What or where is the place of faith? Is it a physical location? No, it is where we are when we step out into the unknown in blind yet obedient faith because that is all that is we have left. Our Christian vocabulary is filled with ideas, quotes, and even promises from God that are meant for our comfort and reassurance. As real as God’s Word is, what happens when all has been recalled and rehearsed and we still find ourselves alone at the place of faith?
What or where is the Place of Faith? Is it a physical location or building? No, the Place of Faith is where we are when we step or leap into the unknown in blind, yet obedient faith. It is the time and place when we are absolutely counting on God’s ability zone to exceed our comfort zone. It is when we do not lean on our own understanding and we are trusting God instead of ourselves, because that’s all that’s left.
Our Christian vocabulary or vernacular is filled with ideas, quotes and even promises from God that are meant to remind us of the wonderful plans He has for us. If not His wonderful plan, His divine escape route that will snatch us up from certain disaster. I’ve written two books on those subjects, they are real and can be believed, yet there is more.
As real as God’s Word is, what happens when all the talk and platitudes and even promises have been recalled and rehearsed and we find ourselves scared and alone at the Place of Faith?
What happens when we face a Goliath, or find ourselves in a lion’s den? Where is the escape route when it feels like we are in a fiery furnace? Paul was run out of town, stoned, shipwrecked, snake-bitten and imprisoned, but we probably will not face those problems.
What happens when there are family issues, illness, job situations and the fears that we face in the 21st Century? What happens when even with all our knowledge, understanding and even pride, we find ourselves knocked to our knees at the Place of Faith?
I want to answer the questions that will help you and help you now. Why? Not because I’m so smart, but because I need the answers myself. God has equipped me, in fact, gifted me with the ability to write. That’s not completely true. He has gifted me with the ability to put on paper thoughts that come from Him to me. That is the way He speaks to me, I take pen in hand, with no preconceived notion and a word becomes a phrase and then an outline. A line of thought comes and sounds better to me than anything I had ever thought about before. God speaks to all of us and in different ways. We need to discover that for ourselves and tap into His thoughts. He may reveal Himself through prayer, meditation, encouragement from others, time alone or simply while walking around the block. However it is, we need to know how to seek Him while He may be found. (Isaiah 55:6)
You can listen to teachers and preachers, you can read books and go to Bible studies but God wants more. We have to understand right here and now that the Bible is His thoughts and words and they have been recorded for our own good. Paul says in II Timothy 3:16, the Bible is useful for teaching correction and reproof. That means we can believe and depend on it for advice. I will be quoting from and paraphrasing the Bible many times. These quotes are included for two purposes. First, to validate the point I am making. Secondly, to draw you into the word of God so the truths may be revealed to you as they have to me.
Jesus’ brother James, who led the new church after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven was most likely the first to write any of what has become known as the New Testament. By far the majority of the New Testament was written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John or Paul and it is significant that the first recorded words came
from the brother of Jesus. In his very first thoughts he says that hard times will come.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (3) because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
That doesn’t mean we suffer, it means we’re to work, to have action in our lives. A little further over he says we are to not be mere hearers of the Word, but doers. (James 1:22)
There it is. Our belief in God leads us to and is validated by faith in action. James 2:17 also says that faith without works is dead. When we come to the Place of Faith it must be with faith, an alive, active faith or we will not progress beyond that point and we most certainly will not be happy with the outcome. We must realize that faith without action really isn’t faith at all.
In our supposed active and perhaps stoic Christian life we have to know that quite often it is God who is waiting on us to exhibit a little faith and not us waiting on Him to bless us.
Ben Patterson has said that what we wait for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. I think he is right. We are reminded in 2 Corinthians 9:6 and Galatians 6:7 that we do reap what we sow. Also, in Isaiah 30:23 God sends rain to the fields that have already been planted. That means we are responsible to do our part. We have to take an action that God will bless if we want God to bless us.
Jesus says the same thing in Matthew 7:24-27. We are to build our house on a sound foundation because when the storms come, and they will, our house will stand.
So we must be ready for the attacks, we must be prepared, because we are responsible. We must learn how to lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) but rather trust in God and pray, not my will, but thy will be done and sometimes step out, perhaps even leap blindly in faith.
One of the best examples of a step in faith is recorded in Matthew 14:22-23 where Peter steps out of the boat during a storm and walks on water as Jesus calls him. What happens next is perhaps one of the best examples of how doubting can get us in trouble.
So why a whole book when the answer comes in one word, action? I hope to answer that for you and me and reinforce the foundation of our faith as we examine what happens when we are in and navigate through the Place of Faith.
What we seek in the Place of Faith is answers, and direction and relief. Sometimes, however, that takes awhile. As good as the spoken word is, I gain calm and often insight from hymns. Many hymns have more practical theological insight than some sermons I’ve heard. To finish each chapter will be a hymn that speaks to and reassures us about the subject of the chapter. I pray they minister to you as they do me.
There also will be a few “Points to Ponder” questions. They are not hard, just something for you to consider.
Jim Greene makes his home in Knoxville, Tennessee. His countless hours in the outdoors and over two thousand miles backpacking have often blessed him with topics to write about.
As a layman Sunday school teacher, he challenges himself and his class to strive for and enjoy a closer relationship with God. Jim’s first book, Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness, provides an eye-opening explanation of the Christian disciplines as Christ-modeled activities and the path to spiritual greatness through a seven-week daily devotional study.
Jim’s second book, Thoughts on Mountain Climbing, is his personal journal covering years of dreams, disappointments, triumph, and sage acceptance as a fifty-four-year-old Tennessee backpacker takes up mountain climbing. It is as much about dealing with goal setting and personal development as it is mountain climbing.
Jim’s third book was God’s Answer: Praying the Scriptures about Today’s Problems. God’s Word is more than a history book or even instruction manual. It is a personal love letter from God to his believers, and it contains very specific promises. God’s Answer seeks to heart-link your concerns with His Promises and help you pray back the Scripture to Him.