What does it mean to live by faith? Is it a Que Sera, Sera thinking? (“Whatever will be, will be”) Does it mean for you to just sit back and resign yourself to whatever future God holds for you?
Resign Versus Yield
The idea of “resigning” yourself to whatever fate God has for you captures little of what it means to live by faith. On the other hand, the word “yielding” captures much of what it means to live by faith. In resigning yourself, you take on a passive pose. You do nothing and you follow whatever ebb and flow you feel God is sweeping you by. But in yielding yourself, you take on an active pose. The mind and heart is constantly at work, testing and proving possibilities. As enlightenment comes, you learn to release yourself from pursuing and prioritizing things and relationships that God has led you to forego in order for you to welcome and put more attention and energy into the more fruitful things and relationships God desires to bring into your life. The word resign carries the idea of acceptance and simple absorption. The word yield carries the idea of, yes, surrender, but can also point to a product that results from some work and effort carried out.
Living the faith life doesn’t mean I empty myself of all my thoughts, goals, and desires for my life. Rather, it means that I nurture a heart that aligns itself to the desires and goals of God for my life. For all we know, God may have already put those in us long before we were born. We only need the wisdom to know which passions are God-breathed and which ones are purely self-serving.
Indolence Versus Diligence
Resignation to fate often breeds indolence while yieldedness breeds diligence. You don’t let life happen. Rather, you make life the best it can be. To live by faith is to cooperate with God’s purposes for your life. We can only find satisfaction in this life when we know that we have a purpose and that we are fulfilling it. To feel useless and to feel so for an extended period of time can be a cause of depression and discontent in one’s capabilities and in one’s position or situation in life.
It is true that great discoveries and learnings are found in doing and experimenting. From Ecclessiastes 9:10 we learn that we should put best efforts into whatever our hands find to do. The Bible calls us to productivity. It calls us to action. In the process of doing [with a yielded spirit], we sense God’s guidance. We sense His affirmation and we see His redirections.
Sensibility Versus Intuitiveness
At times the Christian will need to let go of what is sensible and dive into something that seems unreasonable or makes little sense. God loves doing miraculous, impossible, and astounding things and for a person who depends on safety nets, these “God-Moments” may be very uncomfortable and even scary. Sense tells us to act depending on what we know to be true, that is, human reason. Intuition tells us to act depending on what we know and feel to be true even without conscious reasoning.
That is what faith is about. Hebrews 11:1 says it is about having the confidence and full assurance of what we know to be true and real even though we may not yet see the fullness of that truth and reality yet. God is good and He says that all His plans for us are for a great future and a sure hope (Jeremiah 29:11). On some days, it may not seem that way but remembering the many times God has shown up in our past assures us that God is constantly working things out for our good. (Romans 8:28). Needless to say, it takes regular meditation upon God’s Word and surrounding yourself with the right people for you to have a “reliable” and “mature” intuition. Without intimacy with God, we can be fooled into pursuing unfruitful impulses and compulsions by our deceiving hearts. (Jeremiah 17:9).
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
– Jeremiah 29:11