The Leap of Faith
There is abundant scripture that clearly explains that we are saved by faith and nothing else. If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for our sins, we will be saved. If you want to know the Christian perspective on something, the best way to do it is to understand what Christ said about it. And we come to the conclusion that Jesus saves, based upon the words of Jesus himself. He said that if we believe in Him, we are saved. In particular, we read the story of the woman who washed Jesus feet at the home of the Pharisee. Jesus says to her clearly and unequivocally that she was saved from her sins because of her belief.
You have to understand and acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God. Certainly, many people study and go to church for years before they take that first step. But I suspect that there are just as many people who make that first decision to trust Jesus spontaneously, in response to a crisis or emotional presentation. Or, perhaps their hearts are simply open to the idea. I think the Holy Spirit can predisposition us to accepting Jesus, without a lot of deep thought or analysis. The idea simply and clearly resonates for us. And with very little church involvement or Christian education, they simply and purely decide to trust Him with their lives.
In fact, that pure step of faith can become more difficult, the longer we wait to do it. This is because we get so caught up in the troubles of this world, that we lose our ability to muster faith. Instead, we become cynical, jaded and pessimistic. We lose our child-like ability to trust. This make it difficult for us to believe that God does love us.
The Faith Walk: Faith in Jesus for
There are people who will tell you to ask Jesus in to your heart and have faith in Him, and then all your problems will be solved. But for many, that first step can be a gigantic. And in my case, it certainly wasn’t true. Although I had taken that first step of faith, I did not continue in a daily walk of faith in Him.
This seeming contradiction is because we are really talking about two kinds of faith.
The first kind of faith is that initial leap of faith that they took when they first accepted Jesus as their savior. This faith is in the fact that Jesus’ death is sufficient to pay for their sins and restore them to a personal relationship with God. The second kind of faith is an active, ongoing belief that God is in control and will take care of us. It is the conscious act of trusting God with every single aspect of your life. It is what some Christians call their faith walk.
As opposed to a leap of faith, this faith is a dynamic thing. I suppose that when I first believed, it took a fair amount of faith to believe in salvation through Jesus. But today, many years after I first believed, I see the evidence of God throughout my life, by virtue of events and occurrences that I cannot explain
any other way. So, my belief in Jesus today requires substantially less faith than when I was younger.
Certainly, both kinds are ultimately faith in the same thing- God is in control and will take care of us. But understanding faith in this way helps you to understand the reason why your initial belief in Jesus may or may not actually solve all of your problems. Whether your daily problems are solved depends upon whether you decide to practice your faith on a daily, if not an hourly (or even more frequent) basis.
The faith walk is the type of faith that Jesus talked about frequently with his followers. Two particular examples involve storms on the seas. In the first example,
following what Christians refer to as the “sermon on the mount,”Jesus and his followers got on a boat and found themselves in the middle of a furious storm.
Jesus, presumably exhausted from a day filled with teaching to thousands
and miraculously healing people, fell asleep in the boat. When the storm suddenly erupted, his followers were terrified. Jesus asked them why they had so little
faith. Then he rebuked the storm, and it died down. Later, during another storm, Jesus walks on the sea during a storm to join his followers on a boat. The apostle Peter, seeing Jesus walking on the water, climbed out of the boat to join him. Certainly, his act was an admirable leap of faith. But soon after, Peter began to doubt and more immediately, sink. Jesus reached out, saved Peter and asked him why he doubted.
It is unlikely that Jesus would have chastised his followers for their lack of faith, if this were something beyond their control. Jesus’ position was that faith is something that believers can strengthen. We exercise our faith by conscious decision. And our faith is strengthened as a result of our relinquishment of every care, worry, hope, dream and anything else in our lives to him; and his divine ntervention in our daily lives. We learn to trust him because we learn that he can be
This is the upside to human choice and free will. On the one hand, our God-given ability to choose means that we can choose to sin. But on the other hand, we can choose to trust Him, every step of the way. Walking in faith is sort of like having a song playing in your head. It’s there, but you can choose to change the song. Or, it’s like a child afraid to sleep with the lights out. It might take some real effort, but she can decide that she will not be afraid. She consciously chooses to
ignore the boogeyman lurking under her bad.
In our daily faith walk, we encounter obstacles and issues along the way. They may manifest themselves obviously or they may be subtle. We all have our own obstacles and hot buttons. For some of us, fear is a big obstacle. It might be fear of failure. For others, it could be greed or lust. But the obstacles all have one thing in common. They are, in reality, obstacles that keep us from trusting God at that particular moment. But we have the power to choose to ignore these obstacles and simply trust Him with whatever it is. And the more that we trust in Him, the more that we realize that He can be trusted.
Christianity is as much a process as it is anything else. From the moment we take that first leap of faith, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. And the Holy Spirit helps us to grow our faith. This ongoing growth- faith and obedience leads us to more faith and obedience, is called sanctification. Sanctification is the process of Christian growth, caused by our faith in Jesus, and enriched by our study of the Word of God.
Slowly but surely, we get better and better. We sin less and experience a new life- this is what being “born again” really means. So, although technically all of it is God’s work, you have to participate, essentially by getting out of God’s way and letting his Holy Spirit work in your life. In other words, you stop resisting Him and step into that river which He created, He guides and the ultimate destination that He wants for you- to become like Jesus.
Ephesians 2, John 3, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 15,
1 John 5.