“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.