At long last, we’re moving on to the next step in building our capacity to believe. We’ve moved now from a testimony on pure principles (step 1 – Testimony), to the ability to see things not for what they are, but what they can be (step 2 – Optimism), to an active level of hope for those things to come to pass (step 3 – Hope), and we’re now ready to take the next step, again, this more active than the last.
If you haven’t truly gone through the first three steps, this step may be very difficult, but either way, I highly encourage you to keep working on those first 3 steps. Reread them, keep working on them. Like any exercise, after all, these are not one-time instances of exertion, but ongoing endeavors that must become an active part of our life.
Hebrews 11:1 says that “…faith is the substance of things hoped for…”, or other translations: “…the assurance of things hoped for…” and “… the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith isn’t some wishy-washy fell-good sensation where we simply wish for something to come true. It’s “substance”, “evidence”, these words convey something very concrete and real. The power of faith is perhaps the most powerful principle in the universe. By faith, all things were created.
If God can work such mighty faith, then surely we, as his spiritual children, can begin to work faith at a much smaller level.
When the Apostles woke the savior, fearing for their lives, he calmed the storm and then gently chastised them for being of such little faith. When Peter attempted to walk on water, but started to sink, he did likewise. When the apostles were unable to heal certain sicknesses he offered the same feedback.
Clearly the Lord knows we’re capable of affecting real, substantial, concrete change in our environment, in our lives, and in the lives of others.
So, the first thing you must have faith in, is God. You must take your testimony to an active use, and put your faith and trust in him. Believe that he is all powerful. Believe that he is all knowing. Believe that he has a divine plan and purpose. Believe that you are his child and are of limitless potential.
Once you can firmly say that you have faith in God, now you must believe in yourself. How can you exercise faith to exert change if you don’t first believe in yourself? This is not arrogance. It’s not boasting in your own strength, this is believing that you can affect change, that you do not have to be some simple bystander, but that the Lord wants you to participate, and play a part.
Now shift your focus to something else in your life that matters. Clearly it must be a righteous desire, or at least with righteous intentions. Remember the steps – look through the lens of optimism, see what it is that it CAN be, then actively hope for it to be that way, and now believe that it will come to pass.
And don’t worry, it’s not meant to be easy. Belief is when the muscle is fully flexed, which is not often easy (although it does get easier). When your muscles are fully flexed you quickly experience fatigue. When you exercise your faith, you may find the same kind of experience. But don’t worry, just like exercising, the more you exercise, the more your endurance grows. Experienced distance runners are able to run great distances and feel minimal effects because they’ve toned their body for the endeavor. Such it is with faith. The more you work that muscle, the easier it becomes, the more you can do, and the less tiring it is.
Now, don’t let yourself stop believing, don’t succumb to fatigue and give in because it’s too difficult. Faith is all about perseverance. Be confident, trust in God, and believe.
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