Friday, June 3, 2016

Words of Faith: Pastor Dave Arnold teaches how to use faith as action

Act Faith
A Words of Faith story by Dave Arnold

“Luke,” I say to my five-year-old, “can you please pick up your toys?”

“Nah,” he responds, “I don’t feel like it.”

This is common dialogue in my family. My kids often say to my wife and me, “I don’t feel like it.” And truth be told, I say it often too (many times within my own head).

The truth is, we often go by our feelings, don’t we? We don’t feel like taking out the trash, changing a soiled diaper, walking the dog, or even going to work. But as adults, we learn to force ourselves to do these things.

Why? 
Because if we go by our feelings, we’re in trouble.

The same principle is true when it comes to faith. If we’re honest, we don’t feel faith often.

This was a hard pill for me to swallow when I first gave my life to Christ at age seventeen. After my conversion, I felt so alive, so filled… and I thought this feeling would last forever. I remember facing each day with such confidence and joy. My heart was truly changed.

But after a few months, the “honeymoon” stage of my faith changed. The feelings weren’t the same and it seemed harder to spend time in God’s Word or in prayer. Temptations I thought were long gone started to creep back in. “What is going on?” I asked myself. “I thought I was saved.”

Is this not the struggle of faith?
As I matured, I read in Scripture a principle that changed my perspective. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV).

For whatever reason, God continually reminds me of this verse. And I think the reason is because I so easily am tempted to rely on sight and on what is temporal. Yet, throughout Scripture, God’s people are called to live by faith and for that which is unseen.

The question is this: What do we do when we don’t feel faith, when we feel spiritually cold and indifferent to God and spiritual things? We act faith.

When I lived in Chicago, the Lord led me to work with a non-for-profit agency as a Case Manager. I loved the job and I could visibly see the difference it made in people’s lives. But I didn’t start out that way.

I’ll never forget my first week. The Case Manger I replaced only did a one-day training with me. And as he shared about all the details of the job – including how to enter data into the computer software program – I felt completely overwhelmed. There were times I would just look at him and smile and nod…but I had no idea what he was talking about.

So what did I do? I faked it. You’ve heard the phrase, "fake it until you make it"? Well, that’s what I did. And you know what? After a few months, I got it. I understood my job. But it was most certainly a process.

I think it’s the same with our faith. We don’t understand why things happen this way or that; we don’t know why we struggle or doubt of feel alone. But if we learn to act faith by trusting God, one day we will “get it.” It’s that “aha” moment where we say, “Okay, no I see why I had to go through that or felt this way…”.

The great Scottish preacher of the 19th-century, Alexander Whyte, said this in a letter to a friend about what to do when you feel faithless:

“Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Act faith if you do not feel it… Though cold and faithless at first, love and faith will come. Do not wait for a surge of feeling, think of Him at once… Many times I feel so cold and dead that I might doubt if I had ever come to Him at all; but I go about my work notwithstanding, looking in His direction, and my heart fills by and by with His love to me… It is simple–keep looking; He will take care of the seeing.”

So, dear reader, keep looking and let Him take care of the seeing. Keep "acting" faith and learn continually what it means to walk by faith, not by sight.

~*~
Author bio: 


Dave is married to Angie. They have two children, Luke and Angelina, and live in Michigan. Dave has worked as a pastor for a number of years and was also involved in social work and community development. Dave is currently an author, speaker, blogger, and recently started adjunct teaching at a university. Dave is passionate about teaching the Bible and empowering people to be all that God has created them to be. You can learn more at his website www.davearnoldspeaks.com

~*~
Connect with Dave:
Twitter - https://twitter.com/davejarnold16/

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me Alexis! God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Pastor Dave! Thanks for sharing your story on my blog. God bless you! :)

      Delete