Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Do you believe in gravity? Do you believe in electricity?

Of course you do. So do I. And we prove our belief every time we take a step or turn on a light.

But when it comes to biblical truth and spiritual matters, our beliefs don’t always translate into actions. And I confess to being as guilty of this as anyone else.

The reality is that I often fail to live in accordance with what I claim to believe.

  • I claim I trust God as my heavenly Father…then I worry.
  • I say God is worthy of sacrificial service…then I pick and choose the most convenient way to serve Him.
  • Or I declare my gratitude for forgiveness found in Jesus Christ…then I withhold forgiveness from those who have offended me.

Funny thing is, many who claim to not believe in God sometimes live as if they do!

  • They ask for prayer when tragedy strikes, even though they claim to not believe.
  • They express gratitude for the good things in life, but refuse to thank the Giver.
  • Or they hold to a moral code of right and wrong (e.g. stealing and lying are both wrong), while denying the Source of that moral code.

Many Christians often surrender to fear that keeps us from living what we claim to believe. For example, we say we trust God, but we’re afraid when He works in our life for our good, the “good” will be like medicine: helpful, but it tastes terrible.

We worry God’s definition of good differs from ours. We define “good” as pleasant, comfortable, and convenient. But God defines good as that which accomplishes His purposes for us. And His purposes are usually related to stretching us out of our comfort zone and growing us beyond our convenience.

We say we want an eternal focus, but we’re consumed with making this temporary life as comfortable as possible.

So what’s the key to consistent living?

1. Start with prayer:

  • Sometimes we want to change, but need the Holy Spirit’s help to do it. Other times we need the Holy Spirit’s help to give us even the desire to change! Ask the Lord to give you the desire and the ability to live consistent with what you claim to believe.

2. Maintain an eternal focus:

  • Our broken world aches from the consequences of sin. And just as creation groans under the burden of sin (Romans 8:22), we also groan. But I wonder if part of our groaning is because our focus causes us to behave as if this world is all there is.
  • There’s a better world coming. Our best life is not now. Our best life is yet to come. This world is nothing more than a glorified bus station…and we’re all in transit.

3. Take a step of faith:

  • Just as we manifest faith when we flip a light switch, we manifest our faith in God by placing our full confidence in Him and His promises. I can claim a chair will hold me, but never actually sit in it. Or I can place my full weight in the chair as a demonstration of faith in what I claimed.
  • What “chair” is waiting for you to demonstrate your faith? Is it the chair of trust? Sacrificial giving? Service? In what area do you need to step out in faith, knowing God has already proven Himself trustworthy?

4. Do it again:

  • Don’t stop with one step. Take another. And another. Studies confirm it takes more than two months to form a new habit. It could take even longer, depending on the old habit you’re trying to replace (Philippians 4:9).

The key is not doing it in our own strength. This is not about trying harder, working smarter, and doing better. This is about depending on the Holy Spirit for the power to say no—or yes—as the situation requires. And to do it day by day, hour by hour, and sometimes even minute by minute.

Do you desire to live consistent with the faith you claim to have? It’s rarely convenient. But you’ll find yourself on a faith journey that will exceed your greatest expectations.

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30 Comments

  1. Sue

    Once again, you have challenged me on my faith walk. What a great reminder to start with prayer and end with “do it again”. Not I, but He who lives in me…..

  2. Ava Pennington

    So glad, Sue. It’s a challenge for me, too!

  3. Debra L Butterfield

    Excellent article, Ava. Terrific examples of claiming belief, yet acting opposite of our claim. And we’re all guilty. I’m so glad we don’t have to do this in our strength, but have the Holy Spirit to help us.

  4. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Debra. Yes, so thankful we’re not doing this on our own!

  5. Anneliese Dalaba

    This is such a good post! So true. May I live what I believe always.

  6. Melissa McLaughlin

    Wow! Your words really hit deep. I had to think about times I have done exactly what you described here, though I know I believe! Lord, help my unbelief! Powerful message, Ava!

  7. Lisa Murray

    #2. So hard sometimes, but such freedom comes when I do. He is faithful and He leads me perfectly as long as I follow. Blessings!

  8. Ava Pennington

    Me, too, Anneliese!

  9. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Melissa!

  10. Ava Pennington

    Blessings to you, too, Lisa!

  11. Ellen Snyder

    Nail on the (my) head. Struggling with burnout. Thank you for putting into words what I need to hear right now. God bless you in your own journey, as you miss/go forward without loved ones and forge a “new” normal.

  12. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Ellen. It’s a “nail” on my head, too!

  13. Beth Bingaman

    “For example, we say we trust God, but we’re afraid when He works in our life for our good, the “good” will be like medicine: helpful, but it tastes terrible.”
    Convicted! Thanks

  14. Candice Brown

    Consistency is key. I fell off the wagon of memorizing daily, though I felt called to. This is the chair he has called me to sit in; on to it! Thanks for the encouragement, sis!

  15. Ava Pennington

    Convicting for me, too, Beth!

  16. Ava Pennington

    Love how you phrased that, Candice: “This is the chair he has called me to sit in.”

  17. Marlene Hibbard

    Ava, Great reminders of trust and following through on our goals, our giving or whatever service God calls us to. Just what I needed to confirm a message God gave me yesterday from E. M. Bounds on Prayer. “There is neither encouragement nor room in Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes: all must be strenuous, urgent, arduous…”

  18. Ava Pennington

    Even as I wrote it, this was a similar reminder to me, too, Marlene!

  19. Anne Mackie Morelli

    Your post reminded me of Paul’s lament in Romans where he says he does what he does not want to do, and does not do what he should! What a common lament that we all struggle with! Thankful for God’s grace as I strive to become more consistently faithful and obedient.

    “15 For I don’t understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want—instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I do what I don’t want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do the good, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want! 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me.” (Romans 7:15-20 New English Translation (NET Bible)

  20. Ava Pennington

    Yes, Anne, thankful for God’s grace!

  21. Melissa Henderson

    Prayer and trust. God hears our prayers. I pray my faith and love for God shows in all I say and do. 🙂

  22. Ava Pennington

    Me, too, Melissa!

  23. Ava

    Really good tips especially do it again. A great reminder for times when we forget. Thanks!

  24. Marcie Cramsey

    I like how you say, “This world is nothing more than a glorified bus station…and we’re all in transit.” This is so true. Our life here on earth is a journey. And while we should love and appreciate the life God has given us, we should never put more faith in it than in Him and His Kingdom. Great post!

  25. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Marcie!

  26. Julie Loos

    Great post! Love the tips on how to be consistent!

  27. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Julie!

  28. Barbara

    Awesome Ava…..truth we need to follow!

  29. Jessica Brodie

    Great post! I love the part about “Maintain an eternal focus.” God sees the big picture, and when we focus on that, it changes our whole perspective!

  30. Nancy E. Head

    An important reminder that our walk must match our talk. Thanks and God bless!

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