Faith is one of the most important virtues in the Christian life (see 1 Corinthians 13:13).  In fact, Paul described it as being the basic modus operandi of the believer’s experience.  He said, “The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17).  Most believers know they need the virtue, but they sometimes fail to understand the implications it has for their lives.  Unfortunately, such shortsightedness can produce spiritual apathy and angst. When one learns to live by faith, wonderful things happen.  Let’s consider three Bible truths which will help us in our faith journeys.

Faith is needed to please God. 

God is the only eternally, self-sufficient being.   He is creator and sustainer of all things.  By His nature, He possesses perfect power, wisdom, glory, strength, beauty, and love.  There is none like Him.  Because of His distinct and Divine nature, there is nothing we can do through our own mortal efforts to impress Him.  However, He has ordained faith as a method whereby we can win His heart. When He sees one of His children living with a humble, faith-focused fix on Him, He takes great delight and He receives pleasure (see Romans 14:23 and Hebrews 11:6).

Faith is more than believing. 

If you were to ask the average believer to define faith, he or she may say it involves “believing in God.”  Such a definition is a good starting place, but it falls short.  Faith is so much more.  The Bible says that even demons believe in God (see James 2:19).  They give mental assent to His existence.  The type of faith that moves the heart of God goes far beyond such shallow sentiments.  It involves a deep dependency and tenacious trust.  It is perhaps best described by the words of Solomon.  He described how one lives by faith, saying, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Faith results in love.

Affectionate regard for God and others is the gold standard of Christian living (see Galatians 5:14).  If we don’t practice love, we are spiritually nothing (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).  For many, this seems tough.  How can we produce the love God desires?  The difficulties and disappointments of life on planet Earth often make it hard to muster.  Plain and simple, we sometimes don’t feel like loving God and others.  It helps to see that faith is the key that unlocks the door to Christian love.  Paul said that “what matters is faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).  When we set our sights on trusting God, conforming our lives to His standards, He does something supernatural in our souls.  Through His Spirit within us, He personally produces His love in our hearts.  Since He is the God Who is love (see 1 John 4:8), He can enable us to love.  We just have to trust Him to do it.

Dr. Patrick Latham

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