Having a general faith in God can be easy. Learning to build a faith that helps us tackle the challenges in our daily life rather than being defeated or discouraged by them can be much harder.
How do we spiritually lead our kids? How do we live with faith rather than fear about dating, or navigate how to be close to our family? How do I overcome insecurity to be honest and build friendships?
Building a faith that permeates our daily life requires more focus and effort.
 Trust the LORD completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge.  With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way. Don’t trust in your own wisdom, but fear and respect the LORD and stay away from evil.  If you do this, it will be like a refreshing drink and medicine for your body.Proverbs 3:5-8 ERV
The Bible calls us to trust and believe God will take care of every step and detail of our lives. God doesn’t want us to rely on him just for the sake of it, but because he knows what’s best for us and wants to refresh and relieve us. When we understand the importance of faith in everyday life, we will be able to not only survive, but grow and thrive.
Find the source of your stress
“ “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? … Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”Matthew 6:25, 27 NLT
The Bible says that we shouldn’t worry about our everyday life…yet we can be experts at sweating the details. A recent Gallup poll showed that Americans are more stressed than at any point in the last decade. Likewise, studies show that top causes of stress in our lives are the common things we face daily – our job, health, finances, and relationships.
If you’re like me this means you would rather stress about the workload this semester in your economics class than examine and exercise your faith with it. Why is this?
 “And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?  “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”Matthew 6:30-32 NLT
In this scripture, Jesus says that daily stress dominates our thoughts when we are unbelieving. It teaches me that the source of my stress isn’t the workload at school or work or the ongoing to-do list with home that is the issue. The source of my stress is unbelief.
My unbelief causes me to live in my head, consumed by anxious thoughts: ”How am I ever going to get that done? I have too much on my plate to get to that…” These are areas of my life where I don’t involve God or think spirituality is applicable.
Often, I think that these seemingly trivial details of my life like working on my budget are too insignificant for God to care about. So I exclude Him from these parts of my life because I don’t believe telling him will make a difference. But God says he knows and will meet these seemingly trivial needs.
- What areas of your life have been dominating your thoughts recently?
- Are you involving God in these areas of your life?
- How does unbelief play a role with the degree to which you involve God into your life?
God cares about the details
There is a part of me that likes being self-reliant. My pride wants to say “I did it on my own, without any help.” The smaller the detail of my life, the greater the desire to be self-reliant. I want to believe that there are parts of my life that I don’t need help with and as a result I alienate God and people from these areas.
Yet, despite what my pride may tell me, the scriptures tell me another story about God’s interest, care, and desire to be involved with the details of our lives.
 “You can buy two sparrows for only a copper coin, yet not even one sparrow falls from its nest without the knowledge of your Father. Aren’t you worth much more to God than many sparrows?  So don’t worry. For your Father cares deeply about even the smallest detail of your life.”Matthew 10:29-30 TPT
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”Psalm 37:23 NLT
God cares deeply about every single detail of our lives, and delights to be involved in them even with the minute details of it. This means that God cares about your final paper with school even if you’ve been procrastinating and avoiding it all semester. He cares about the deadline you have at work, and your kids’ sniffles and allergies.
God cares about it all – your health, your finances, and even your little idiosyncrasies you think no one noticed. Choosing to believe this will help us trust him with the details of our lives.
- What parts of your daily life do you keep God out of by not praying about?
- What are the small details of your life that you think are too insignificant for God to care about or be involved in?
- How are you handling the details of your life that you don’t involve God in?
Faith amidst everyday emotions
We experience a myriad of emotions on a daily basis. Some are positive like happiness, love, gratitude, while others are negative such as fear, anxiety, and disappointment. Though having these emotions aren’t inherently bad, it is easy for them to dictate our faith and distract us from God.
We need God’s help to fight the temptation to let our human emotions take control.
