New Hope Notes
Living A Life Of Faith
Pastor Alex Pacheco
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6 NIV) We might be putting faith in things that don’t last, like our jobs or circumstances, but these don’t last and we will need to cry out for help when these fail through. That’s why we have to put our faith in something that would last, which is our God. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a good verse and you keep reading it from time to time, but we all know it is different when applying it to life. So we will be walking through this simple verse together, to have a better understanding on how we can apply it to our lives. So let’s look at the first part of this verse:
TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART
When we put faith and trust in the Lord, there is actually a risk involving in the process. Choosing to do life already involves risk. It also involves relationship as well when we relate to God and a relationship takes risk too. Mark 12:30 said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30 NIV) The biggest mistake we ever made is not to take the risk. We do not want to take the risk because of sense of insecurity or fear. However, the Bible said, “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for Me, you will find true life.” (Matt. 16:25 NLT) So we have to take the risk in having faith and relationship with God with all our hearts, and you will find life instead from it. When we take the step of faith, inevitably:
· Faith is RISKING.
When we are at the edge and God tells us to step forward, it is a step of taking the risk of faith when obey to walk off the edge, it’s also a step of risking faith to live a life for Jesus, and to ask God to forgive all we have done wrong in Him, and to walk away from our old habits and lives, and not to sit on the fence and hesitate to walk into the unknown God leads you to. We are here to live a life for Jesus with all our hearts, minds and souls, which is a step of risking faith. As I said, it’s easier said than done. So how do you take that step of faith?
How? Exercise the 80/20 principle.
The 80/20 principle means that 80% of life is shown in His words for us to do. This 80% includes showing us how to pray, how to read His words, how to treat families and other people, etc. For this 80%, we have to take our effort to learn how to do things right according to His words and it’s our responsibility. On the other hand, the other 20% of life is not so clear, because that is in God’s hands, and is God’s part to act. It is especially not easy when we human tend to take control over our lives. And here is when the second part of today’s theme verse comes in the picture:
LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” (Prov. 14:12 NLT) We do experience this in life often times. We thought certain ways were right but we would end up dead wrong. We have to surrender into God’s intellect as His is beyond ours, which means:
· Faith is RELYING ON GOD.
When we rely on Him, we are leaning towards His understanding, not ours. Then we will choose His ways. This is not about being positive or optimistic with lives. It means that we can rely on God no matter what circumstances are, even when we are at our worst times. And we will just rely on His understanding to walk our paths though it is not smooth. The Bible already foretold us that there will be more and more earthquakes and other natural disasters. But we don’t have to fear because we have God to lean on. And next we would need to:
IN ALL YOUR WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM
How do we acknowledge God? For example, if we walk in a room and see a friend, we would wave our hands and greet him; if we see a president we would stand up and greet him. These are the gestures of acknowledgement. It was written, “Always obey the Lord and you will be happy. If you are stubborn, you will be ruined.” (Prov. 28:14 TEV) We acknowledge God by obeying Him. He is the manager of our lives and the Lord of the universe and you will only be happy when you obey Him. Being stubborn will only lead us to misery, especially when we are too stubborn to admit that others are right and I am wrong. It’s the biggest sin of my life as I used to think that everyone except myself was wrong. There was a time that I went fishing with my son in law and a friend. We caught a big marlin but it was so big that we had trouble getting in on to our fishing boat. We tried everything we could and still couldn’t get half of this fish in. So my son in law told me that it was time to pray. I didn’t listen because of pride and stubbornness. However, after he prayed, the whole 740 lbs of fish came right into the boat. So when we let go of stubbornness and listen to God, we obey what he says, then we will end up being happy. Faith is doing and obeying what God says. Faith is activated when we act, meaning that:
· Faith is SOMETHING YOU DO.
“Everything you do or say should be done to obey Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus.” (Col. 3:17 NCV) It said in ALL we do, so it is in EVERY single thing we do, we obey Jesus and do what He says. So what is the one area in your life that you haven’t allowed God to touch? It can be a habit in life, or your job or business. If that thing came up in your mind as I am saying these, it’s God bringing it up to your mind because He loves you. He wants you to be happy, and have the joy in your life. He never means to ruin your life. I realize that when I do not obey Him and do things for the sake of instant happiness, I always end up feeling empty again very quickly. However, when I obey Him and do things as He says, I gained deeper and lasting happiness, which is joy. So having joy is the benefits of obeying God. When you trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, then:
AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT
Making our paths straight doesn’t imply having no problems in life. The path might not be perfect, comfortable or rich. It only means that life would work and we can make it to our destinations. It is written, “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in Him!” (Ps. 34:8 NLT) When we have to trust and take the risk of faith, we might be thinking that we have to give up something in life, and this thought can discourage us from taking the step of faith. However, we should be looking at it from another angle; if you don’t take the risk, you end up getting nothing. Then what security and peace in the Lord are you giving up by doing so? And what joy and the love of God are you giving up by not taking the risk of faith? What rights and relationships are you giving up as well? If I don’t trust in God, I would end up having none. I would miss out all the rights, the joy and the good marriage I am having now. What are you giving up by not taking the risk of faith? It is written, “O my soul, don't be discouraged. Don't be upset. Expect God to act!” (Ps. 42:11 TLB) So by faith:
· Faith is EXPECTING GOD TO ACT.
God never let me down. He made me look good all the time. The Bible said that, “He is a faithful God, who keeps His promise and is merciful to thousands of generations of those who love Him and obey His commands.” (Deut. 7:9 GW) God shows Himself faithful through thousands of generations. If you love your children, you have to teach them to love God. How do you know God loves you and cares about you? We know it through Jesus. Jesus came down from heaven to earth, suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually and died on the cross because He loves you. He wants to be a part of your life and to make your paths straight. We all can rely on Him and expect Him to act when we take our faith in Him, and he did act by Jesus being risen from the death, so we can be saved and have an everlasting life in Him. I gave my life to God because He loves me and I love Him, too. Having Jesus is a kind of life we can never expect to have. What is the next step you are going to take now? Are you willing to take that risk to trust and obey God? If yes then you can expect God to act. Proverbs said, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one who will keep you on track.” (Prov. 3:5-6 Msg) We don’t need to figure everything out on our own. We just have to trust God and He will keep us on track. If any of you haven’t taken this risk of faith yet, I am inviting you to take the first step to open your heart to Jesus. By opening your heart, you can say to Jesus that, “My heart is open, please come in and I want a relationship with you. I put my trust and faith in you Jesus, please make my path straight.” You might be dealing with different sorts of difficulties in life, but the Lord is saying to you that you can trust in Him, and open your heart to invite Jesus into you life.
1. What is involved when taking the step of faith?
2. What is the principle that helps you how to take the risking faith?
3. What happens when we rely on God?
4. How to acknowledge God?
5. What is faith after all?