Coach Wooden was a legendary basketball coach for UCLA in the 1960s and 70s. He won ten NCAA Championships in twelve years including a streak of seven. He knew how to win. Coach Wooden always began his first practice by teaching his team how to wear their socks stressing the importance of protecting their feet. Getting a blister on your foot makes you ineffective on the court. Bottom line remembering the basics helps you win the game.
This got me wondering. What are the Christian’s socks? What are the basics we have to remember to be effective? I think there are three; faith, hope and love. Today I want to focus on faith.
As Christians we believe God does the work and we respond by faith. This is foundational to the Gospel. We believe Jesus died for us and we are saved by God’s grace through our faith (Ephesians 2:8).
Living by faith goes back to Abraham. His faith was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). In other words, Abraham’s righteousness was based on trusting and following God. Abraham was human. He did some good things and some bad things. His relationship with God was not based on his work but on his faith.
Most Christians understand this intellectually. However, it is hard to do. Why? Because living by faith is scary. Faith leads to action. The actions are directed by God. Living by faith means God can lead us anywhere. If God wants me to go to Africa, I go to Africa. If God wants me to forgive someone, I forgive that person. If God asks me to give up something, I give it up.
What does the Bible say about this? Noah built an Ark. Abraham left his home. Jonah went to Nineveh. Daniel prayed even with the threat of being feed to lions. Jesus told a rich young man to sell everything. I could go on but you get the point.
Not living by faith is much easier. Some become legalistic. In other words, they come up with the list of rules to keep God in a nice safe box. Others just reject or ignore the things of God. They never let themselves slow down long enough to actually hear God’s voice in their life.
However, if we put our socks on correctly and live by faith two incredible things happen. First, we become less busy. We serve as God leads and we say no to things that are not a part of God’s plan. We focus on the right things. Second, our thankfulness increases. We become grateful for the work God is doing in our lives and we have peace because we are in step with God. It is a great place to be.
Are you living by faith? Can God truly ask anything of you? The first step is to slow down and really listen. This means spending time in prayer, reading your bible or talking with a respected mentor. God will show you areas where you are not in step. It will be an opportunity to change and truly follow where God is leading. Take the opportunity to thank him. The more you see God working in your life the more thankful you will be. Before you know it you will be living out your faith…by faith