“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NIV)
Most of us aren’t confident or courageous. Most of us are flat out scared to death. We’re afraid to take risks, afraid of failure, and afraid of dying. We’re not walking confidently because we’re not people of faith.
Do you want to be a person of faith? Faith is God’s Word activated. The Bible says in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word about Christ” (NIV).
If you’ve ever read a verse in the Bible and all of a sudden thought, “I can do this! I can do this!” you’ve just had your faith activated by the Word of God.
It’s the difference between the Bible and self-help books. Self-help books often give you helpful insight. They can tell you the right thing to do, but they just don’t give you the power to do it. Self-help books tell you that you should stop worrying or you should give up all your bad habits. Helpful, yes, but you don’t have the power to keep the advice. Those books aren’t alive.
But God’s Word not only tells you what to do; it gives you the power to do it. And it increases your faith as you do it.
When I read the thousands of promises in the Bible where God says he’ll act on our behalf if we obey him in some manner, it gives me confidence. I know that if I do what God asks of me, he has promised a certain result.
I was depressed for most of 1981. I had just moved to Southern California to start Saddleback the year before. I was exhausted emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I felt like I had a cloud over my head that I just couldn’t escape from.
I’ll never forget some of the verses that really activated my faith, Exodus 23:29-30: “But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”
God had promised the Israelites the Promised Land. They were going to go across the Jordan River into Israel and take on some tribes that were already living there. They didn’t think they could do it. They thought the goal was too big.
In Exodus 23:29-30, God is saying to the Israelites, “You know these enemies? They’re bigger than you. But I’m not going to give you the whole land in the first year. You’re going to take it over a little bit at a time — one battle at a time. You’re growing stronger. When you’re strong enough to handle it all, you’ll get it all.”
When I read those verses, it was like a promise coming directly to me. I realized I didn’t have to accomplish it all in the first year. I’m going to spend the rest of my life serving Jesus Christ, and I’ll do it on his timetable and at his pace.
That understanding gave me confidence to take on enormous goals. The Word activated my faith. God’s Word can activate your faith, too.
Talk About It
What do you want God to accomplish in your life? Do you believe that he will do it?
What do you think God wants to accomplish in your life? Are you confident that he will give you what you need to carry it out?
Which of God’s promises are you claiming today?
Rick Warren on Muslims, Evangelism, and Missions -- Pastor Rick often says “you never win your enemies to Christ, only your friends.” And he's gone past the limits some believers are willing to broach in order to form friendships and love a world in need of Jesus. Because this part of Pastor Rick’s ministry is sometimes misunderstood, we offer this interview where he clearly explains his beliefs and the biblical foundation for reaching out to those who do not believe in Christ, even if it means going places where the Gospel is never preached.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.