And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Living a life that pleases God begins with faith. You have faith that He exists. You have faith that He is a good God, ready to reward those who pursue Him honestly and purposefully.
James 2:17 says,
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
The natural expression of a living, believing faith is obedience to God’s call on your life, to Christian service, to seeking and serving His kingdom above all.
Often when God wants to show you something about Himself, whether it’s how much He loves you, or some aspect of His character, He will bring about a situation that challenges your faith – what you believe about God, His goodness, His love. The challenge will reveal a truth about God.
The first step is to accept and believe this truth. The next step is to act on that belief.
It is here where your faith will be tested, because obedience usually requires sacrifice. Are you willing to make the sacrifice in order to be obedient to your God?
Genesis 22:1-19 tells the familiar story of the testing of Abraham’s faith by the offering of his son as a sacrifice to God.
In this story Abraham travelled for three days, until he arrived at the place God had chosen for the sacrifice. For three days Abraham walked with Isaac, his beloved son, his “son of the promise,” knowing what God expected at the end of the journey. Every step was an opportunity for Abraham to renounce his faith, to conclude that obedience was too painful, to turn around and take his son back home.
But Abraham chose to be faithful, every step an opportunity to honor his God and love Him through radical obedience. And not only radical obedience, but sacrificial obedience.
Abraham was ready to obey God sacrificially because he had learned to trust God. He believed God loved him deeply, and he trusted that love. Because of his faith in God’s love and goodness, Abraham believed he was going to witness something amazing after he sacrificed his son on the altar of worship at Moriah. He believed he would see God raise his son from the dead!
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead… (Hebrews 11: 17-19)
While it is easy to be amazed at the faith of Abraham, it would be wrong to think God doesn’t want you to have this kind of faith. Of course He does, because this kind of faith comes from knowing God. The more you know of God, His goodness and His love for you, the more you will be able to walk in faith and obedience.
Not everyone in scripture was able to respond in faith and obedience the way Abraham did. The rich young ruler asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked for sacrificial obedience, and the young man went away sad. His obedience had its limits.
Why does God challenge you in this way?
He knows that in the course of your obedience you will discover something wonderful about Him. Radical, sacrificial obedience is an opportunity to discover something amazing about God. And when you come out the other side, He gives you a new song of praise to sing, and your life becomes a testimony to the goodness and faithfulness of God! (Psalm 40:1-3)
Faith and obedience go hand in hand. Authentic faith always results in obedience to the Lord. When God asks you to believe something in faith, it’s likely He’s also asking you to do something in obedience.