I preached recently from the book of James, where Jimmy was talking about faith and deeds. He foolishly believes the two should line up. Actually, I am just foolish enough to believe the same.
But as difficult as it might sound to actually do what you say you believe, faith is harder than that. See, I think faith should actually translate into how you hope for things. This is where I've struggled lately and I've been appreciative of some people who have reminded me so.
I believe in God. But more than that, I believe God has great plans for me and for the church I work with. This is not me saying I believe in my best life now or some pie-in-the-sky romance novel version of my life. You know the kind; where money always rolls in and you achieve everything practical and impractical, all within a nice abbreviated version of what reality would ever afford.
But I do believe my faith in a BIG God should move me to hope BIG. To dream BIG. To expect BIG. This only makes sense if I actually believe in a BIG God. This only works in a reality where I am not at the center.
2 Chronicles 20 tells a story of King Jehoshaphat. He received word that a big army from Moab and Ammon were coming to attack. They pray and ask God what to do. God tells them not to worry. Go and take up positions, but God tells them they will not have to fight.
King Jehoshaphat accepts this and sends out the choir ahead of the army to sing praises to God.
You only send out a choir to the front lines if…
1. You really hate how that choir sounds.
I mean, you really hate how this choir sounds. The sopranos are shrill, the altos are flat, the tenors are sharp and the baritones can't find a right note to save their souls, no matter how many times you've practiced the same line.
How do you fix a broken choir? Send them into battle.
2. You actually believe God will do what He says He will do.
It's simple math. You believe in God + You believe what He says = Your actions.
People that kill and steal and say they believe in God are liars. I sometimes wish it were more complicated than that, especially when it's my actions that are contrary to what I say I believe. But it isn't complicated. Sometimes I am just a liar. A hypocrite. A sinner who needs more grace.
But I believe in a God of BIG time grace. So my action, even when I stumble, will be to turn back to God. Not only do I hope for it. I believe in it.