Most people, Believers and nonbelievers alike, understand that believing in and following God requires faith. Jesus spent much of his time instilling the importance of faith into his disciples. Therefore, building and demonstrating faith have always been central parts of the Christian experience. As Christians, we all have likely been exposed to a wide variety of examples of Believers demonstrating or speaking on their faith. Some of those examples may have been relatively routine such as the testimonies we often hear where Believers explain how God rewarded their faith or provided in a way that strengthened their faith. We’ve also seen or heard about examples of faith that sound almost miraculous such as with the faith healers that claim they are able to heal infirmities and sickness through their faith in Jesus, just as was done by the apostles in the Bible. You may have even heard or seen more extreme examples of displays of faith like the church services of the snake handlers in West Virginia. Part of their worship experience often involves dancing and praising God while handling live poisonous snakes. They believe that God keeps them from being bitten or will save them even in the event that they are bitten.
In all those cases, if the people are sincere, the acts they perform certainly do demonstrate faith in an undeniable way. However, as is often the case, we Christians have a tendency to overcomplicate things. The snake handler example is certainly proof of that. While exercising faith in God and acting according to His will may expose us to danger at times, the Bible does not tell us to go around needlessly putting ourselves in danger just to show that God will keep us safe. In fact, at least one example in the Bible suggests such acts are wrong for putting God to the test. When Satan tests Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11), one of his challenges was as follows:
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,The truth is that we don’t have to perform death defying acts to show that we have faith in God. Our faith also doesn’t have to revolve around isolated incidents where God seemed to really shine for us. Living every day in Christ is and should be considered an act of faith. Our lives are full of ups and downs and, at times, those downs feel far more prominent and numerous. It is at those low times when we are most able to demonstrate our faith. For many of us, our natural response is to worry and fret when faced with challenges, especially in the case of those that seem insurmountable. God understands that tendency in us and Jesus himself addressed it.
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test. - Matthew 4:5-7
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? - Matthew 6:25-27Jesus was letting his followers know that God takes care of his people and that is something of which anyone who follows Him can be certain. Whenever we face hardship, we need to have the faith to move forward knowing that God will take care of us and keep us no matter what. Of course that’s easier said than done. Facing challenges such as bills you can’t pay, a troubling medical diagnosis, or wayward children (just to name a few) and not worrying might seem like an impossible task. That’s where faith comes into play. When you truly believe that God will take care of you, those things simply won’t bear the same weight. To some that may sound far-fetched, but is it really? Every day we put ourselves in precarious positions and do not even think about the dangers associated because of the faith we put into a variety of things.
Most of us find ourselves in a car at some point, either driving or riding. It is commonplace, and we don’t fret or worry about the possibility of dying in an accident every time we hit the road. Instead, we put our faith in the ability of the driver, in the attentiveness of others on the road, and in the safety measures installed in today’s vehicles. We know for a fact that every single one of those things can and do fail. We know that people are injured and even killed in car accidents. We know that every time we get into a car, we will be facing some degree of danger. Still, we accept it because commuting is something that most of us have to do, and our faith in those things mentioned before is strong enough to alleviate most of our fears. Why is the same not true with our faith in God? Why is it so difficult for us to go through our lives without worry despite knowing the troubles that lay around the corner? Maybe our faith in seat belts is stronger than our faith in God. We can see seat belts and touch them. Most of us have even felt them pull tight when we’ve had to stop short for some reason or another. Some would say we have proof that seat belts work. Do you not also have proof that God works? Haven’t you been in situations where you did not see a way out only for God to deliver you? Haven’t you had needs that you didn’t know how you’d meet only for God to provide? In the times when God comes through for us, we are often quick to give him credit, but our memories are short. Instead of giving him credit in advance as we encounter the next crisis we worry instead. Those are the times when our faith should shine the most. Even when there is no sign of movement toward resolution of our problems our faith in God shouldn’t waver. After all, according to the Bible, faith at its purest exists precisely when we don’t see those signs.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. - Hebrews 11:1
If we truly want to build and demonstrate faith, we don’t need to dance with snakes. Sometimes the simplest methods are the best methods. Just live. Live your life in obedience and free of worry knowing that God will make a way. When people see you face challenge after challenge undaunted, they will ask you how you do it. Make sure to give God the credit. At that point, you can consider your faith demonstrated.
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