By Tyson Thorne

Nov 19, 2013

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Yesterday we talked about the faith-less and the faith-walker. Today we are going to discover what kind of faith-walker you are. Among those with faith, I believe there are three kinds of Christians.

The first group believes “Faith” is like the “Force;” it binds us together and, if you have enough of it, you will live a happy, content (if not successful) life.

Group two says faith is born of difficult circumstances. In other words, religious faith helps us get through hardship, suffering and loss.

Still others contend that “difficult circumstances are born out of faith.” Truly, a strong faith will conflict with the values of the world and will lead to suffering and hardship.

When group three experiences hardship those in the first group advise them to “have more faith.” Those in the second group tell them to “lean on their faith.” To those in the third group’s way of thinking, faith is precisely what got them into their mess to begin with. In truth, faith is simply this: taking God at His word.

What difference does it make to define “faith” properly? Because as Hebrews 11.6 points out, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” The issue of our faith is not to be understood shallowly.

Examine the three opinions about faith. Which of the three opinions defines your faith? Which of the three opinions do you think reflects the attitude of the great people of faith in this chapter? If there is a difference, or a disparity, how can you change?

There are as many ways to develop real faith as there are people on the planet. It all depends on what is keeping you from living in and out of real faith.

• Do you give up too easily when things get tough? Be determined in your faith.

• Does self-determination keep you from stretching beyond what you can do yourself? Surrender your pride.

• Are you distracted by the stuff of life? Focus on God and take him at his word.

• Take your sin seriously and your ego lightheartedly.

One truth is sure: real faith results in action. As James pointed out, “Faith without works is dead.” Our lack of faith usually stems from a lack of living and acting on our faith.

My first year at Colorado Christian University I was required to take a class on marriage and family. The instructor was a man known to many of you, Dr. Jonathan Smith. Dr. Smith was a pastor, a professor and the driving force behind Rocky Mountain Bible College and Seminary. At the end of one class he was giving us an assignment.

“Women,” he said, “I want you to write me a paper. I want you to read Proverbs 31, the passage of the woman of noble character, and I want you to write a paper about what you would have to change to become a woman like that!”

All the guys in the class snickered and joked one commenting it would take a complete overhaul of drastic and immense propor—no, it wasn’t me. Why does everyone always think it was me?! It could have been me… Regardless Dr. Smith cut off our jeering.

“Men don’t laugh,” he admonished. “Men, I want you to write me a paper. I want you to read Proverbs 31 and I want you to write a paper on what you would have to change about yourself to attract a woman like that!”

Now it was the ladies turn to laugh and joke, but you know one thing I learned from the exercise is that women desire a man who lives and walks by faith. I took up the fruits of the Spirit as my standard for a faithful man of God and what started as a paper turned into a project that lasted far beyond college. I began to journal, and for the first year the journal simply recorded my efforts to develop love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I journaled daily and I would encourage you that if you want to measure your faith, if you want to become a man or woman of faith, then you must be intentional about it. Maybe you don’t journal, that’s okay, but make sure there are daily reminders in your life to keep you on track in your pursuit. Make sure that when the pressure is on you know you can trust God, that you can take him at his word. Eventually, when difficult times come, your first response and your every inclination will be to respond in faith.

I love action movies. One of my favorites is by M. Night Shyamalan. In the film Signs he draws clear distinctions between those with faith and those without. Mel Gibson’s character is a disillusioned former priest who states at a crucial moment in the movie:

People break down into two groups. When they experience something lucky, group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance. I'm sure the people in group number two are looking at those fourteen lights in a very suspicious way. For them, the situation is a fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they're on their own. And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people. But there's a whole lot of people in group number one. When they see those fourteen lights, they're looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?

-From Signs, 2002

It is true that difficult circumstances are born out of faith. It is also true that there are rewards for being a faith-walker. One reward, as Gibson points out, is hope. Regardless of how much trouble we might be in with the people of this world, we have hope. While imprisoned for the last time Paul writes to the church in Philippi a letter of great hope wherein he says, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1.20).

There are other rewards as well. A closeness with God, a correct view of life and difficult circumstances, living victoriously over the world… The promises of faith are many; they are for us and they are for everyday life. They are not just for the famous people of Scripture. We can be modern heroes of faith.

Click for part one:

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