Footwear of Faith
How many pairs of shoes do you personally own? Does your family jokingly refer to you as “Imelda”? Or are you a one-pair wonder who sees little point in owning more than one functional, comfortable pair of shoes? I, myself, am a little closer to the one-pair wonder than Imelda Marcos (who owned more than 1,200 pairs of shoes).
I tend to have one pair of shoes for every occasion: I wear flip-flops everyday 😎; tennis shoes for the gym 👟; ankle boots with my dress pants 👢; sandals in the summer 👡; heels for special occasions 👠; and winter boots when it’s cold outside ❄️. Oh, I almost forgot: I also have an old pair of those “special” Sketchers® that never did firm or tone anything saggy 😜. Oh well!
Why all this talk about shoes? I thought this was a devotional. True. True. Well, shoes have soles, too!
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist! 😉)
The truth is, as I prayed about this month’s theme, God brought to mind some common idioms about faith, and they all involved feet! For example, a person takes a “step of faith”; another is “walking in faith”; and someone else just took a “leap of faith.” Apparently, the practice of faith requires moving your proverbial feet. Before we start selecting shoes, however, let’s first define what faith (the verb) is and is not.
“To Faith, or Not To Faith?” That Is the Question.
In the Bible, “faith” (whether noun or verb) is an action word. And while we can easily translate the Greek noun pistis (PIS-tis) as “faith,” the English language has no way to accurately translate its verb form, pisteuein (pis-TYOO-ane), which literally means “to faith.” Most of the time, pisteuein is translated “to believe” which simply implies mental assent in English; however, it’s meaning is more complex than that. Pisteuein is an action-imperative verb and contains the concept of trust combined with obedience.
Just let that sink in for a moment…
“Faithing” is not merely believing in something or someone. “Faithing” is demonstrating trust in something or someone through obedient action. Unfortunately, there’s no such word as “faithing,” and should you begin to use “faith” as a verb, people may question your grasp of grammar. Therefore, it’s up to us to ensure that when we read about faith in the Scriptures, we call to mind its intended meaning: We must remember that “having faith” means doing something—it connotes an act of obedience.
At the very least, this offers a fresh perspective on a favorite Bible verse, John 3:16, which typically translates pisteuōn (the present active participle of pisteuō) as “whosoever believes in Him”; however, a more accurate translation is “all the ones faithing in Him.” In other words, eternal life is the promise to those who have faithed in Him.1
So, how does one “faith”?
Sometimes, it’s easier to look at the opposite action to understand the action. For instance, have you ever found the perfect pair of shoes, purchased them, brought them home, put them in your closet, and never worn them? (If you’re not a shoe person, just substitute something you use in your favorite hobby, and you’ll get the point.) In cases like this, our unused purchases are not only a waste of money and time, but they also become a constant reminder of what might have been. Shoes are made to be worn, not put in a closet to rot.
It’s the same with faith: Steps of faith are made to be taken, not prayed about forever and never acted upon. When we get stuck in prayer mode (i.e., seeking God’s guidance on the same decision over and over and over again while refusing to acknowledge that He has given it), we are exercising unfaith (apistis). God WANTS us to do His will. He desires for us to act in faith and trust His sovereignty. Daniel 2:28a says that “there is a God in Heaven who reveals mysteries.” When we seek His will, He reveals it. Every. Single. Time.
So, what hinders a person from faithing in life?
- Assuming the wrong shoe size
- Selecting shoes that are the wrong shape for the foot
- Leaving no room for impact
- No support in the shoe itself
In the same way, when we allow our emotions, peers, family, and/or friends too rule our lives, rather than relying on the Lord’s guidance first and foremost, we find ourselves “wearing the wrong shoes,” and risking permanent damage to our “feet.”
- Assuming the wrong gifting
- Committing to something that is the wrong shape for your personality
- Leaving no room for impact
- No support structure
How do we sidestep these faith pitfalls?
First of all, we can avoid them by seeking the Lord’s face in prayer, through worship, and in His Word. Slow down. Listen. Pay attention. Look for patterns in what you’re hearing, reading, singing, playing, doing. Secondly, we can apply the shoe fitter’s solutions for finding the right shoes to sidestep the potential pitfalls of faithing:
👟 Shoe Problem #1: Assuming the wrong shoe size
Solution: Have your feet measured every year. Since your feet can change over time, your decision about new shoes should be reliant on your current foot size, not your past shoe size.
