen Door by Rich Mullins. It seemed that it was always playing on our drives from the rent house to the new house my parents were building at the time (ah, the ’80s – a moment of silence please for this great decade). As a kid, I used to laugh at the lyrics because they were so preposterous. Why would someone ever put a screen door on a submarine?! But as I got older, I realized how poignant the words really were.

Faith without works is like a song you can’t sing. It’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine. 

I wish I remembered who first said to me “it’s time to put feet to your faith”. It has been a statement to live by in this Christian’s life – although I haven’t always done so, I resolve to live this way from here out.

Thinking back to writing about Cannonball Faith, having faith is one thing. But are you actually using what God gave you?

I’ve had my ups and downs at my job over the past 10 years, and there’s been more than one occasion where I would come home set on the idea that I was going to quit the next day. But I never did. Which is a discussion for later on being in the right place, at the right time, in God’s will. But every time I’d come home and begin to gripe about the current situation, I’d be asked “What are you doing about it?” Which of course my response was always “I’m praying about it. I’m praying the right job in.” <— pretty sure that’s the adult equivalent of your child coming out of Sunday school and asking them what they learned, only to receive the ‘one-size-fits-all’ quizzical response of “Jesus?”.

But you know, praying about it, and believing by faith are both great things to do…but God didn’t give us faith and the Holy Spirit to just sit around on our keisters being armchair believers – believing by faith, but not LIVING by faith – not putting works (action) to our faith.

The Bible is full of examples of men and women who not only believed by faith, but put that faith to action until they saw results. Two specific examples come to mind of literally putting feet to your faith: Peter walking on water and the battle of Jericho.

Peter had faith. He had great, walking-on-water faith. But remember too, he had the same measure of faith we’ve all been given. He could have stayed sitting in that boat, watching Jesus on the water. He could have answered like most Christians do when it comes to believing for something by faith – if it’s God will, then He’ll bring it to me. But he didn’t. He put feet to his faith and stepped out of that boat on to the unknown, on to the water. (Matthew 14)

It’s the same for the Israelites and the battle of Jericho. They could have easily camped outside of the city walls and used their faith, praying every day, for those walls to be removed. But no, they used their faith and obeyed God and what he asked of them and put their feet to work. They marched, and blew the ram’s horns, and gave a shout just as God had directed them to do so, and as the song goes, the walls came tumbling down. (Joshua 6)

Matthew 17:20 speaks of mountain moving faith – speak to the mountain to move and it will move. I really wish there was an asterisk after this verse though. So many get stuck on believing and confessing that they forget to put action to it. If I could put an asterisk next to this verse it would say “Speak to the mountain to move and it will move, however, if God puts a shovel in front of you, put it to work until that whole mountain is moved.” and then refer everyone to James 2:17 that “faith without works, is dead”.

This is where I think a lot of Christians get hung up with the believing and confessing part without the action part of faith.

When one of my aunts received a diagnosis of cancer years ago, it was a big blow. I love her dearly and for very selfish reasons did not want to see her die – she’s my spiritual rock, my go-to, my intercessor. So I began praying about it and received my own new revelation of God’s word and the wisdom He gives us. Believing for healing is great…but you better know you’ve heard from God and have had a come to Jesus meeting before you make the decision to believe by faith ONLY. God gave us doctors, He gave those doctors great wisdom and medicine – it takes just as much faith to believe for that medication to do what it is supposed to do and for those doctors’ hands to be guided by wisdom as it does to sit back and just believe for a supernatural healing. And just because your healing came through the actions you took guided by the Holy Spirit, doesn’t make it any less of a miracle and it doesn’t make you any less of a good Christian believer for doing so!

With this rhema, I drove myself up to her and sat down to ask her “Are you choosing to believe only for a miraculous healing because that’s what God has told you to do, or are you making that decision out of fear of the unknown with treatments and surgery?” When I went to see her a few weeks ago, she talked about that weekend when I came to see her several years back and as she said “preach to her and bring her back”. Which is definitely what I did. I had a boldness that weekend when I went to her and got in her face about it – I had my faith to believe for the miraculous, but I also had the guiding of the Holy Spirit in what action to take with that faith.

By the way, my aunt, she’s still here….and she’s cancer free, praise God! She put feet to her faith.

So whatever you are believing for in your life and using your faith for, are you putting feet to that faith? Are you putting action to your beliefs and confession? Or are you just going to be the armchair believer?

God gave us all the same measure of faith to use in our lives. The outcome of that faith, (the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1) however, will be dependent on you seeking wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit on what action to put with your faith. If your New Years resolution was to get healthier and lose weight, you can believe, and wish, and pray for it all you want…but until you put action to it and change your lifestyle and change the way you eat and change whatever else God directs you to change, you won’t see the same results. Are you believing for a new job? Don’t just use your faith and pray about it, but seek God on the steps He wants you to take – where to begin looking, where to put resumes in, who to speak with, etc.

Faith is a precious gift from God to us. Don’t let yours become stagnant and dead, having no action behind it, or pretty soon it’ll be as useless as a screen door on a submarine!