Walking by Faith in the New Year

We are approaching the finish line of one of the weirdest and most difficult years most of us have ever experienced. In a few days, you will step across the threshold into a new year. You may be in the midst of a job search or perhaps planning to launch one. Of course, you don’t know exactly what the future holds – none of us does. But if you have faith, you have the assurance that God is in control and that He has a plan for your provision. The Bible tells us this.

Does this mean that whatever you want you will get? No, that is a false gospel. God has never promised to give us everything we want. However, God does know best what we need. Jesus told us this in the Sermon on the Mount. He says that we are not to worry about having something to eat or something to wear. “Your Heavenly Father knows that you need these things,” Jesus says, “So quit worrying about them” (Matt 6:31-34 paraphrased).

God has a plan for you. God wants you to have meaningful work. Work is a blessing from God and is one of the primary ways He sustains us. If you are a person of faith who is engaged in a job search, I truly believe that there is a job out there that God has prepared for you. But you need to have faith in Him and pray that He will strengthen and equip you in your search and lead you to the situation that has been prepared for you in His perfect will.

One of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible is Hebrews 11, sometimes called the “faith chapter.”  It begins with this definition of faith – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the belief in things unseen.” Note that there are two parts to this definition, and both of them are important.

First, faith gives us the assurance that what we want most we are assured of receiving. What is it that we want most from God? If we are Christians, it is – or should be – to spend eternity in His loving and glorious presence. If we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and trust in the Son’s finished work on the cross, then we already have what we want most – eternal life (John 3:16) – and nothing can take that away from us. Shouldn’t that be a great encouragement, even during periods in our lives when things aren’t always going as we had hoped they would?

The second part of the definition tells us that faith is believing in something even if we can’t actually see it. This is the antithesis of the old saying that “seeing is believing.” Have you ever had a non-believer ask you, “How can you believe in this God that no one has ever seen? How do you know he even exists?” I usually respond by saying, “Because I have faith, and the Bible says that one important aspect of faith is the belief in ‘things unseen.’”

The writer of Hebrews goes on to give specific examples of people in the Bible story who stepped out in faith and who were honored and blessed for doing so. Abraham is a great example, and his story begins in Genesis 12. Abraham is 75 years old. God tells him to gather up his family and whatever belongings he can carry with him and leave his homeland for a new place that God will reveal to him. Abraham does exactly as God tells him and leaves, even though he has no idea where he is going. He steps out in faith, and eventually, God blesses him and makes him the father of a great nation.

It is important to understand that there is nothing in this definition of faith that suggests you should just sit back and expect good things to happen. Remember, this is a false gospel. In his classic book on biblical doctrines titled Systematic Theology, Dr. Wayne Grudem has a wonderful chapter on “God’s Providence.”  He says that the Bible makes it very clear that while God has promised provision for those who believe in Him, there are things that are expected of us as well. Some of those things are especially applicable in a career search. Looking for a job is hard work, and to succeed a person needs to be at the top of his or her game. Here are some ideas adapted from Dr. Grudem’s book[1]:

·           Take care of yourself. Practice sound eating habits. Try to get plenty of sleep. Include at least some physical exercise in each day’s activities, even if it’s just to get out and walk. Your body is a temple. Treat it as such.

·           Lean on the sound advice of godly people whom God places in your path to help you. At WorkFaith, this might be your classroom instructors, your career coach, a volunteer who helps you with interview skills, another WorkFaith graduate or classmate, or just about anyone.

·           Trust in the process – in what you have learned. The training you have received or will receive has stood the test of time. Hundreds of people just like you have used the career search skills taught at WorkFaith not only to find a job but to experience changed lives.

·           Pray. As Dr. Grudem says, “Prayer is one specific kind of action that has definite results and that does change the course of events.”

·           Do not be afraid. Trust in God. He knows what you need. This is one of the fundamental teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, and also of the Apostle Paul in his beautiful letter to the Philippians: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7).

·           Be thankful for the good things that happen and for the provision from God that you see every day in your life. Giving thanks to God is a form of worship. Remember the second half of our faith definition? Faith is “the belief in things unseen.” You can’t see the future, but God can – indeed, He has created the future. Believe in Him, trust Him, and believe that the right job is out there for you. Step into the coming new year and walk in faith.

[1] Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI, 1994. Adapted from pp. 333-337.

Author: Houghton Hutcheson

Houghton Hutcheson recently retired after nearly 40 years as a professional recruiter and is in the early stages of launching a second career as a Christian coach. He holds a Master of Biblical and Theological Studies degree from Dallas Theological Seminary plus two earlier degrees from the University of Texas and Princeton University. Houghton is an Elder at First Presbyterian Church of Houston and a long-time volunteer at a variety of Christian ministries throughout the city, including WorkFaith. Houghton has been married to Claudia Talley Hutcheson for 44 years and together they have five adult sons and five grandchildren.