An active faith starts with small beginnings
The Gospels tell us that our faith is like a mustard seed, though small, it can grow to become a big tree. Our faith can start small. It is alright to start small. We should not despise small beginnings. Never think that something is too small for us to do for God. If we miss these small beginnings, then we may not start doing anything at all, not to say grow something big. Rev Edmund Chan once said, “Dream big, start small and build deep.” If our faith is active, we would have a lot of small beginnings—small little things that we do to transform our own lives for the sake of God, self and others. One day, these little things would make great impact in the kingdom of God.
An active faith makes effort to grow in transitions
Sometimes we are discouraged to see how slow our faith grows. As Rome is not built in a day, our faith will not grow substantially overnight too. For a mustard seed to grow into a big tree, that would take years. There is no need to get discouraged if we are moving slowly. The important thing is that we are moving! As it is written in 2 Peter 1:5-7, “For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” The verse before this tells us that the motivation to grow in faith is Christ. We can grow in faith because of His divine power and great promises. Peter went on to tell us that we need to make every effort to add to our faith. This faith is being added on incrementally when we walk in tandem with God. We are not transformed over night, but bit by bit and step by step. Verse 8 made it clear, “For if you possess these qualities in increasing (italics mine) measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If the world has been telling us to be effective and productive, it is time to be effective and productive in Christ first! Let God sail us through those transitions in faith, He does not want us to stay stagnant.
An active faith acts from within
I am sure most of us are familiar with James argument regarding faith and deeds in Chapter 2. But we need to take note that this is not only an external behaviour, but something that stems from within. In fact, an active faith begins with the right attitude. James argued that if we were biased against the poor, it is as though our faith is dead. Our faith, then is one that is “for show only”. We can easily fall into this trap of performance these days. We can serve because of our need to perform (and sometimes for others to see) rather than worshipful acts from within. Inside us, we may be hollow. Someday, we may just breakdown. Take down that mask and be genuine. Let acts of faith grow from within us. It is never too late and too slow because we have a God that is greater than what we think, behave and act.
Things don’t always go our way. But it is during these times that we show who we really are. Is what that is within us really greater than that which is in the world? Or our inner world collapses when things go wrong?
There are some people who tend to run away when things go wrong. They don’t want to face the reality. They try to avoid the situations for fear that they would be reminded of their hurts and pain. They don’t even want to come to God for help. Some just feel too guilty to come near God. However, running away can aggravate the situation and complicate the matter.
Instead of running away, we should run towards God. While God may not give us a direct solution to our situation, He guides us to the right path. He cools us down to grants us sensibility and serenity. He shows us the truth and empowers us to handle the situation.
Next time when something goes wrong as it always will, run towards God, not away from Him.