Becoming A Woman of Purposeful Faith
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” Hebrews 11:6
Living a purposeful faith comes down to this very verse. The crux of a Christian walk is to please God, and as Hebrews 11:6 states, “without faith it is impossible to please him.” But if faith is a requirement of pleasing God, we should have a solid grasp of what faith is.
What is Faith?
Faith is a word we hear quite often in Christian circles. But honestly, how often do we use this word and not really have a firm grasp on what it means? Most people, if asked, “What is faith?” would likely give an answer relating to belief, and though that is true, it still only gives us the tip of the iceberg. In order to live a purposeful faith, we absolutely must know its full meaning. Faith, pistis, in the Greek language, means a conviction of truth, a belief, firm persuasion. If only we would live our Christian walk with this meaning of faith!
Firm persuasion. My translation: FULLY CONVINCED! Do we live and walk out our faith as if we are fully convinced? Living a purposeful faith requires us to be fully convinced. It means we are ALL IN! Take a look at what Paul says about Abraham:
“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Romans 4:19-21
Abraham lived his life fully convinced. He did not just believe in God, but he believed God. He knew God and that He would keep His promises. Did Abraham falter? Absolutely, but the bottom line was that he was all in!
The Components of Faith
The first two components are taken out of Hebrews 11:1- Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. This is by far the best verse to bring clarity to the meaning of faith. Let’s break down some of the meanings of these words:
1 | “The substance of things hoped for…”
Substance is a scientific word, hypostasis, which means the opposite of hypothesis or theory, that which has actual existence.
Hope is an interesting word, as it has a very different meaning than what we use in our culture today. We use hope as something we wish for. Like the small child at Christmas with their wish-list, has a hope that every item will be received. It is a desire in our hearts regarding what we would like or want to happen. On the contrary, this word in the Greek, elpizō, means absolute surety. It’s not a desire that we wish for, but rather a promised outcome.
2 | “…Evidence of things unseen.”
Evidence, or elegchos, is a legal term. Evidence of something means it has been verified. Evidence points to the truth. It is a factual reality as opposed to a fantasy. This is tangible proof that we have and experience through our senses.
Faith is not a theory, but an absolute surety of spiritual reality. It is verified proof of things we have yet to see. It reminds me of Charlie from The Santa Clause. He was having a discussion about believing in Santa Claus with his step father Neil. Neil is trying to convince Charlie that Santa is not real, and asks Charlie if he has ever seen Santa. Charlie has seen Santa, and in fact his dad, Scott Calvin in the new Santa. Charlie rebutts Neil’s question with another question, “Have you ever seen a million dollars?” Neil responds with a no. Charlie answers with a rather insightful bit of wisdom, “Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.” Right now, we walk by faith and not by sight. But one day faith will no longer be required. Because of our belief we will see!
How Purposeful Faith Shapes Our Actions
The next three components come from Hebrews 11:6.
We need to come to God
Come, or proserchomai, means to draw near. In James 4:8 we are told to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. Without coming to God, you have no author and finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). Faith without coming to God is like a book without an author: nonexistent.
We need to believe that He is
Believe, pisteuō, means to be convinced of. I read once that to believe something is to act as if it were so. How are we acting? Our actions show more of what we believe than what we say. What are your actions showing.They show what you believe to be true about God?
We need to diligently seek Him
If we do not live in order to seek God, it can only be because we do not really believe Him, or that He is not worthy of our attention. To seek Him, ekzēteō, to crave Him, is of utmost importance to our faith. You’re either growing in faith, or diminishing. Unintentionality creates stagnant faith: if you don’t use it, your faith begins to crumble.
How to Cultivate A Purposeful Faith
Here are three ways you can cultivate a purposeful faith that honors God and edifies not just you, but those around you.
1| Read and study the Word
Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
To have a purposeful faith we have to be in the Word. Abiding in Christ is crucial to knowing our purpose, and knowing our purpose is vital to becoming a woman of purposeful faith. We need to be intentional about being in the Word.
2| Respond to the Holy Spirit
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26
We need to be responding to the Spirit of God. We must be diligent in spiritual disciplines of reading, praying, and listening to the voice of the Lord in order to live out a purposeful faith.
3| Requires Action in Obedience
…Faith without works is dead (James 2:26)
Faith requires action. Works is not the price, but the proof of our salvation. If we were to take a minute and read through Hebrews 11, known as The Hall of Faith, we would see every person listed had an action involved.
We can have all the knowledge of faith, but until we take intentional action steps our faith will not grow. We need to, as Jude 3 says, “Earnestly contend for the faith.” As we grow, our faith starts to shape our thoughts, actions, and behaviors and we start living and walking out a purposeful faith.