How to Show Faith by Example
by Drenda Keesee
Faith is much more than religion. Faith is the evidence or result of what you’ve believed in your life—whether that was faith in God, in debt, in fear, or in failure. Since faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the evidence in your life points to where your faith is. Your faith produces your outcome. Your children need to see the goodness of God growing up.
Your children also need your example, because…
…it is the example you set for your children that tells of the goodness of God. When you combine the two, you have a powerful combination: faith by example. What you model for your children, they will act out. What you put before your children, and the principles you instill into your children will be mirrored in their own lives.
Timothy was a young pastor in Ephesus. It was rare for somebody his age to have that level of responsibility in the church. Persecution began to break out against the church, and Paul wrote Timothy a letter of encouragement. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason, I remind you to fan and to flame the gift of God . . . For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:5–7).
What Paul is telling Timothy is so profound. “Timothy, don’t let fear overcome you in this time of persecution. Remember what you learned at home.” Paul goes on to say, “But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you’ve known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 3:14–15).
So where is a child supposed to see the Kingdom of God? At home!
Timothy had become convinced of the foundations he learned at home, and because he had learned responsibility and how to handle authority, he was promoted. So few young men are taught to handle responsibility today. Most men are scared spitless (as Gary says) of responsibility. They’ve not been mentored by fathers and have not learned how to handle responsibility or authority, and so life is a big scary place to them. That is why the training ground of the family is an amazing system to raise up leaders.
When we were desperately in debt, our kids saw that. They knew they couldn’t get happy meals or new clothes. They saw our cars smoke when we started them. They knew the old farmhouse was cold in the wintertime and that Daddy had to run down to the gas station to get $2 of diesel fuel to run the fuel furnace to heat the house at night. So when we discovered how the Kingdom of God operates, we made sure that we brought our children along on that journey as well.
We began to have family prayer. We began to write down what we needed. We put it before the Lord, and together we would check off those things. I didn’t want my kids’ perspective of God to be an old cold farmhouse or rundown cars. I wanted their perspective of God to be more than enough, needs met, protection, and answers. I wanted my children to know that God meets all of our needs.
Today, my greatest thrill in life is my family. They are all serving God. They’re blessed and prospering, and they’re in the ministry (both marketplace ministry and church ministry) because they want to and not because we ever made them. We always had to tell our children, “Okay, it’s time to leave church now. We have to go home.” We were the ones who had to pull them back! Listen, your kids need to see a demonstration of the Kingdom of God at home, in your life.
Why is there an old perception that the pastor’s kids are some of the wildest kids around the church? Because their dad preaches that God can do all things at church, but there’s no evidence at home to back up what they hear. They know how dad treats mom, and vice versa. They know if God really came through at home. And because a lot of people don’t experience the reality of the Kingdom, they leave. That’s not God’s fault. The reality of the Kingdom is always there—you just have to bring it into your circumstances.
If your kids see something good, your kids will want it. Don’t they talk about being someone great? Don’t they talk about the heroes in their life? Paul said follow me as I follow Christ. Husbands and wives should say, “Kids, follow us as we follow Christ,” and the evidence should be there for them to see the Kingdom of God. Otherwise, without the evidence of God’s goodness and the personal relationship with Him, religion is rules and regulations.
ps…Are you looking for a good church? Be sure and listen on Saturday evening or catch the 3 services on Sunday for Faith Life Church!
(*Excerpt from “The New Vintage Family” by Drenda Keesee)
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional, and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesee’s have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then the irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.