Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Across the world there are countless pulpits, virtual sermons, and books that preach and teach about living by faith. As someone who gave my life to the Lord at nine, I have been on the receiving end of many messages on this topic. I can also say that throughout my life, God has privileged me with many opportunities to develop this spiritual discipline. Although my knowledge of living by faith was richly vast and deep from the Word I have been taught and studied coupled with personal life experience, it was not until I entered this season that I learned what the true meaning of “Now the just shall live by faith” is (Heb. 10:38).
January 29, 2021 was my last day of working in the secular workforce. At 42 years ripe, I have been working for 29 years of my life. I am no stranger to hard work. In this season though, God has shifted my work priorities. I have known for fourteen years that God called me to full-time ministry, but He had to transform, teach, train, equip, and empower me to do so. I have learned the growth process never ceases, but I have been given my Kingdom mission papers to go forth and release what God and I have been working on all this time. I work for God now. He has appointed and entrusted to me the responsibility of carrying the mantle of leading Makeesha L. Allen Ministries, Inc. (M.L.A.M.). Click here to learn more about M.L.A.M. While I knew this day would one day come, what I did not know was that I would be required to apply all God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit had taught me on my journey up to this point about living by faith.
When I stepped out in faith to obey God’s instruction to leave the secular workforce, I would like to tell you I had a nice cushiony savings to rely upon as I navigated my way to God’s starting line of using my voice. Not so. In fact, I now know, God was intentional about seeing to it I relied on no other source but Him. While I have a Biblical understanding of this truth, it is not so easy to assent to when you are in the thick of it. Nevertheless, not will, but His will be done in my life (Luk. 22:42).
You see, I had enough experience with God to know that if He told me to do something, He would provide the means for me to do it. He had shown Himself faithful to me in this area innumerably in times past. My confidence and trust were cemented in relying upon His character in this way. This was half the battle.
Not totally free and clear of the unknown angst that would accompany my ‘walking on the water’ (Matt. 14:22-31) moment and collide head-on with my mountain moving faith, I quickly learned there was an internal resistance warring within me that had to be dealt with if I were going to do this thing. What was driving this to emerge? It was the realization that I was traveling unchartered territory. I had seen God move miraculously throughout my life in ways I could manage and that were within scope of my own human intellect. But this, this was terrain I had never traveled. I was not preoccupied with whether God would do what He said, but rather how He was going to do it. The mere thought of this caused some temporary internal turbulence that God would later silence.
From Day 1 of me stepping out in obedience, things did not work out the way I planned. Particularly in my finances. While I did have some savings, I had pre-planned to liquidate some assets that would increase my on-hand cash which would provide me a little more security month-to-month. Yeah, God said, “Not so, my dear.” This would end up being the first of many disappointments I would face along my journey. I was able to liquidate some of my assets, but it was not nearly enough needed to have the six-to-nine-month savings I had grown accustomed to having. I know you are probably thinking, “Makeesha, you are a woman of great faith. I’m sure you got your faith perspective intact and joyfully began trusting God to meet your needs.” The truth is, eventually I got there, but it was not met without much internal resistance.
I will admit, the thought of having to believe God for my daily bread is one that frightened me deeply. I guess it would be for anyone, but let me give you a little background as to why its mere thought left an indelible imprint on my soul. I have had the blessing of amassing much over the course of my life, but I have also lost much. I have owned multiple homes, been homeless, and back to being a homeowner again. I have successfully owned and operated several businesses, lost them all, to founding and operating this ministry and other businesses again. When you have experienced having, not having, having again, and not having multiple times over, there should come a point when you get indignant about ensuring you never not have again. I became an extremist in this area.
While working in the secular workforce, sometimes I worked 80-90 hours per week for quarterly periods of time to ensure I always had enough to be comfortable today and tomorrow. This was completely out of balance and not God’s best for me, but He allowed it for a few seasons. God did not allow this time to be wasted though, as it was in those seasons, I developed a strong and positive work ethic, honed my skills, and sharpened my character. No matter how much I worked, tithed, saved, and invested, God saw to it that I never fully reached my desired financial state. Not because it was not His will but because I had not yet learned that He alone was enough. Before He would allow me to reach the place He had given me the vision for, He needed to know that, if/when given a choice, I would choose Him every single time. I had to learn contentment. I had to learn that whatever God’s portion is for my life, it is enough (Heb. 13:5). That I must always remain grateful for it and steward it according to His will.
I am learning and living out this Biblical truth in my life. I will reveal that I wish I did not have to learn this with so much at stake. Despite my occasional reservations about God’s choice of season to develop this spiritual discipline in my life, what is most important is that I got it. I mean I REALLY got it. I have truly learned to be content with my portion. I have a real revelation of what Paul meant in 1 Tim. 6:6 which says, “But Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Not just in word but in lifestyle. To learn the invaluable spiritual discipline of contentment for yourself, stay tuned for my upcoming Bible teaching, Being Content with My Portion.
