In the following article from this series, we talk about the spiritual practice of forsaking all, which is naturally paired with the lifestyle we call living by faith. One simple way to explain this link between forsaking all and living by faith is–to borrow from the churchy cliche “let god & let God“–forsaking all is “letting go” and living by faith is “letting God“.
If you’ve browsed around our website at all, you’ve probably noticed that we use a few key phrases a lot. Besides “the teachings of Jesus”, one of these is the phrase “living by faith”. Pretty vague, sounds very churchy… What does it mean?
Living by faith is a lifestyle. It’s what happens when we stop worrying about how we’re going to get by in the world and just get busy sharing God’s love with others. In actual practice, it means that we stop working for money (yes, literally quitting our jobs if we have one), and then we use our new-found freedom to start working for God (Love) instead!
It may sound pretty wacky, but this concept of living by faith is not something we made up; it actually comes from Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. Please remember that Jesus’ teachings are for anyone who has ears to hear, not just a special group of people or type of Christian. Do you have the ears to hear? It’s your choice.
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.Matthew 6:19-34, NLT
We could go into a verse-by-verse explanation of this passage, but another ministry has already done this–better than we could. (Scroll to the bottom for a link to their video…) So, we’ll just leave you with the plain and simple truth that Jesus spoke. And, if you want to wrestle with what he actually meant (hint: it’s just like what he said!), we strongly encourage you to take the time to watch our friends’ video (see below).
Before you dismiss this idea of living by faith, please give us a chance to share, in a general way, how it has worked in our lives. Truly, the simple fact that it actually works (i.e. that we do not work for money, yet all our needs are met by God’s loving acts of providence) is a huge reason why you should not simply ignore what Jesus taught, as crazy as it sounds.
When we were of the world, we played by all the world’s rules, and that includes working for money (one of the most powerful inventions of mankind, dating back to the early days of Babylon). We had jobs just like everyone else, and most of the time, we hated those jobs just like everyone else. Our bosses were rude and overbearing; our coworkers were annoying and irresponsible; customers were expectant and impatient; the hours were long, the pay was low, and time off was hard to come by; we didn’t feel like we were doing anything truly significant with our lives. Yet, day after day, we’d be there, clocking in to our next shift so that we could pay the bills and somehow get by.
But in our souls, we knew that life should be more than just getting by. Some of us became aware of how other people are suffering in third-world countries as a direct result of the unjust economic system that we ourselves were a part of. And many of us had a deep desire to use our skills and talents to help others, but we felt that we just simply didn’t have enough time (or energy!) after working for money all day.
Then, we heard that this crazy guy named Jesus said we don’t need to work for money anymore. He said that we can quit our jobs right now, and get started with sharing our skills, talents, and passions with others to better their lives. In other words, we can stop doing what we hate and start doing what we love! And then we heard that Jesus said our needs will be taken care of. No need to save and budget and worry about how we’re going to put food on the table or clothes on our backs. God will take care of it.
Now, some of us were atheists when we heard this. So, the whole “God thing” was weird, but we decided to try living by faith anyway because it seemed a whole lot better than what we were doing at the time. And that is how we learned to have faith–great faith–in God through Jesus Christ.
Others of us were Christians, and we quickly realized that we had to humble ourselves. We thought that we had it all figured out, that Jesus was close to our hearts, etc. (We had said the sinner’s prayer, after all!) But we learned that we didn’t know Jesus at all. And we learned that we were actually quite afraid of Jesus as he really is, afraid of what he asks of us as Christians. So we decided to meet the challenge to our faith by putting it into practice, actually living by faith. God has never let us down.
No matter where we came from, what kind of faith we had, or how much or little wealth we possessed, all of us now appreciate complete and total freedom, which we never would have been able to experience while still enslaved to the money system. We design our lives as we like, choosing to make use of all our skills and interests for the benefit of ourselves and others. Our lives are now creative, practical, and fulfilling.
Matthew 11:28-30, NLT
Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
The danger here is that both Christians and non-Christians, people of strong faith and people of weak faith start to lose sight of the fact that Jesus’ message really is good news. (Gospel actually means good news!) People hear that Jesus wants us to stop working for money so that we can start working for God, and it scares them. The common concern that people have is that they will surely starve (or any number of other terrible things will happen) if they actually do what Jesus taught. If they have families, they are also concerned about the needs of their spouse and children.
No matter what perspective you come from or how much faith or non-faith you currently possess, if you are starting to feel fear creeping up on you, please take a moment for prayer. Pray that God–no matter how you currently understand Him–gives you the courage to face your fears. Ask God to help you accept the simple truth of His will as it is expressed through Jesus’ teachings. Because if you can face your fears and truly accept what it is that Jesus is saying here, your life will be miraculously transformed by faith into a gift of freedom not only for yourself, but for everyone you meet as well.
Jesus knows your fears. He knows that you love your family and that you want what is best for them. He knows that what he is asking of you seems hard; that’s why he calls his Way narrow (Matthew 7:13-14)! But he also knows–more than you or I could ever know–what is ETERNALLY better for you and your loved ones. All he asks of us is that we put our trust in him completely, like little children (Matthew 18:3), and do what he tells us to do for our own good.
Jesus’ Way is good news. It is freedom. It is life. We pray that you will face your fears and accept the good news that Jesus is offering you right now!
Stay tuned for testimonials from the members of our community.
Video by A Voice in the Desert