Faith Is the Starting Point
By Maria Fontaine
Download Audio (9.9MB)
“This is the victory that overcomes the world, even your faith.” “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”—1 John 5:4, Hebrews 11:1
Faith is the password, the foundation of power, anointing, and victory. Faith is the starting point in whatever we feel called to do for the Lord. We need faith to obey God’s Word, faith to step out and try new and different things, faith that the Lord can use us in new ways, faith that we can facilitate the gospel being “preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.”1
Faith is vital. It’s what will enable us to walk through open doors, take advantage of golden opportunities, and follow God wherever He leads. It’s what will help us to say yes to Jesus—yes to taking a risk, yes to trying a new method in our witness, yes to taking the time to minister to that person He puts in our path, yes to not giving up on some needy soul, yes to whatever His will may be for each of us.
To get results, we need faith! Faith is what will drive us, help us to do the impossible, and to put action behind our beliefs and visions, to persevere when things are tough. Faith will catapult us over obstacles.
Sometimes faith seems a little bit mysterious, but it’s actually not complicated.We don’t have to try so hard to dissect faith or understand it. We simply need to trust in that which we have good reason to believe is true, Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith—the one who honors our trusting Him and His guidance in our lives. Once we have come to that place of trust, then we can embark on that which the Lord leads us to do with complete confidence that He will honor our trust in Him and our acknowledging Him all along the way.
We live by faith and walk by faith and it’s our “title deed,” but faith is also manifested by action. It’s a “doing” word, because faith without works is dead.2 We don’t have to feel like we have faith, or think that we have great faith. If we just start doing the things the Lord leads us to do, we’ll realize that we possess this valuable treasure—and the more we use our faith and feed it, the stronger it will grow.
(Jesus:) Have you ever seen those sports interviews in which they’re interviewing an athlete after a victory or a game that they won, and they ask the victor what gave them the edge? What gave them the upper hand so that they were able to defeat their competitor? They often say that it was confidence, that they believed in themselves, they believed in their team, and they believed that they could win.
Faith is having confidence in Me. Faith is knowing that you can trust Me completely. Faith knows that no matter what comes your way, or what you face, I will bring you through it; I will work things together for your good, regardless of the circumstances.
Faith isn’t something you just “have” naturally. Faith grows, it’s built over time. The more your faith is tested and the more you turn to Me and My Word, the more your faith will grow.
I can strengthen your faith when you are in faith-inducing situations. Such challenges are trying at the time, but result in greater faith if you take a stand of faith and watch Me come through for you.
Tips on how to strengthen your faith and put it into action
Be willing to take steps, especially if they stretch your faith.
Manifest your faith by taking initiative, by thinking outside of the box and breaking out of your mold or comfort zone.
Let your mind stretch. Your faith is almost always limited by your mind and what you are willing to accept as possible. Push the barriers back. Explore the uncharted seas.
Don’t let past failures, or fear of future failures, hold you back.
Settle on a plan to put your faith into action, even if it’s a plan that you know will stretch you, or that you may not feel fully ready for. Tossing around a variety of ideas is a good first step, but there comes a point where you have to look at the valid ones and select your course of action. Once you have your course of action, determine a first step. So many good ideas go nowhere because the first step isn’t taken.
Don’t stop with a good first step; have a projection you’re working with that will get you to your goal.
It’s likely that not every element of your projection will work out as planned. When that happens, realign your projection and then keep moving forward.
The basic principle of all faith and action is doing! Get started. Once you know the Lord’s will for you, get to it.
Be willing to do the hard work that comes with putting your faith into action. Faith is the underlying belief that a plan is workable and achievable. But any worthwhile venture requires elbow grease, slogging it out at times, and perseverance to see it through, and sometimes even to simply get it off the ground.
Invest time in proving your faith once you know something is God’s will. Don’t fizzle out at the first sign of difficulty. Don’t give up too soon. Faith takes the challenges, both expected and unexpected, as they come, and tackles them. It doesn’t just will them away; it devises a plan for the solution and then puts it into effect.
Be positive, but also be realistic. Putting faith into action does not mean you’re unrealistic. It means that while you’re projecting into the future and aiming toward your vision, you are also translating what that means into practical, everyday steps that you can take with God’s help.
Faith requires a will to work. Faith doesn’t lazily wait for a bolt of lightning from the sky before acting. The “bolt” may be on its way, but faith won’t be idle during that time; faith will be hard at work, both trusting the Lord and also actively doing what you can.
Don’t feel bad about having to change your plans a little along the way. Faith is not afraid to adapt plans, because of your confidence that God is in control. Change is a fellow laborer alongside faith.
Don’t be stuck in a rut as to where your faith can take you. Expect that it can take you great distances, and then get busy proving that.
Expect some setbacks, but don’t let them hold you back. Learn to work around, over, under, or even through them if need be. Setbacks often bring to light elements that were not fully accounted for in your initial plan, and as a result they can help your plan to be more successful in the long run. Faith will give you the right outlook on setbacks and help you take advantage of them as stepping stones to success.
Celebrate the victories along the way, even the little ones. Even celebrate the unexpected problems you had to resolve that then resulted in victory.
Ask for prayer from others if you feel your faith is under attack.
Be faithful to spend time in God’s Word, which helps to strengthen your faith and increase your vision.
Listen to faith-building stories and testimonies from others. Be around people with faith.
Keep a log of answered prayers. It’s a great faith booster and also an excellent aid in your times of praise and worship.
The muscle of faith doesn’t grow or get stronger by staying within your comfort zone. Once you’ve gotten one step down, then take the next one; just like an athlete who trains with heavier weights once he’s mastered a certain level. Your faith grows and gets stronger by continuing to exercise your faith.
(Jesus:) Faith is at its finest when it’s been through the wringer and still comes out with a grin. That’s the sign of durable faith. Do your part to strengthen your faith and nourish it through your times with Me and My Word.
Faith has a work element to it as well. Faith is what transfers something from a nice thought to a world-changing action. There’s nothing laid back about having faith; you need to be willing to get off your rump, roll up your sleeves, and work hard.
Your work for Me is a work of My Spirit, but it’s equally a work in the physical realm. Faith is what will take you from a mere plan to reality. Faith is not complete without action; it’s a package deal.
Faith will rock your world, because not only will you hope for great things, you will set about to take action by faith. Faith will be the substance of the things you hope for and the evidence of them even while they are yet unseen.3
Originally published August 2008. Adapted and republished July 2015.
Read by Debra Lee.