You are a Christian by faith.
As a Christian you live by faith.
Only faith can please God.
So, have your considered the significance of those statements?
You may have gotten the idea that God can be pleased by your singing, or song writing, or performing, or kneeling with tears of emotion, or preaching, or getting into the wonderful worship session, and so on.
If you watch the Worship Videos released by many big churches around the world today you could easily get the impression that being moved in an orchestrated worship event is the high point of Christianity.
But I am here to burst your bubble.
The ONLY thing that pleases God is your faith. (See Hebrews 11:6)
Not Your Talent
Since you can only please God with your faith, there is no reason to believe God is pleased by your talent. Your funky skills on an instrument or with a microphone may have absolutely nothing to do with faith.
Your ability to create poetic lyrics and stirring melody, or create fantastic riffs to accentuate a song, or to play the drum rhythm exactly as they do it on the Hillsong recording, counts for nothing.
ONLY YOUR FAITH pleases God. Your talent has NOTHING to do with it.
Now I don’t say that to offend those wonderful talented people who I enjoy listening to. I say that simply to pull down the wrong ideas that get sown in people’s heads.
I want you to hear what the Bible says, and not to let your wrong ideas rob you of the truth.
Evidence of Faith
So, if faith is the ONLY way you can please God what is the evidence of faith at work in your life?
Faith will lead you to works. Those works will be expressions of your trust in God.
But if you have all your needs met and have good health, good income, no worries in life and no need to rely on God, you may not have any evidence of faith.
That does not mean you cannot have faith if all your needs are met, but it does put you at risk of cruising along relying on your natural conditions and not living by faith.
Remember what I said at the start, “As a Christian you live by faith”. That is a truth stated several times in the Bible.
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17 (See also: Habakkuk 2:4, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38)
Take Ground or Hold Ground
Many years ago I realised that if I am not careful I will fall into the pattern or not living by faith. In the affluent western world we have so many support mechanisms that we often rely on God as a last resort.
We have doctors, specialists, jobs, technology, money, material goods, security systems, ready access to food, running water, gas, electricity, ambulances, and on it goes.
So how do you use faith when you don’t need to?
That’s the challenge. If you do not need to employ faith how to you “live by faith”?
The answer is that you must use faith to TAKE GROUND or you’ll have to use faith to HOLD GROUND.
Let God be God
If you do not need God in your life you will not exercise your faith in Him. But if a doctor diagnoses some serious illness your prayer life will probably become more active.
If you lose your job you are more likely to pray for God’s provision or protection than when everything is going fine.
If you decide to take on the enemy and rout him out of your family or culture, then you will be calling on God to be God and to win the battle for you.
In order for you to be keen to find God’s power at work you will either be trying to Take Ground from the enemy, or you will be in one of those situations where you are struggling to Hold Ground against some calamity or challenge.
Choose to Take Ground
If faith is the only way to please God and you must “live” by faith, then you need to choose to Take Ground from the enemy.
That’s why Jesus taught us to pray “Your Kingdom come and Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. That is a prayer for Taking Ground. It is a prayer to see evil driven back and God’s Kingdom established in new ways and in new places.
If you are living to take ground for God’s Kingdom you will be living by faith. You will be employing faith in your prayers and in your actions. And God will be pleased, because ONLY FAITH pleases God and you will be employing faith.
Use It or Be Forced to Use It
You have heard the saying “Use it or Lose it” but in things of the Spirit it might be better said, “Use it or be Forced to use it!”
If you are a Christian you are to live by faith. If you don’t live by faith what will God do? God wants you to live by faith because only your faith pleases Him.
Maybe God will have to force you into a place where you use faith, so you can be living by faith and pleasing Him. So, how would God force you to live by faith? Maybe God will have to send a few problems your way. Maybe God will have to pull the rug out from under your feet.
A sudden loss, health challenge, problem at work, financial crisis, upset in the family, problem neighbour, legal issue, or the like can put you on the back foot and fighting to hold your ground. Your cosy world can be turned into upheaval in an instant if God chooses to bring a challenge your way.
Taking Ground is Better
If you have the choice of taking ground for God’s Kingdom or being forced to fight to keep what you already have, which would you choose?
I think it is FAR better to be taking ground than struggling to hold the ground I have. I would much rather be claiming new horizons for God, than struggling to bail out a sinking boat.
Taking Ground is much better than being forced to pray in desperation to get your health back, or to survive a financial disaster, or solve some vexing problem that has attacked you and your family.
When I realised that, many years ago, I decided that I want to be one who takes ground for God’s Kingdom, seeing God’s Kingdom come and God’s Will done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Maybe that’s why I am doing such crazy things as taking on injustice and fraud from the banks and courts. I am in a place where my daily prayer is for God to be God in my situation and for Him to win for me. I am staking all I have on my determination to bring new levels of justice to my nation and for my children and grandchildren’s future.
Taking ground is better – because it puts me in a place of living by faith, and that faith pleases God. And I get to see God work miracles of deliverance and powerful works of transformation on the inside of my life.
I encourage you to do a faith audit and to do whatever you have to do to keep your own faith life active and vital.
Now, to clarity, you don’t need to be in a spiritual storm to be living by faith. All those pressing in to God for rescue or new ground are engaging their faith. And once you’ve staked your claim and are standing by it, you are living by faith, even if there is no drama about the matter. The issue is to be living by faith – engaging your faith so God is delighted with you.