What does living by faith mean?
Faith is at the center of our lives as Catholics but what does living by faith truly mean? Living by faith in today’s world can be quite a challenge especially because contemporary culture conditions us to value hard facts and accuracy and faith is quite the opposite of these things. Faith requires a certain degree of uncertainty and surrender. It can be quite intimidating when we think about it.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.” Romans 1:17
Our faith is not something that is limited to religious activities such as mass or when we pray. Our faith should be part of our daily life and identities. We must put it into action and live it in our day to day decisions and activities.
Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He wants us to live lives filled with grace, spiritual purpose and growth. However, we all have free will which gives us the freedom to do what we want. This can be tricky because sometimes we are confronted with problems in which the solutions are not clear cut. It is in times of uncertainty that our faith is put to the test. During these difficult moments, we must trust in God to lead us to make the right choices and this is where our living faith comes into the picture.
Practical tips on how we can live by faith
1. Devote time to study God’s Word
Living by faith is not about making assumptions based on feelings about what God wants us to do. It involves knowing what He wants for us which is only possible if we commit to diligent study His word and laws. With this said, we must make it a priority to read and study the Bible.
Devote regular time each day to read God’s Word. You could start by allocating an hour in the morning, a great way to start your day or in the evening right before you go to bed.
Don’t passively read the Bible verses, take time to reflect upon them and how they apply to your daily life and struggles. There are devotional and Catholic Faith books that can serve as a study guide or can complement your Bible readings.
Prayer lets us communicate with God and seek out His will for us. Some of us only pray when we need something but this should not be the case. We want to keep in touch with our loved ones and it should be the same with God. We can only be mindful of His presence and will for us if we are in constant communication with Him so pray daily.
3. Think of eternity
To live by faith has a more profound meaning when we put it in the context of eternity. When we are mindful that all of our actions, from the smallest act to any life-changing decisions, will ripple into eternity, we become less self-centered and more focused on the long-term.
It’s a common struggle for all of us to integrate the different areas of our lives into one spiritually cohesive whole. For example, it may be easy for us to be kind and forgiving during Sundays when we are surrounded by fellow Christians but it can be very challenging to do this outside the church when we are surrounded by people who are different from us. If we really think about it, our life should not be compartmentalized but, rather, centered wholly on Christ and focused toward eternity. This spiritual outlook should therefore manifest in every bit of our lives.
Whenever you are about to make a decision, always start with the end in mind. Don’t just think about the here and now but what what implications your actions will have on your spiritual journey.
4. Serve others
We strengthen our faith when we put it into action and one way to do this is by serving others. Jesus is a prime example of a servant leader. He led by serving others and shepherding them into a life in God. His death on the cross is the ultimate act of sacrifice and humility. The world will certainly be a much better and more compassionate place if each of us learned to think about others first.
When we have a servant’s heart, we let go of our selfish drive and put the needs of other people first. Christ possessed these qualities and wants us to have them, too. Here are some ways that we can develop these character traits:
- Volunteer in your church
- Participate in community work
- Organize outreaches in less privileged areas
What does it mean to you to live by faith?
How do you live out your Catholic Faith?