5 Keys to Develop Active Faith

Active faith gives thanks for a promise even though it is not yet performed, knowing that God’s contracts are as good as cash. –Matthew Henry[1] (paraphrase)


Matthew Henry (1662-1714) possessed active faith. Henry was a minister and author whose most notable work was the Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. His Biblical commentary continues to rank as one of the highest regarded commentaries for scholars. When I read his quote, I paused and pondered its significance for days. The researcher in me dug in. I wanted to know what an active faith would look like in my life as I navigate today’s culture.


An Active Faith…


1. Gives Thanks: Living ingratitude transforms what we have into enough. Jesus displayed this step of active faith when He fed 5, 000 people with a little boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fish. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish” (John 6:11 NIV).

What I love about this story is that Jesus didn’t just provide just enough for everyone to get their fill but, John writes they filled twelve baskets of leftovers.[2]. – Jesus knew the importance of giving thanks to the Father reminding the crowd of their ultimate provider. And more miraculously, the disciples had more leftovers than the initial lunch! Whatever we place in God’s hands with gratitude will return to us seeing Him use our offering in remarkable ways.


2. Believes: Our identity as Christians rests in the belief that God is a grave robber and defeated death. We serve a resurrected Savior. The tomb of Christ remains empty. He is a living Savior, active in our lives, We believe “All things are possible for the one who believes” (Mark 9:23 NASB).


Our resurrected Lord is in the restoration business. He turns Graves into Gardens, He restores sight to the blind, He revives withered hands, and He repairs broken relationships. Sometimes the curve balls of life can threaten our beliefs. But like the father who begged Jesus to heal his little boy, we need to confess, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NASB) We can trust He is working all things together for our good and His purposes. (Romans 8:28)


3. Prays: The apostle Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, offered concise advice on prayer. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB). What does prayer without ceasing look like in our everyday life? In the morning when we rise, we pray a prayer of thanks for rest through the night and breath in our lungs. We pray to see evidence of God throughout our day, and we stay tuned in. We pray for the lives of our friends and family, our pastors and leaders, and the war in Ukraine (or whatever God places on your heart). When we have decisions to make and we don’t know what to do, we pray the prayer of Jehoshaphat “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NASB)


Jesus offers an example or template of how to pray, called “The Lord’s Prayer:”


“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV)


4. Shows Up: Journalists attribute that Woody Allen said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life. Sometimes it’s easier to hide home in bed. I’ve done both.”[3] While we might not hide home in bed, I imagine if I polled a group, we’d discover we procrastinate over the simplest activities. How would our lives look if we did the thing and intentionally showed up? What would that look like for you? One way I’m being intentional is by changing out of my pajamas and into athletic clothes first thing in the morning. By making the change, my mind shifts from lingering mode to active mode. Even if I don’t go for a walk until that evening, I’ve shown up to be active in my day, dressed, and ready to make strides to a healthier me.


In shepherd boy turned king, David’s Twenty-third Psalm shows God’s intentional heart toward us. Verse five states, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” Each day God prepares a banquet table for us to share with him. If God had a cell phone, He’d power it off. For as long as we sit at the table, we have His supernatural undivided attention. Not only does He give us all His time and attention, but He does so in the presence of our enemies! In Louie Giglio’s book, Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table, he writes, “You are in a spiritual battle, and the enemy is trying to wedge his seeds of doubt, fear, anger, and distrust into your consciousness. He’s trying to get a seat at the “table” of your mind so he can feed you lies and lead you down paths he wants you to travel on.”[4] The benefits of God’s table only apply if we show up and intentionally spend time with the Lord daily, in prayer and reading His Word. We can’t grab a cup of coffee and donut from His table and say, “Oh, gotta go.”


5. Growth Mindset: Did you know how you think affects what you achieve? It’s true. Psychologists refer to one’s mindset as either fixed or growing. A fixed mindset refers to people who believe their traits are fixed and therefore can’t change. For example, they might say, “I’m not good at playing the piano.” However, a growth mindset refers to a person who believes their skill or ability can change with effort.[5] A growth mindset individual might say, “I’ve been playing the piano for six months and now I can read music and play more than “Three Blind Mice."


Scripture has a lot to say about our Spiritual Growth Mindset. Perhaps the most recognizable verse in this area is For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NASB). Paul also wrote, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NASB)


“God does not give us ready money (cash). He issues promissory notes and then pays them when faith presents them at the throne. Each one of us has a checkbook.” –T. L. Cuvler


Active faith gives thanks, believes, prays, shows up, and possesses a growth mindset. By using these five keys, we can cultivate personal active faith for daily life.


As we show up each morning with our eyes fixed on Christ, thanking Him for His daily mercies, praying without ceasing, we will grow more and more Christlike than the day before.


Actively walking with you,

April Dawn White


© 2022 April Dawn White


References:

[1] Streams in the Desert page 85. [2] John 6:13 [3] https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/06/10/showing-up/ [4] Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table, Louie Giglio, Passion Publishing 2021. 11 [5] https://christianespinosa.com/blog/fixed-vs-growth-mindset/#:~:text=A%20fixed%20mindset%20is%20limiting,but%20it's%20still%20very%20doable.

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