Active Faith — Passive Faith
Wes could deliver a sermon that captured the attention of everyone in the room. However, after being around him I detected something was amiss. He confided in me that at one time he felt the call to preach but he had lost his faith during seminary. Doubt gripped him...he no longer believed there was a God. Even though he could recite Scripture and sound as though he meant it, he was in a dangerous spot. Sadly, I know another pastor with a similar story. The most frightening thing of all is to have something which comes out of our mouth, which our heart is no longer engaged with. There are different degrees of passive faith. Thankfully, most Christians are not to the extreme as my friend Wes, but passivity tries to creep in and must be guarded against. It is dangerous in our walk. If pastors can become passive, then it's worth our time to examine this further. Do we detect any traces of this in our own lives?
Step Out Of Passive Faith — Keep Your Faith Alive!
"Faith" is so familiar in our Christian vocabulary that it has almost lost its significance. I have found that most Christians believe that they operate in faith but if we’re honest the results are often hit or miss. Sometimes things don’t turn out according to the promise. Why is this? Deep down, we know it is not the fault of the Word or something lacking on the part of God. Too often we struggle and finally come to the place where we don’t expect our prayers to be answered—every time. The Lord began to deal with me that there is an active faith and there is a passive faith. They are vastly different and it is important that we learn to recognize the difference between the two. Many times what we want from God is just a checklist, but God wants this to be a relationship. God wants to be interactive with us. A passive faith does not deny the truth of scripture. It is very quick to say, “Yes, I do believe the Word!" A passive faith too often believes that God can, but does not necessarily believe that He will do it—in this particular situation. Can you see the danger in that belief? I believe God showed me that a passive faith is a bigger enemy of victory in our lives than doubt itself. At least with doubt, the problem is obvious. We know what to work on. But passive faith can sound so right that we deceive ourselves into thinking we are doing everything right.
Passive faith believes that the Word is true , but has lost the expectation of seeing it come to pass.
It is possible to say all the right things without realizing that it has become just words. When you get serious with God and determine you want more than just a passive faith, you’ll start becoming aware of those times when your faith is passive. Passive faith always becomes complacent. By the same token, you can know on the inside when your faith is active. An assurance will rise up on the inside where you know, that you know. There is something on the inside that says, “This Word works! The enemy cannot steal this from me.” This knowing on the inside will actually feel “active” rather than "passive". An expectancy will begin to grow. Expectancy is the keyword. You may feel led to take action but it won’t be anything you come up with in your reasoning mind. Active faith will stir you to action. It would be terrible if after years of quoting Psalm 91 every morning, that I slip into a passive recital of the words. To avoid this I make a conscious effort never to quote Psalm 91 passively where it becomes just a ritual. God rescued me from terrible fear by giving me these precious words. If I find my mind drifting or rushing through it, I start over and activate my faith to receive it as my covenant with God, and claim it as preventative medicine. As important as Psalm 91 is to me, I dogmatically determine to stay active with it. The Lord dealt with me on activating my faith each time I quote the Psalm and pray it. It is my strongest gift and daily prayer, but as much as I know it is important to speak it daily, at the same time, I, on purpose, stir it up inside of me (2 Timothy 1:6 KJV). It is appalling, and understandable at the same time of how this slipping into passive faith could happen. How pointless would it be if I spent that time every day praying this psalm over my friends and family and yet, it all be wasted? When you read the 91st psalm let it rise up in you fresh and new every morning like an explosion of faith. That is how you keep your faith active instead of letting it become passive. Use God’s Word in your spiritual warfare. Say it as though you were speaking it directly to the enemy and when you do you will begin to feel your faith rising from passive to active. Active faith always faces the situation head-on. Active faith is not hard. It is simply choosing to believe the Word and saying it out loud. Our part is choosing to believe the Word and actively engaging our heart every time we speak the Scripture. It is an exchange system—exchanging what we see in the natural for what we choose to believe from the Word. Second Corinthians 4:18 says that the things we see are temporal [subject to change]; the things we don’t see are eternal. Anything we see in the natural realm is subject to change. If your circumstances aren't changing, check areas where you have grown passive. Real faith has action to it. When our country calls a young man into the armed service for a tour of duty, it is called active duty. You will never hear of a soldier being sent into passive duty.
1) An active faith will put something into motion.
2) Active faith is a military encounter between hostile forces that do warfare.
The whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19b)...but the victory that overcomes the world is our faith (1 John 5:4b)—our faith has to be active for this level of overcoming. One of the most important things you can do to enhance your walk with God is to determine every day to step out of passive faith and keep your faith active.
Is your faith vibrant, alive and on fire?
Are you doing God’s will, full of fruit in your life, experiencing “God-incidences”, and answered prayers? If not, take steps now to turn your faith into active faith.