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Living By Faith: How to Do It


person questioning what they readJesus Christ taught people not to think about how to feed and clothe themselves.

(Matthew 6:25-32) He said that if we would work to build his kingdom, God would feed and clothe us. (Matthew 6:33) He called labourers to come and work for him, (Matthew 11:29-30) and not to labour for the "food that perishes". (John 6:27) He said that we cannot work for two employers at the same time, and that making money and serving God are mutually exclusive motives for doing things. (Luke 16:13) He said that if we do not leave everything we own, we cannot call ourselves his followers. (Luke 14:33)

Common sense tells us that such teachings just wouldn't work in today's world. So most of us reject outright what Jesus said.

Yet, if Jesus is really the Son of God, then maybe we ought to put more faith in him than in "common sense". Maybe we ought to at least give his teachings a try. The people who prepared this article did, and they found that faith really works... that God really is alive and active today... that Jesus Christ not only knew what he was talking about, but that he had the key to solving all of the world's problems. If you would like to practise living by faith, then here are some practical tips, based on our own experiences, and on the teachings of Jesus.

PRAY


pesron praying while others argueThe first, and most important, lesson is this: learn to pray. Not long hours of self-torture, or eloquent recitations, but real, gut-level honesty with God

and with yourself. If you're going to climb out of a boat and try to walk on water, you can't afford to have misplaced faith. You must ask God to show you His will clearly, from the teachings of His Son.

God will use many different means to feed and clothe you, and if you are not brutally honest, you will soon be trusting the means more than you trust God. Prayer will help you to stay honest.

SIMPLIFY


The Bible says to be content with food and clothing. (1 Timothy 6:8) Jesus instructed us to pray only for enough food for today. (Luke 11:3) If God gives you literature, musical instruments, vehicles, buildings, computers, or whatever to use for him, that's fine. But you don't have to have these things. People who think they must have such things are always working for something that they decided they needed, instead of getting to work right now with what God has given them to work with.

If you have hands, legs, a strong back, a voice, and/or a good mind to use to share God's love with others, then you have more than enough to get started... right now!

SELL


When you only need enough cash for your daily bread, it's not so difficult to believe that you can survive at least for a while on the resources that you already have. Start selling the things you have, and using the funds for the poor. (Luke 12:32-34) Any time you find yourself without food enough for today, you can classify yourself as "poor", and some of the funds can go toward feeding yourself.

person selling up everything to follow GodResist the temptation to give your worldly wealth to family and friends, who do not need them. Make the rich pay for your possessions if they want them, and use the proceeds to help those who are really in need, as Jesus commanded. You may find yourself with sufficient funds to assist with things like transport and literature to get this message of living by faith out to other people as well. This, too, is part of what Jesus has told us to do (Mark 16:15)... as long as you never go into debt to do so (Romans 13:8), and as long as you don't hang onto things because "someday" you may be able to use them for God. (James 5:2-3)

GIVE



If you are miserly with the funds or possessions you have when you are "living by faith", then you aren't really living by faith. Don't be trapped into thinking that everyone else must do the giving now, and you must always be the receiver.

Try to regularly give something... secretly... totally... (whether or not the recipient deserves it) without any strings attached. Guard against giving in the hope of getting something in return, or to build up a good reputation. It is your secret giving that is the real measure of your faith in God, and it will also be the greatest faith-builder, as you see God himself responding in ways that you had never expected.

chickens quarrelling

WORK


different types of workLiving by faith should not be a cop-out from social responsibility. You just have a different Employer (God) and a different motive (Love). Be constantly watching and listening for practical ways to show God's love. While others concentrate on jobs that offer prestige or good pay, you can look for where the greatest needs are, then seek to meet them. If you are not working, you are not living by faith. You'll show your faith by your works (James 2:18), and if you refuse to work for your new Employer, you just might find that he refuses to feed you! (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

ASK


Greedy people have no shame about asking for ridiculous sums of money for themselves and for their products. So why should God's people, who are ready to give their lives in service to others, feel guilty about asking for help in some small way?

Jesus commanded his disciples, when arriving in a town, to "ask who is worthy" to help them, and to eat the food and accept the shelter that these people provide. He added: "The labourer is worthy of his hire." (Matthew 10:10-11, Luke 10:7-8)

Greedy people will invariably condemn non-greedy people for being 'poor' (since they judge everyone on the basis of how much money they make). But it's the greedy people who are not worthy of helping us, and we need not soil ourselves by accepting their money. On the other hand, neither should we let them make us feel unworthy when we accept help from people who do appreciate what we are doing.

people living in community and sharing

SHARE



Because love involves a minimum of two people, Jesus only promises that his Spirit will be present where "two or three people gather together" to promote his cause. (Matthew 18:20)

Our prayers and our testimonies have far more weight when expressed in company with other Christians. (Matthew 18:19; Luke 10:1; Hebrews 10:28)

Early Christians lived together, and shared everything in common. (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-35) This unity made them stronger corporately, and also made them stronger individuals, because they were able to learn from each other, and to correct one another when errors arose.

CONCLUSION


Well, that's the theory. Now, it's time for you to put it into practice. "Don't say, in four months I'll begin to harvest. The harvest, indeed, is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Pray that God will send forth labourers into his harvest field." (John 4:35; Matthew 9:37)

(See Also Keep on Planting.)

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