Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Faith Defined

I have quite a few definitions of faith that I’ve coined and collected over the years. Faith is climbing out on a limb, cutting it off, and watching the tree fall down. If doubt is putting your circumstances between you and God, faith is putting God between you and your circumstances. Faith is unlearn­ing your fears until all that’s left is the fear of God. Faith is the willingness to look foolish. And I’ve already mentioned it, but it’s worth repeating: faith is taking the first step before God reveals the second step.

Let me give you one more.

Gratitude is thanking God after He does it.

Faith is thanking God before He does it.

Sometimes you need to stop praying for something and start praising God as if it has already happened. Isn’t that what the Israelites did when they marched around Jericho? God didn’t say, “I will deliver it into your hands”—future tense. He said, “I have delivered it”—present perfect tense. In other words, it had already been accomplished in the spiritual realm. All they had to do was circle Jericho until God delivered on His promise.

Dick Eastman is one of my prayer heroes. He’s spent more time in prayer than just about anybody I know. Dick made a vow in his twenties to spend an hour with God every day. Now in his seventies, Dick has logged at least sixteen thousand hours in prayer!

During a recent conversation Dick told me a story about a missionary who was praying for a four-by-four vehicle for their ministry. As a statement of faith, he would wash that imaginary vehicle with soap and water in front of his mission house as very inquisitive African neighbors looked on. That may seem silly to some, but faith often comes across that way. And it’s no coincidence that a church in California bought that missionary a four-by-four not long after.

Inspired by his example, Dick did something similar when Every Home for Christ, the organization Dick is president of, was believing God for a building. Dick would often circle the imaginary foundation, open imagi­nary doors, and walk into his imaginary office. It was Dick’s field of dreams. And that dream became reality when EHFC built its headquarters, the Jeri­cho Center, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

One more story for good measure.

Joshua Symonette is a former Washington Redskin and current cam­pus pastor at National Community Church. His boyhood dream was play­ing in the NFL, but he was a long shot. Not many NFL teams scouted at Tennessee Technological University, especially since Peyton Manning was playing down the road at the University of Tennessee at the same time as Joshua.

It had been a decade since Tennessee Tech had a player in the NFL, but that only fueled Joshua’s fire. Before the start of his sophomore season, he made a decision to wear a suit to every game. Why? Because he noticed that NFL players wore suits to their games. So he followed their example. That may seem insignificant to some, but it was a statement of faith—a dress rehearsal for his dream. If your dream is to play in the pros, why not dress like one?

Now for the fun, or funny, part! Joshua would put on his suit in his dorm room, walk five minutes across an empty campus, and then immedi­ately take off his suit in the locker room. It made no sense to his fellow play­ers or his coaches. But he repeated that ritual, game after game, year in and year out. Why? Because it was his field of dreams.

“If I look ridiculous,” Joshua said, “so be it.”

That’s faith—the willingness to look foolish.

Only one team gave Joshua a shot, but that’s all it took. He didn’t look ridiculous then! And it’s appropriate that he lined up in the same defensive backfield as Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. Why? Because if there was a Suit Hall of Fame, Prime Time would be in on the first ballot! And so would Joshua.

Excerpted from CHASE THE LION. Copyright © 2016 by Mark Batterson. Published by Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Used by permission.

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