“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)
Did you know that in twenty of the world’s most primitive languages the word for believe is the same as the word for do? That is something Wycliffe Bible translators have discovered in years of working to translate the Bible into the native language of remote people groups. In other words, for those cultures, to believe something literally means to do something. Faith and action are inseparable. Truth be told, that is the way God intends it.
Genuine faith is expressed through action. This is a discovery that one readily makes when studying Hebrews 11 the great faith chapter of the Bible. A careful reading of the account of Abraham, the father of our faith, in verses 8 through 19 underscores this truth like none other.
The writer of Hebrews uses twelve different action verbs in describing how Abraham activated his faith. These verbs can be grouped into the four different ways that faith is typically expressed. These ways are delineated by what Abraham chooses to think, to see, to say and to do.
Faith is an action verb.
1. Faith Thinks –Abraham “considered him faithful who had made the promise” (vs. 11) He was “longing for a better country.” (vs. 16) And he “reasoned that God could raise [Isaac] from the dead.” Thoughts are the seeds of reality. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)
2. Faith Sees – Abraham “saw … from a distance” the things God had promised. (vs. 13) He was “looking forward to the city . . . whose architect and builder is God” (vs. 10) and he was also “looking for a better country.” (vs. 14) Faith is visionary in that it fixes its gaze on that which is promised and envisions its fulfillment.
3. Faith Speaks – Abraham “welcomed” the things God had promised (vs. 13) He also “admitted” he was an “alien and stranger on earth.” (vs. 13) In other words he confessed his allegiance to Kingdom of God and not to this world. Our words water the seeds of faith and have creative power. “You will decree a thing, and it will be established for you.” (Job 22:28)
4. Faith Acts – Abraham “obeyed and went even though he did not know where he was going.” (vs. 8) “By faith, he made his home in the promised land.” (vs. 9) “By faith Abraham … offered Isaac as a sacrifice.” (vs. 12) Peter was the only apostle to walk on water. Why? Because he actually stepped out of the boat and did it. “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20)
Modern day sophistication and ivory tower theology have separated our believing from doing. Belief is much more than simply assenting to something. It is taking action by stepping out and doing something based on that belief.
Are you believing God for something? Let me ask, what are you doing with that belief? How are you translating your faith into action? What are you thinking, where you are looking and what you are saying? Is God waiting for you to step out of the boat and do something about it?
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