With the right kind of faith, you can impact the next generation for the good of God's Kingdom. Let's talk about why it's so important to exercise your faith and how to do it…
Why You Need to Exercise Your Faith
Faith. We live with it daily and depend on it constantly, even when we’re unaware of it. Consider the faith you have in your car’s brakes the next time you stop. Or pull out your bank card, and consider how much you trust the bank to keep your money safe. Or, even as you read this, consider the faith you have in oxygen to supply your next breath.
We all have faith. The question is “faith in what?” Who or what will we trust with our lives, and how will we grow and activate the faith we have? Kingdom Laborers learn to increasingly put their faith in God. They learn to listen to and trust Him beyond what they can see, control, know, or conquer in their own wisdom, strength, and sightline.
That kind of faith requires exercise, “trust training.” And, as our faith and reliance on God grows, we have the opportunity (and responsibility) to help impact and increase the faith of others. When it comes to the next generation, Kingdom Laborers pay faith forward! That's why, if you want to make an impact on the next generation, you need to exercise your faith.
How to Exercise Your Faith
Here are 7 ways to exercise your faith, glorify God, and impact the next generation:
- Make faith a lifestyle, not an epic event.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” –Galatians 5:25
Faith is powerful enough to move mountains. And sometimes it does. It would be a mistake, however, to think that conquering mountain-sized faith events is what’s necessary to impact the next generation. Those coming after us want to see faithful followers of Jesus who are attentive to what He is doing and are ready to jump into action however the Holy Spirit directs. Kingdom Laborers simply want to practice a daily lifestyle of loving God, loving people, and responding—however, whenever, and wherever the Holy Spirit leads.
- Develop “Yes, Lord” patterns of obedience.
“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it…’” –Isaiah 30:21
You will go further and faster in faith and Kingdom impact as you learn to say “yes” to God early and often. Small “Yes, Lord” obediences lead to bigger “Yes, Lord” Kingdom assignments. And with every “yes,” your trust and confidence in God grows. Not only do your quick responses to God help impact lives in present situations, your “yesses” inspire the next generation to activate their faith in God as well.
- Don’t just talk about faith, practice it.
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” –James 2:17
Talking about faith is not the same as exercising your faith. Anyone can talk a good game when it comes to trusting God. It’s those who put their faith into action who make the biggest splash in impacting generations to come. The story in the Bible when Peter walked on the water toward Jesus wouldn’t have been much of a story if Peter hadn’t climbed out of the boat. But he did! Taking steps of faith in doing what only God can accomplish may seem risky, foolish, and even impossible to others (and sometimes to you!). But as you trust God and do what He says, onlookers will see (and you will experience) just how big God is and all that He can do.
- Share faith stories—yours and others.
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” – 2 Timothy 1:5
Hearing other people’s faith stories often encourages listeners to engage their own. Be intentional; share your faith story with others! Tell children, youth, your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors—whoever will listen—where God is leading you and how you are trusting Him as you go. Make sure to include the tough and scary places as well as the joy-filled and victorious ones. Keep God the focus and hero of your sharing. It's an effective way to exercise your faith.
In addition to your story, share the faith journeys of others as well. The Bible is full of stories of everyday people who God used in extraordinary ways as they put their faith in Him. If you need a place to start, consider reading more about each “faith hero” honored in Hebrews 11. In addition, consider the Forge resource It’s My Turn and read about 20 Kingdom Laborers who impacted their world by faith.
- Make intimacy with God faith’s base camp.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”–I Corinthians 13:13
Faith is important. Love is paramount. For faith to have any kind of lasting impact, it must find its source in love. Even if we have the kind of faith that can move a mountain, our life, testimony, and impact won’t amount to much without love (I Corinthians 13:2). That’s why the greatest gift we can give the world (and the next generation) is our intimacy with God. God is love. The closer we stay to Him, the greater we love as He loves, see what He sees, and do what He does. Up close to God, we learn to trust Him every step along the way. And others will too, as we “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” and love (Hebrew 12:22).
- Stay the course, don’t give up!
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith.” –I Thessalonians 3:7
Let’s face it—faith can be difficult! Trusting God for things only He can provide and accomplish isn’t always easy. Satan does his best with distractions, detours, doubts, and discouragements. Onlookers think you’re a little crazy. Others think you’re foolish or weird. It’s easy to feel isolated and disheartened in faith’s journey. Don’t give up! God is able to overcome all these hindrances, headaches, and heartaches as you continue to trust Him. And as you persevere, God will strengthen your faith, increase your stride, and further your impact. The next generation, as they watch you trust God through all the ups and downs, will know your faith is sincere and that God is for real.
- Pay faith forward, and invite others to the journey.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” –Matthew 4:19
Why not invite the next generation to test-drive faith? That’s what Jesus did. He invited the disciples to journey with Him in faith—to experience for themselves what God what up to in the world and how they could be a part of it. Nothing might jump-start a young person’s faith more than joining you in something God has called you to do in faith. God most likely changed your life through an invitation from someone else living by faith. Look for opportunities to pay faith forward. Invite and invest in someone as God leads, and watch God grow their faith as they join you in yours!
Use Your Faith to Create a Lasting Impact!
“Without faith,” Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “it is impossible to please God.” But with faith, you can have “confidence in what you hope for and assurance about what you do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, paraphrased). Walking daily in such faith (and exercising it!) will please God, provide great joy and purpose in your life, and create a lasting impact for generations to come. What’s your next step in exercising your faith and paying it forward?