Sermon: Stepping Out in Faith (1.23.22)
We talk a lot about faith. Sometimes it seems like something intangible and elusive. I read an article which I based today’s sermon on which describes three benefits of having faith. It is a little different view of the topic, and I thought it might be good to explore it today.
Romans 8: 5-16
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[a] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[b] his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[c] And by him we cry, “Abba,[d] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Stepping out in faith sounds easy, but it means leaving the comfort zone and facing our deepest fears. It is deemed as one of the hardest sensations to harness and to get under control. When the circumstances are dictating that there is little optimism to go around--our souls don't want to step out in faith! In Lamentations 3:20-21 it said that we need to hold onto to our faith and onto our hope: “I will remember them, and my soul downcast within me. Yet, this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.” God calls us to sit still and sometimes He calls us to move in faith in a certain direction. This is where trust comes into play. The Oxford English Dictionary explained that trust is “having a firm belief in the reliability, truth or ability of someone of something." We all need this trust to feed our faith and we are not the only ones. Remember when Peter stepped out into the water from the fishing boat and then took his focus off of Jesus? He saw the wind and cried out: “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" We all struggle with having the stamina to step out in faith. If you need more help in this area, here are 5 suggestions to consider.
There are at least five reasons, or benefits, to step out in faith to improve our mortal lives (see verse 11)...
It Helps the Mind
Stepping out in faith can help recondition your mind and change your perspective. Changing your mindset allows you to see things from God's perspective and helps to get out of your head. Reminiscing on what worked and what did not work will not bring you joy. All this will do is keep you stuck in the past. Not only that, but you are really wasting your energy. We are reminded in Romans: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will." We need to retrain our thoughts to focus on how powerful stepping out in faith can be instead of shrinking in fear.
It Gives You Confidence
If you want to build confidence, stepping out in faith will do it. Trust God to encourage you and to use situations in your life for good. The Bible said in 2 Corinthians 1:3-8, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." Sometimes God's plans make us nervous! Yet, we can have the confidence that we are following His plan that we have nothing to fear. You will fail sometimes and that is okay. This will make you stronger and give you the ability to overcome obstacles.
It Helps Us Remain Focused
If we allow ourselves to be dominated by the distractions of life, we will never know God's purpose. When we allow problems to consume us, we lose our way and can't hear from God as clearly. This can result in a life that's flat and lackluster. Instead of relying only on what we see around us, choose to believe God's Word not what others are telling us. Author Joyce Meyer suggested praying: "God, I remember the good things You've done for me and how You've been faithful to those who've trusted in You through the ages. I'm giving You praise today because I know You'll always be faithful." Stepping out in faith will give you the power to avoid distractions from life and from people.
It Opens Up Opportunities
Stepping out in faith can open up doors you never could've imagined. Most of the time, we allow our environment to influence in what God called us to do. Author Sarah Jakes Robert wrote that we emulate our surroundings. This may be positive, or it may be negative. "Our environment either inspires us on who we want to become or challenge us on what we must avoid," she wrote. It is a matter of taking a step out of our comfort zones. Start to write down where you feel the Lord is leading you. Pray over your thoughts and ask the Lord to guide you on what opportunities that He wants you to pursue.
It Makes You Stronger
Faith is like using a muscle that has never been used before. It will only become stronger every time you use it. Faith doesn't have to be associated with advancement in life, it can be having faith in God's love and His power. However, you need to exercise the faith muscle. Standing on the sidelines and expect your faith to arrive without any deliberate intent on your part, then you run the risk of missing the chance to jump into life. Are you willing to remain in comfort and live your life afraid of change? The Israelites forgot how God delivered them from Egypt and provided a way of escape through the Red Sea. When they did arrive at their new land they complained that they would not have enough to eat, surely God would have proved them what they needed. Their lack of faith kept them stuck. Exercise your faith and don't stand on the sidelines.
We need faith in our walk with God and in our daily lives. Without it "It's impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him," Hebrews 11:6 said. Faith is never easy, and it can be scary. However, when we don't put it into action, we fail God and ultimately ourselves.