One of my favorite stories is about a young man who was mountain climbing, but about halfway up, his rope gave way and he started to fall. Thinking quickly, he managed to grab hold of a branch sticking out of the side of the hill. He looked down and saw that it was a long way to the bottom - and he looked up and saw it was equally far to the top. So it was at that point the he decided to pray.
He didn't pray a long, wordy prayer - instead, he simply yelled out, “God, if you're there, help me!” Almost immediately he heard a voice from the sky say, “I’m here my son, have no fear.” The guy was a little startled at first, but then he cried out, “Can You help me?” God replied, “Yes, but you have to have faith. Do you trust Me?” The guy immediately answered, “Yes, I trust You!” So God replied, “Then let go of the branch and I will save you. Have faith in me and everything will be all right.”
The young man looked down at the rocks below, then he looked up at the steep cliff above - thought for a minute, and then yelled, “Is there anybody else up there?”
I’ve been thinking lot about that story recently because I've been feeling challenged to do what this story illustrates - to take what I say I believe, and actually live it out. In other words, I've been challenged to move from a “knowing faith” to a “showing faith”. Here's what I mean by that: a “knowing faith” is stating that we believe certain facts to be true. For example. “Jesus was the Son of God”. Or “Jesus came to die for our sins.” And “We have to be born-again to get into heaven.” Those are all statements of fact that make up what we call “knowing faith”. They can’t necessarily be proven by science, so we believe them by faith.
On the other hand, a “showing faith” takes what we know, and puts it into action. I think a lot of us reading this devotional would happily sign a piece of paper that was full of statements about God, and about His Word, and about His work in the world. And that’s all nice and good, except that God doesn’t ask us to sign a document - He asks us to live out what we believe. Which means that the real question for us isn’t just “Do we believe?” - but instead, it’s “Does our life SHOW what we believe?”
For example, we SAY we believe God is pure and holy, and that He wants us to live that way too - and then we continue to live in sin. We SAY we believe God will provide for all our needs - and then we live worried about the future and spending most of our time trying to handle things on our own. We SAY we believe that God wants what’s best for us - but then we live our lives without asking Him what His plan is for our lives.
We could spend the rest of the day listing out examples, but I hope we’re all starting to see the point: for our faith to be real, it has to move from simply believing to actually letting that belief change the way we live. James 2:14 puts it this way, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” Our faith needs to move us from knowledge to action.
So today, let’s not just agree that what the Bible says is true. Instead, let’s have a total surrender of our lives to God that requires us to take what we know, and put it into action. Let’s truly LIVE by faith.