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July 2, 2015

Faith It ‘Til You Make It

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17 (NIV)

You’ve heard the expression, “Fake it ‘til you make it!” Maybe, like me, you’ve done that as well. It’s when we put on a pretense and hide what we’re really feeling inside. We act bold on the outside; but, inside, we’re feeling insecure and afraid. We pretend to be in agreement with our boss to gain favor or to avoid the consequences we think would happen if we were honest. This reeks of hypocrisy and leaves us feeling weak. We can even do that with God. Ever fake your relationship with Him? Ever just go through the motions when your heart wasn’t in it? Why is it that God permits seasons in our lives where we don’t feel His conscious presence with us? Like seasons of drought, our hearts thirst for Him; yet, we remain parched. Having encountered those seasons, I’m discovering that God has a purpose in them – to develop our faith. So, rather than faking it ‘til you make it, consider this: Faith it ‘til you make it! What’s the difference? Plenty! You’re not faking it anymore. You’re not living in denial or hypocrisy with how you feel. You honestly express those feelings to God and, then, put your trust in the one who is the object of your faith – God Himself! You’re trusting that God is there even when you don’t feel His presence. You’re believing the promises of God, despite the circumstances you’re experiencing. That kind of faith honors God! It’s the kind of faith that the Prophet Habakkuk had. Listen to his prayer in the final chapter of his book:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. (For the choir director: This prayer is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.) Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)

This is the test of genuine faith. Can we faith it ‘til we make it? God is teaching us how to live by faith – not by feelings alone. Feelings are great! There’s nothing quite so comforting and empowering as feeling the presence of God. But, faith trusts that His presence is there even when I don’t feel it. Faith lays claim to His promises that don’t depend on my feelings to validate them. When I faith it ‘til I make it, I see that God will honor His Word. I can take my honest feelings to Him and know that He cares. I don’t have to wait until I feel His presence to know He’s there. I know it by faith! Don’t fake it. Faith it ‘til you make it! Contrary to how it may feel, God is growing your faith stronger!