Some confuse zeal and bravado with faith. They’re not the same. Zeal in the Greek means to bubble or boil, from the sound of boiling water. It means to be fervent. It’s that passion or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause. Bravado is a show of boldness intended to impress or intimidate. While it may be a display of boldness, often it’s attached to pride. Either way, both of these are based on emotions. In their proper place they’re good. Negatively, zeal can turn into jealousy, and as already stated, bravado can lead to pride. Even though someone may feel passionate and bold in the moment, it doesn’t mean they’re doing so in faith. It’s easy to romanticize faith and get enthusiastic. Make no mistake, walking in faith does often include zeal and passion; but, what about those times when you feel the opposite? Does that make it any less faith? Emotions can be tricky, especially if you’re led by them. There may be times when you’re walking by faith and you feel hot as boiling water. Other moments not so much. You might even feel like a walking-ice-cube. These emotions don’t make or break faith. Again, feeling like you’re walking by faith and actually being in faith are two different things. Of course, while walking in faith, you will often feel it.
By definition, faith is assurance, firm persuasion, or conviction by inward certainty. Biblically, it’s the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). It’s the essential nature or essence of the thing hoped for, the proof of things not perceived by the natural senses. In short, it is God’s unseen reality. It is spiritual in nature, and cannot be emotionally driven. It may affect our emotions to be sure, but that’s as far as it goes. The confusion comes when someone is emotionally driven, and they step off the cliff thinking it’s faith, and they fall flat on their face. It was something they conjured, even though it felt like it was God’s direction. Many have experienced this phenomenon, so don’t be discouraged if you are one of them. It’s a learning thing. So how does faith work, so zeal and bravado don’t hijack your walk? Romans 10:17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. To begin, this is how you came into faith. You heard the Gospel, Holy Spirit moved on your heart and you received Jesus. This was your entrance into the life of faith. Steps of faith require hearing from God. As Jesus said: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 [quoting Deuteronomy 8:3]). The proceeding Word is also known as Rhema. Hearing comes in a variety of ways. Some have heard God audibly. Many hear His voice in their mind as Holy Spirit speaks to their spirit. Other times, they feel the unction or anointing of Holy Spirit moving in their heart (see 1 John 2:20, 27). Someone may come with a word of knowledge, word of wisdom, or prophesy (see 1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Once you hear in whatever manner, believe, receive and then act according to what you hear. In many instances, that will be one step at a time.
For instance, the Lord may give you a vision of your God-given destiny. That vision may not give you the actual steps it will take to get there. That’s where humility and listening comes into play. It’s easy to get excited and start thrashing about, trying to bring it to pass. Patience! Part of walking by faith is waiting on God for the next move, or simply waiting on Him to move. There are times when you act, and other times you sit still. It short, you have to relinquish control to Him! Sometimes enthusiasm finds the window and crawls out. We all have to learn to do as the Lord asks, regardless of our emotions. “I don’t feel like it,” won’t cut the mustard. Faith is never about how we may feel in the moment. In short, pray, listen and obey. Humility will also keep the wrong side of bravado in check.
It is time for the Church to rise up in fervency and boldness. In order for that to happen, we must allow God to lead us every step of the way. Moreover, it’s important we give Him the glory in everything, which is an act of humility. Psalms 127:1Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.