🔥 Faithing Pitfall #1: Assuming the wrong gifting
Solution: Take a spiritual gifts inventory every year (click here for free resources). As Christians, the Lord is continually maturing us and growing us to be more like Him. Since God gifts us according to His agenda (not ours), we should pay attention to current gifting rather than assuming we’re supposed to do what we’ve always done. It might be the same, but it could be quite different depending on His plans.
👟 Shoe Problem #2: Shoes that are the wrong shape for the foot
Solution: Look at the shape of the shoe; it should resemble the shape of your foot.
🔥 Faithing Pitfall #2: Doing something that is completely wrong for you
Solution: Take time to understand your personality type and spiritual gifting (click here for free resources), and look for opportunities to serve within those areas. God has created and equipped you uniquely for His purposes. There is only one you, and to assume that authenticity is a liability is just plain silly. You have a destiny that only you can fill! God will not call you into something that requires you to be someone you are not.
👟 Shoe Problem #3: No room for impact
Solution: It’s important not only to fit the shoes to your feet, but also to leave room for impact. Make sure there is approximately 1/2″ between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Since toes splay as you walk or run, be sure to walk around in the shoes to ensure a proper fit.
🔥 Faithing Pitfall#3: No room for impact
Solution: Remember that there is a difference—sometimes massive—between the way a thing seems to work and how it actually functions. Take time to test things out before making a long-term commitment. Give yourself permission to have a trial period. See how you “fit.” Do you have a peace that passes understanding? Is there room to “wiggle your toes”? Or does it feel constricting and uncomfortable? Slow down. Listen. Pay attention. Follow peace.
👟 Shoe Problem #4: No support in the shoe itself
Solution: Inspect the three main areas of the shoe for proper support: the heel counter, the torso, and the midfoot (arch region). Interestingly, each of these areas should be stable with little-to-no flexibility. These critical areas minimize risk of injury.
🔥 Faithing Pitfall #4: No support structure
Solution: Make sure you have a support structure in place before you begin. Ideally, your spouse will be your biggest backer; however, I realize that life isn’t always ideal. What I know for certain is that when God is calling you to take a step (or leap!) of faith, He has already strategically placed His people into your life to support you through the process. Be wary of stepping out with no one backing you. If you are convinced that God has called you out, then ask Him to reveal your support team to you. Pray for discernment and protection as you selectively share your dream/vision/calling, because satan would like nothing better than to derail your dream.
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
Faith footwear. Who knew there was such a thing?! Not I. Yet, somehow, it all makes sense. I faith when I put the right shoes on my feet and walk in them; I exercise faith when I prayerfully make a decision and act on it. Does this mean I will never get a blister? Never twist my ankle? Never break a heel? No. Stuff happens.
When we’ve prayed through a decision, taken the step/leap of faith only to watch the dream disintegrate right before our very eyes, it’s CRITICAL that we not second guess ourselves. God often allows discomfort and inconvenience—not because we are out of His will or heard the wrong thing—but because He had a lesson to teach us. (When this happens, our goal should be singular: Learn the lesson the first time. Ain’t nobody got time to learn the same lesson twice! 😉) Consider this: Without our willingness to take that step of faith, we would have missed the lesson and the connections made along the way—connections which often come into play later in the faith journey. We must trust His sovereignty.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
⏳ Is It Time?
Is God prompting you to take a step of faith? 👣 A leap? 🐸 While it might feel intimidating, or even impossible at first, with the right “shoes” — custom fit to the size and shape of your foot with a little room for impact and stable support—the step becomes a walk; the leap, a manageable stride. And God receives the glory for the great things He has done through our willingness to faith in Him. 🐧
1 Interestingly, even demons are said to faith in Him (cf. James 2:19). You might wonder how that is possible. Well, when Jesus said, “Get out,” they got out because they faithed.
2 Jeffers, Justin. “11 Tips For Finding Work Shoes That Fit.” Business Insider, Business Insider Inc., December 13, 2013, http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-tell-if-shoes-fit-2013-12.
3 “Shoe Fitting and Buying Tips.” Canadian Footwear, https://www.canadianfootwear.com/fitting-buying-tips.