What if instead of reacting to the situations of life, you could face life’s challenges with a bold confidence and hope BEFORE you even experience them? It’s possible, if you have a proactive faith.
Not sure what that looks like? Grab our FREE How to Grow a Proactive Faith Quicklist to help you get started.
But, having a proactive faith is not something that is natural for us to do. In fact, we’re immersed in a reactive world.
For example, the cultural norm for how we handle the common cold is to treat it with medicine. Meanwhile, colds and other health issues can be easily prevented with eating healthier, balanced nutrition, exercise, and strengthening our immunity.
Being proactive is a daily choice. But most often instead of making a consistent daily effort to be proactive, we don’t take action until it hurts. Once we feel pain—either physically, emotionally or spiritually—then we’re ready to do something.
Is this human nature? Or is it what culture has nurtured in us that causes us to crave the quick fix. I actually think it’s a combination of both. First, let’s talk about how our nature influences whether we have a proactive faith or not.
Crave Spiritual Milk
In 1 Peter 2:2-3, Paul instructs us,
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (ESV)
As Christians we nurture a proactive faith in a variety of ways:
- By praying
- Reading scripture or other books
- Memorizing or writing down scripture
- Listening to Christian music
- Participating in worship
- Practicing spiritual disciplines.
All of these strengthen our resolve and our personal faith. But, if you think about, how often do we settle into a habit of a quick faith fix?
Ever catch yourself thinking,
“What can I do for devotions that doesn’t take too much time? I know I need to read my Bible, but…”
Ever feel this way? I have. It’s in our nature.
In my mid twenties, when I was going through some really difficult times I used to read devotional resources like My Utmost for His Highest, Streams in the Desert, Morning and Evening, and Our Daily Bread.
I knew I needed to read my Bible, but my craving at the time was for something that didn’t take much time.
Although, my faith was being encouraged—as I prayed, God kept speaking to my heart about my choices. In my human nature, I wanted something short and simple, but I soon realized that devotional books weren’t really growing in me a proactive faith. They were just milk.
He was calling me to know Him more and that was worth the time! You can read more in Why I Make Time to Read the Most Important Book
Just like human nature influences whether or not you have a proactive faith, culture also conditions you as well.
Our Faith Is Being Shaped by Culture
In the past couple of years, I’ve become convinced that as Christians our faith has become more and more reactive. Because of the influence of culture, we have a tendency to cling to faith mostly when life is challenging.
Just think, when was the last time that you found yourself faced with feelings of discouragement, fear, and being overwhelmed? Maybe it’s how you feel right now?
These are all a normal part of life. In fact, the Bible says that as believers in Jesus Christ, we will experience suffering.
And when you feel this way, you can experience faith in action:
- Hope to endure and persevere.
- God’s word giving encouragement.
- The Holy Spirit giving guidance.
- God’s people supporting you.
I think you probably know all of this to be true. You know God promises it, you’ve seen others experience it, and perhaps you’ve experienced it before too. So when life gets hard, you tend to cling to faith.
Sometimes it’s not because your faith is weak—or strong. It might just be because of cultural influence. This next statement may be hard to read, but it’s important to consider. Just like culture conditions you to take medicine to handle the common cold, it has conditioned you to cling to your faith because you feel pain.
I said this in the beginning, but it’s worth repeating.
What if instead of reacting to the situations of life with your faith, you could face life’s challenges with a bold confidence and hope BEFORE you even experience them?
This is what it looks like to have a proactive faith.
You see, God gives us a very clear picture of what it looks like to have a reactive faith versus a proactive faith. And, it’s actually a warning to us.
Reactive Faith: A Warning from God
In Matthew 25 verses 1 through 13, we read story of the ten virgins who filled their lamps.
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.
But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’
And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.
Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”—Matthew 25:1–13 (ESV)
Proactive Faith is Being Prepared
Five virgins were ready for what was to come. While five knew what they needed, but they didn’t go get it until the bridegroom came. Unfortunately, the five who were reactive, were NOT prepared and they were unable to enter in with the bridegroom.
I’m not interested in going into the interpretation of this passage. But I want to point out that instead of reacting and waiting for our experiences to dictate our actions, we need to have a proactive faith by being prepared.
So let’s talk about the 5 steps for how you can grow a proactive faith daily.
5 Steps to Growing a Proactive Faith
Over the years, I’ve learned that there are some key essentials that play into daily nurturing a faith that is prepared. A number of these spiritual habits were cultivated through reading scripture, prayer, godly mentors, and books like Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence.
These 5 steps are something that I’ve been intentional to focus on daily. I call it the SimplyOne Bible Study Method. It’s a method that elevates the One Voice—God’s voice—in our daily lives instead of the noise of this world. It truly is growing a proactive faith. Instead of a brief checkin or check off your list—I’m walking with God each step of my day—or practicing His Presence.
- Be Still (morning) – Take time first thing in the morning to prepare your mind and quiet your heart before the Lord. It could be journaling, listening to worship music or maybe even taking a quiet walk.
- Seek First (morning) – Select a passage of scripture to read. Before reading, pray and ask the Lord to speak to your heart through His Word. Ask Him to give you a clear mind and undivided attention. Pay attention to any verses or phrases that catch your attention.
- Be Renewed (throughout the day) – Write down a verse or phrase that specifically spoke to you as you were reading the Bible. Make a point to meditate on that throughout your day. Pray and ask the Lord to continue to give you insight and wisdom about it.
- Pray Continually (throughout the day) – Write down specific prayers that you have for the day. Reference these throughout your day and see how it relates to the passage you read. You may even try praying the scripture you read—as it might be related to your requests.
- Give Thanks (evening) – At the end of the day, draw your heart back to God in thanks in gratitude. Write down those things your thankful for that happened that day, including answered prayers. Pray and give thanks to the Lord.
Being Intentional Is Essential for a Proactive Faith
If I am not intentional to grow my relationship with God in these ways, then my mind is held captive by the noise of this world and the lies of the enemy. I quickly return to living a reactive faith. Nurturing my faith is a daily essential to having a proactive faith and I hope that you will be encouraged to have a daily walk with God too.
My prayer is that you would not just be a hearer of His Word, but that you would have the courage to follow where He leads.
If you’re looking to grow a proactive faith, grab my free How to Grow a Proactive Faith Quick List. You can start practicing my simplyOne Bible Study Method, today.