You've heard me talk a lot about Faithing. Maybe you wondered just what the heck that really was. Sure, you've heard me say that faith is an action word. It's an action based on God's Word. But how do I do that? If you're anything like me, you have a hard time picturing what you do when you Faithe.
I've heard the message of faithing hundreds of times. And talked about it to other people at least half that many. And still, I have this very vague feeling about it, somehow.
Well, in the course of trying to genericise faithing into some kind of universal "formula", I picked up a new slant on faithing that helped me clarify God's role in our faithing acts. That's what I want to tell you about.
The main point, is the title of this commentary. The first move is yours. Or as I usually say, "You gotta get out of the chair."
You see, one of the steps of this generic faithing formula is that we must take the first step in the process of making our goal a reality. Faithing is very like telling the future. Or better, acting like something was going to be true. Pretending sort of fits, but hints too much at fantasy. And faithing is definitely not a kids game.
Taking the first step is actually the third. First, is determining the goal by judging it against its Rightness, our Prudence, and it's Possibility. Secondly, we would ask God for His help by claiming which ever of His promises we thought we could use. Then, take the first step.
Now, to a person unfamiliar with this faithing thing, might come the question, "Well, why doesn't God start? He could start sometimes.." And one may end up way off the track in some argument about philosophy and God's love. And I can understand that on two levels.
One thing that comes to my mind right away is that God should be willing to give me a little help without me doing anything first. After all, I did ask. And besides, it's just a little bit fearful to stick my toe in before He tells me the water is fine.
Secondly, if I make all the first moves, how am I to know for sure that He's really there, and did help me? It looked like I was doing it on my own. "Well, mostly on my own. I did get a couple breaks; small ones."
I do agree that it's scary out there in faithing land. You just never know. Not for sure. Though that's one good indicator that you're faithing, and not just gritting your teeth and doing something by will alone. You see, when you're faithing you're putting your trust somewhere outside yourself. And when we do that we always feel a little risk. The risk is clearly indicated by our feeling of reluctance.
Well, if I'm scared, doesn't God see that? Shouldn't He have a little compassion? He does, and He does. The trouble doesn't lie with God's love, knowledge, or compassion, and definitely not His power. In a manner of speaking, He's just sitting there waiting to shower those things on me. But His hands are tied.
Let me take a side road for a minute. You see, whatever knowledge you have about something, God has infinitely more. Whatever goal you've set, God knows precisely the best way to reach that goal. If you want to build a house, God knows all the shortcuts that save time. You want to sharpen a knife, God knows just exactly how many strokes, and at what angle, because He knows the makeup of the steel, the temper of the blade, and even how many times you'll use that knife before the next time you get a chance to sharpen it.
The point is, that we know pitifully little about the things we do, compared to God.
No big deal. God doesn't care. I don't care. And if anybody really spent the time caring, they'd never get anything done. Mostly when we start out to do things we have enough knowledge to get the job done. Oh yeah, I make mistakes, but I don't make that many. And I try to go back and do things right on the big ones.
I guess the point is, that we could probably do it, but we could do it so much better if we had God's help. After all, it's free expert advice. "OK, that's what I'll do. I'll sit here and wait for God to tell me what to do first." See how silly that sounds. Why? 'Cuz in this context, that's not the way you take His advice.
Let's say you're building a box. Are you going to sit there until God goes and buys the lumber? You're certainly not going to sit home and wait for God to tell you to go get the wood! Now I think we're back on track. Remember I mentioned God's hands being tied. You see, it's your movement that unties God's hands. As a matter of fact, every time you stop moving toward your goal, you tie up God's hands again.
Here's an amusing example. There was a guy who kept praying for God to help him win the lottery. The man had legitimate reasons to deserve the money. He prayed and prayed. This went on a long time. Finally, God broke into his prayer one night and said, "Give me a break, will ya, BUY A TICKET!"
There's no doubt that if you've determined some goal, that you can find more than one thing you could do first. You might draw a plan of the box before you buy the wood.
God also knows the weaknesses in your plan; besides knowing the best way to get the job done. He can give the little push that will seem like the lucky break that saved you so much time. For instance, if you're a lousy planner and go to buy the wood first, you may just "happen" to hear the salesman talking about a free set of plans he just put on the display case. If you had tried to struggle with those plans, it may have taken you an extra days work.
Therein lies another key to faithing. Don't do the plans if there's something easier to accomplish. A basic order and organization is certainly necessary, but don't get locked in where it isn't important.
That concept leads directly into the next step in the faithing process. Listen! No, that's it. You must listen. As you progress toward your goal, you must be careful to listen for God's suggestions. He's that little voice in your head that sometimes gives you flashes of inspiration, or warnings that something weird got into the process and needs to be dealt with. You know, those times when later you've said, "I knew I was going to do that!" That voice is how you knew.
Anyway, God can only help with the stuff you're actually doing. It's an ongoing thing. Whenever you're doing, He's helping. I mean, what would you think if I was standing behind my car, and when I asked you to help me push it to the curb, I just stood there and waited 'till you started pushing. You wouldn't be helping, you'd be doing the whole thing.
Well, I've tried to weave the first four steps of faithing into this discussion so far: set a clear goal, ask God's help, do the first thing that feels good, and listen. I'd like to talk about the last three.
Tracking, Logging, and Thanks.
Listening and tracking are very similar. Listening is like sitting on the edge of your chair to make sure that one of those little suggestions from God doesn't get by unnoticed. Tracking, is more like keeping a running total of all the suggestions and coincidences and lucky breaks that popped up along the way.
Tracking is very important in reinforcing your awareness of God. When those "breaks" start to add up, we can see that things out of our control have been making our project easier. I know, coincidence is a very attractive and easy answer, but how many coincidences make a fact? And remember, we've already asked God to help. We can't say, "Please, God help me. Oh, that was just a lucky break."
How about logging? Personally, I like to keep a journal. Every day I write down the main activities. And any side comment that seems appropriate. Every one of those coincidences makes it into the book. It's a very positive way to build your faith in a hurry.
Finally, if you've done all of the above, I don't have to suggest that you thank God for helping get you to the point of the finished box. You've already done that. And you've thanked Him for all the bonuses along the way. Especially the one, where your neighbor Ed offered to pay you to build him two for his speaker system.
But gee, none of that would have happened if you were still sitting in the chair, maybe pouting, and waiting for God to make the first move. He can only help you do what you're doing. And who needs God to help them sit in a chair?
Don't sit there, faithe!
If you'd like to see a companion article to this, What Saves gives a practical breakdown of faithing, some conclusions about faithing, and much evidence that we must initiate our faithing. The Spirit, or God, or Jesus doesn't jumpstart our acts of faithing.