Lauren Daigle’s popular song exhibits perfectly what active faith is. What do you do when God doesn’t move the mountain you want him to move? What do you when God doesn’t part the waters you want him to part? Or when the answer you cried out for doesn’t come. You must keep trusting! Lauren Daigle’s song speaks of the tension that occurs when you are believing God for something.
Once you step out on faith and believe God for something you step into a gap of time. Sometimes that gap of time can be a lifetime, and sometimes just a moment. Think of the gap of time for some of the giants of faith in the Old Testament. Caleb had to wait 45 years to receive his promised inheritance. Abraham had to wait 25 years from the time he believed God until Isaac was born. David had to exhibit faith during the gap of time that occurred between being anointed as king and the time he actually ascended the throne. All of those mentioned had an active faith. This article will show you what you must do and not do during the time of waiting. Nobody likes life in the gap but it is necessary not only to obtain the promise, but also to demonstrate our faith is true. The good news is we will grow spiritually as well. So go ahead and believe God! Activate your faith by asking and then demonstrate it by the actions you choose.
Today there are pastors (I am one of them) and elders and church boards that feel the tension active faith produces. They have eyes of faith to see what God can do through their ministry, they are actively pursuing both God and the vision God has given them. It seems as though it will happen in “a little while”. They may see signs of things happening and rejoice. But faith sees more and wants more. And so they wait, knowing God will come through. They know the tension I speak of, they want to see it, and they know it will happen. They are trusting God in every way. It is not a passive thing. They aren’t just sitting doing nothing. Yet they must wait as it hasn’t happened quite yet.
The same can be said of Christian parents or grandparents whose children or grandchildren haven’t trusted in Christ as of yet. They also live in that gap of time. They actively pray, they demonstrate their active faith by the lifestyle they live and the words they say. All of that is a powerful witness to family members. But they also find themselves living in the gap. When will it happen? When will my children turn to God? Faith says in “a little while.”
How many are living in the gap of time the writer of Hebrews calls “yet a little while”? By my estimation, most of us are living there! The Christian businessman waiting on his business to unfold and be blessed in God’s time has an active faith but still waits. The small group leader waiting for real community to take place is loving and caring and sharing and yet waits for that to spread into the group. A young woman who knows the Lord and just graduated from college waits for an open door by sending out resumes and making contacts. They all have faith and they all feel the tension. When will it happen? They believe the promise that in a little while He will come.
The bible speaks about the tension that an active faith produces.
Hebrews 10:35 “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
37 “For yet a little while,
And He[j] who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the[k] just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”[l]
39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”
The writer to the Hebrews was writing to a group of people who were under immense pressure to turn back to Judaism in order to escape the persecution of that day. This passage is about life in the gap. It is about having an active faith when the promise doesn’t seem to come. It is about enduring, not drawing back. I can only imagine what the life of the first readers of this scripture must have felt. They had come from Judaism to Christ. Now their property was being confiscated and plundered. (Hebrews 10:34) They had been in a great struggle and had suffered greatly, probably physical persecution. (Hebrews 10:32) They had been made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations. (Hebrews 10:33) Yet the huge promise of eternal life in heaven and the coming of Christ (Hebrews 10:37) was still out in the future. They were in the gap of time that produces tension. They had fully believed for salvation yet they still had to live on earth until heaven was finally theirs.
We all in a sense are in that gap of waiting for the better promised life with God in a New Jerusalem and a New Heaven and a New Earth. And so we hold onto our confidence in the person of Christ, we continue to do God’s will, we have determined that as far as saving faith goes, we are going all the way.
The principle of faith remain the same as we trust and believe God for other things. What we do in the gap as we wait can be applied to all areas where we exhibit faith. Faith is not just for salvation. Faith is for everyday. Faith is for life. The just live by faith. That faith manifests itself as we have said in all kinds of ways.
There are four things that the author of Hebrews says we must do in the gap:
- Hold onto your confidence
When delays occur and mountains don’t move and problems besiege us we are tempted to throw away our confidence. That is why the writer to the Hebrews said “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” This is a confidence in God and his ability. There is nothing God cannot do. He is the miracle worker. Hold onto your confidence in Him.
And as we know God deeper, we realize that on our own we can do nothing. But we boldly declare “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Our sense of confidence and sufficiency is not in our abilities but in His ability to work through us. Therefore we dare to speak and act with confidence, not in our own abilities and sufficiency, but in Christ working through us.
Even in moments of discouragement, we remind ourselves that God is still God. That His plan will ultimately prevail if we don’t lose hope and confidence in the one that saved us.
- Keep doing the will of God
This is where faith hits the road. Faith isn’t a feeling. Faith isn’t just a wish. Faith is an act. We read the Word and do it. We receive a vision from God and we act on it. We pray a prayer and then step out of the boat onto the waters.
The writer to the Hebrews said, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” Are we willing to endure? Are we willing to keep doing the will of God? I think so! The reason is that we want to receive the promise! And those of us who have walked with Him for a long time know His faithfulness.
The enemy of our souls asks us why we pray when it seems like God isn’t answering. He attempts to cast doubt on God during the gap. He tries to discourage us from actually doing something. He would rather have us just sit idly by. But those who make it through the gap keep doing the will of God. Pastors keep preaching and teaching and organizing and praying. Moms keep praying and loving and encouraging faith in unbelieving children. Businessmen keep praying over their business as it advances. We do the will of God because b doing His will we will obtain the promise.
I am sure Abraham and Sarah kept trying to have the child of promise. I am sure Caleb kept following God wholeheartedly thinking of the day he would ask for the mountain. If you and I are going to prevail, we must do the will of God in spite of setbacks, discouragements, people’s personal failings and a thousand other issues.
- Recognize the tension of having to wait
I hate to wait! I don’t like long lines, slow traffic, or websites that take forever to load up! In this modern age we want instant results. But the spiritual world is different. God’s timetable is different. And it helps me to remind myself that yes, it seems like God is taking forever to “show up”. But one day, in a little while He will come.
“For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.”
My job is to live in the gap. My mission is to maintain my confidence and speak words of faith. My job is to praise Him even when His timetable seems slow. The beauty of the verse above is that He who is coming will come! An active faith recognizes that we must live with the tension that we are still waiting for the object of our faith to materialize.
- Determine to not draw back
Drawing back is the opposite of pressing forward. God isn’t pleased when we slow down and stop moving ahead. It is an insult to the power and vitality of the living God we serve when we allow the circumstances of life to cause us to run in the other direction.
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”
But I know that by God’s grace we will not draw back. True believers with active faith will press in and press through with God’s help.
This is not to say that we will never feel like drawing back. This is not to say we won’t be tempted to draw back. If that were the case this scripture.
Trust God, He can still move mountains, part waters, and answer prayers.
Share your faith story in the comments section below. How did you survive the gap?