 Of course we are human, but we don’t fight like humans.  The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans. Rather, they are powerful weapons from God. With them we destroy people’s defenses, that is, their arguments  and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.2 Corinthians 10:3-5 GW
With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.Ephesians 6:16 NRSV
2 Corinthians 10 tells us that spiritual weapons can overpower human defenses. These can come in the form of pride, intellectual arguments, and emotional defenses.
We need God’s weapons to “take every thought captive.” Ephesians 6 tells us that one of these many weapons God provides for us is a shield of faith.
I have the ability to imagine the worst possible outcome for any situation, and often use all of my energy to prepare for the worst. This “human way” of fighting leads to me becoming exhausted, because I’ve spent all of my mental and emotional energy on reacting to every situation that comes my way and trying to take control; I am constantly on the defensive.
This is because I have no shield of faith, so all of the “flaming arrows” are hitting me!
To have this shield of faith and follow God over my emotions, I need to decide to actively study and obey the scriptures (Romans 10:17). This means not just simply reading or agreeing with the Bible as I read it, but finding and holding onto scriptures that help me focus on God and fight on the offensive rather than defensive.
- What are some of the challenges you are facing in your daily life now that you need faith for?
- What emotions are consuming or leading you?
- What scriptures can you hold onto, pray through, and obey instead?
Building daily faith starts with daily choices to trust God
It is a daily decision to choose to follow God and live by faith rather than giving into fear and letting fear and stress consume and dictate how I live.
When I’m anxious about something, I’m presented with several choices, most of which I encounter daily:
- Will I choose to pray until God becomes bigger than my fears, or will I cut my prayers short in order to try to anxiously work harder about what is giving me stress?
- Will I choose to study my Bible deeply to find scriptures that show me God’s perspective or will I indulge in and let the voices of fear and anxiety prevail?
- Will I reach out to a friend for help and perspective or will I stay in my own head with my anxious and fearful thoughts and just try to get by?
Just about every scenario I face that makes me feel worried or afraid can be addressed by making the right choice to prioritize and trust God.
“ I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.  Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.  In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.”Psalm 34:4-6 NLT
Despite his fears and circumstances, this psalmist trusted that God would take care of him. Learning to live by faith in our everyday lives start with understanding the source of our fears: we haven’t learned to trust God yet (Mark 4:40-41 TPT). It seems very simple and yet extremely difficult at the same time.
To learn to trust God, we first need to identify what are we put our trust in instead. Here are four common things we can put our trust in over God:
- Our ability: What we are able to accomplish physically ourselves (ex: God can’t or doesn’t care enough to help me succeed in school, so I have to do everything myself).
- Control: Getting our ducks in a row & working out details according to our plan (Ex: If I forget to put hand sanitizer on my kids hands, she will get sick and get our whole family sick and it will mess up our “happy holiday”).
- Logic/ Facts: Human reasoning or what seems humanly possible based on the facts presented (Ex: I’ve gone on a date with every guy I know and there’s been no compatibility, therefore it’s impossible for God to help me date anytime soon).
- How others view us: Our confidence and security is based on our interactions (good or bad) with our peers and whether we fit in with them (Ex: If I don’t convince my parents to let me go to this movie, my social life will be over, because all the popular kids are going and I’m afraid of missing out).
As long as I’m putting my trust in someone or something other than God, fear and anxiety continue to dominate my thoughts. I need to learn to trust God daily and focus my efforts on things that build my faith in God daily.
For me, this starts with making a daily decision to prioritize my walk with God by:
- Having focused Bible study that is free of distractions from phone, email, etc.
- Making decisions to go deep by asking and answering questions to understand my heart and motives
- Turning to God in prayer by pouring out my heart to him until I have resolve and faith that God cares about my concerns (including the details!) and will help me.
- Be involved in spiritual relationships, making time for the friends who will challenge me because they want to see me grow.
- Of the four things listed above, which one do you put your trust in the most? What are examples in your daily life?
- How does putting your trust in this instead of God affect your faith?
- How can you make daily choices to build your faith and put your trust in God?