So let me give you a few starters. If you want to turn faith into deeds, and belief into actions I think we have to understand a few things. And the first thing is…
1. Actions realize risk
Turning faith into deeds is risky business. Living out your faith is scary. No martyr was ever killed for their beliefs, it was something they did that exposed their faith out into the open that brought attention to them. My guess is that most of us a pretty conservative people. Even if you think you are spontaneous, you probably still stay within certain boundaries.
Proverbs 3:5 says Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
I know I tend to be very shy and cautious. I may not have to see the whole path ahead of me, but I really like to be able to see at least a few steps before I put my foot out there.
But that’s why they call it a “leap of faith” and not a hesitant tip toe of faith.
You realize there is risk and you jump – but we don’t jump blindly, we jump knowing that God will catch us.
George Muller said… “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where (our) power ends.”
Faith in action is scary because it feels like we are jumping without a parachute. That’s why it is so vitally important that we stay connected to God every step of the way.
2. Actions reach out and stay connected.
Through this series, we’ve talked about the necessity of being plugged in to the source. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus told us flat out – the main ingredient of a Christian – is Christ himself!” Right? So knowing that, our actions won’t add up to much if we aren’t daily plugging in.
Psalm 119:108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord, and teach me your rules.
I would argue that it’s pretty hard to have an active faith that manifests itself in word and deed without first taking the action to reach out to God. If you find that you don’t have confidence, or bravery or strength – I would tell you those things are found in your King. God goes ahead of you, so draw near to Him. And that’s when you arrive and begin rolling up your sleeves to get to work.
3. Actions respond with work.
God has gifted each of us with abilities and passions and so God has a job for each and every one of us. Sure, we might not be the star on the stage or the brightest light in the strand, but all of us have a talent, and our purposes are all important to the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
If you are a husband or a father your work is to be the spiritual leader of your family. I know there is a strong temptation among men to leave the roll of teaching kids to women, but the Bible says the man is the head of the household.
Of course women are important and I am not saying they have a lesser role, but what I am saying, is if you’re the Father don’t leave it all on her shoulders.
Your wife shouldn’t have to drag you to church, husbands are you doing what it takes to lead your family? Are you putting in the work that God expects from you?
Proverbs 14:1 The wisest of women builds her house
For you wives and mothers… are your doing the work that God has for you to do? Are you loving and supporting your husbands? Are you teaching and training up your kids?
When I was a youth pastor one of the biggest things we learned was that kids don’t learn about God and faith from their Sunday school teachers, they learn it from their parents. It’s simple math. Your Sunday School teachers have your kids for a few hours a week, but you have them for all the rest. Who are your kids going to learn about faith and morality from? Whoever takes the biggest interest in their lives. Hopefully it’s you.
Ephesians 4:11-13 He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, (and) for building up the body of Christ
There is work for all of us isn’t there? Within this church right now there are apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers… you know how I know, because the “….Bible told me so.” But it’s possible you just haven’t tapped into that.
You have not stepped up and claimed that work. God’s been pushing you, nudging you, urging you and you’ve put it off.
Remember it all starts with risk. It’s when you walk into the Sunday School class room for the first time and 6 tiny sets of eyes stare back at you. But don’t worry, you’re not doing this alone; and that’s not to say that it first won’t require a plan. In fact…
4. Actions require wise planning
Even though taking a leap of faith can be very scary, and even risky, it shouldn’t be foolish. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t allowed to have a plan.
It doesn’t show a lack of faith when we make a plan, rather it shows a lack of faith when we make a plan and it doesn’t include God. Think about how you go about making plans now. Do you fly by the seat of your pants? Do you just do what feels good at the time? Do you just do whatever the people on TV are doing?
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Just as God has given you talents, he has also given you tools. God doesn’t put you to work without tools. Prayer being a HUGE one of them. Hey, before you make that leap of faith, why don’t you pray about it? I know I would. I’d commit a lot of prayer to that.
And you know what? Even though I just got through trying to encourage you and reassure you, the bottom line is even after all of that… you could still fail. It might still not work. You could plan through prayer, leap in faith, work hard and take risks and still….. end up with nothing. Fall on your face…. have nothing to show for it.
Not all actions succeed.
5 Actions result in set backs.
As much as God’s love is powerful and the message of the gospel is truth, our world still has it’s own vices, things like greed, and selfishness and anger and pride. And when you take a message out into the world that tries to show that there is a loving God at the center of it all, some people might not like that.
Remember, faith in action is a risk. And one of the risks is disappointment. There isn’t any guarantee of instant success in ministry, and there certainly isn’t any guarantee that we won’t face our own share of trials. But faith in action trusts that God will work out all of those details. Faith shouldn’t be shaken when we are faced with setbacks. Rather true faith, gets back up, dusts itself off and gets right back in there.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Growing up, and learning to swim was one of the most difficult things I ever did. I was terrified, I spent hours crying to my parents how I didn’t want to do it, and do you know why? For the most part you’re pushed into the water alone while your coach yells at you from the surface. Your mind says, “sink or swim” and it’s a reactionary response. Your body learns to swim because the alternative is terrifying.
I think some of us are afraid to take that leap of faith because we think we’re alone. But see that’s the thing. That’s why we take the risk, take the leap, roll up our sleeves and get right back up when we fall… because Christianity means we are never alone.
Not only is the church always there, but God is always there.