It was not until two and half months after I left the secular workforce, that God presented an opportunity for me to begin earning income using my ministry gifts. I was (and still am) so grateful for this ministry opportunity. The lessons I have learned were invaluable (discussed later). The first five weeks, my income was $105 per week. This was less than one percent of my annual salary when I left the secular workforce. Thereafter, my income was reduced to $70 per week for three weeks. Then, reduced again to $35 for the subsequent weeks. Despite the drastic reduction in my income, I remained faithful in putting God first in every area, including my finances. God met all my needs (Phil. 4:19). It did not come the way I wanted it to or in the timing I would have preferred, but He did keep His word to me that my provision would show up when it was needed. I also want to say a key to this journey being as peaceful as it has been (Phil. 4:7), besides the fact that I am doing what God told me to do, is that I was intentional about relying upon the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct my path every step of the way (John 14:26-27).
Now a person may have looked at my situation and deemed me being stupid and/or a failure. To be transparent, there were moments where these very thoughts crossed my mind. But I refused to allow them to take up residence there. Why? Because I knew (and still know) who God is and I knew (and still know) what He told me. He is a man that cannot lie and one who is faithful and true (Numb. 23:19). He can be trusted completely (Prov. 3:5-6). I believed Him then. I still believe Him now. Lord willing, I will never stop believing Him. Period. Hence, is why I stepped out in faith in the first place. He has never failed me and never will.
This must be what Noah experienced when God charged Him to build the ark (Gen. 6:13-9:29), or how Abraham viewed God’s instruction to leave a familiar place to travel to one that was unfamiliar (Gen. 12-25:11), or just maybe it is how Moses looked when He obeyed God’s call to go to Pharoah and command Him to release the Children of Israel from bondage (Exod. 3-Deut. 34:12). These were all real moments when, at first call, the Word of the Lord seemed to be farfetched, a poor display of common sense, and unreasonable. As you read their stories, it does not take long to see that God knew exactly what He was doing and who He needed to fulfill it.
There were times God did not come through with provision until the day I needed it. This would have been less stressful for me had I just accepted His way of providing what I needed when I needed it. This was something He had spoken to me during our personal time one morning. I heard Him, but I did not want to accept it. Thereby causing myself the unnecessary and unprofitable internal agony of anxiety and stress. Let me encourage you. If you are believing God to provide for you in something He told you to do. Save yourself the futile energy of getting worked up about something you must wait on Him for anyway. He is faithful and He will come through for you. He can be trusted.
So, I do not want to hide the unpleasant parts of the process because I am a firm believer that the ugly parts of our stories are what set people free (Rev. 12:11). If being of no reputation and sharing my story will save you from giving up on your faith, making bad decisions, and/or set you free from something that has you in bondage, here you go. God specifically told me not to ask anyone for and/or sell anything. I had to get rid of my car because it became a money pit and God did not release me to buy another one. This meant I had no car. All my bills were paid in full for a while until my savings were depleted. Then they fell behind quite a few months with no concrete date of when I would have the money to pay them. Some services had to be discontinued because they were not essentials. Living off $35 per week meant I had to be resourceful and get creative. Not having a car meant I did most, if not all, of my shopping online to be delivered to my door. I relied upon my arsenal of old school recipes my parents and grandmother taught me to ensure I ate well-balanced meals on a budget. I did my own hair, nails, and feet. I had to stretch use of certain staple household items by buying in bulk. This is the real. Was it hard? Yes. Did I want to throw in the towel? Yes, more than once. But did I believe God? Without a doubt. So, I kept pressing.
Now, let me tell you how God supernaturally came through for me in unimaginable ways. He gave me favor with all of my creditors which resulted in me receiving unexpected credits to cover the total costs of my bills owed, new programs emerged that uniquely dissolved payments in ways they had never done before, payments were deferred to dates much later than their policies would typically allow, I received financial gifts from people I least expected, random checks came in the mail, and God revealed pieces of money I had stashed in places I forgot about at just the right time. To the natural eye, these supernatural provisions may not have appeared to meet all that was needed, but they got me to the place God pre-ordained for me to be. He kept His word. He has provided.
Did I mention that God blessed me to find and buy a very nice truck debt free? Be reminded, God is faithful and His best is worth waiting for.
Some valuable lessons I learned through this process about who God is, who I am, and what is truly meant by living by faith were:
God is Jehovah Jireh – Prior to entering this season, the Holy Spirit progressively led me to store up on, what I thought were random, household/food items at the time. Now I see, they would later serve me well throughout this season so that I had enough of what I needed when it was needed (Prov. 6:6-8). He is the God that sees and provides in advance (Gen. 22:1-18). Just follow His lead.
Humility is not the absence of options, but the choice not to exercise them in obedience to God’s will – Believing and trusting God for your daily bread requires you to humble yourself and lay down your will for His. It requires a strength and assurance that only He can give you. It establishes you and positions you for Kingdom elevation when its time (Phil. 2:5-11). Could I have made some things happen on my own and gotten myself out of this situation? Absolutely, but that was not God’s will. I had to obey Him and trust Him with the results.
Seeing God supernaturally provide for you grows your faith and trust in Him – When you see God supernaturally provide for you day-to-day, it grows your faith and builds your trust in God by leaps and bounds. You see how God is with you no matter what you go through (Isa. 41:10). You see firsthand how God works things out for your good in all situations (Romans 8:28). You see firsthand how God supplies all your need according to His riches and glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). In all this seeing, there is a confidence you develop in Him that terrorizes the enemy and that fortifies your faith posture.
Faith paralyzes fear of the unknown – The greatest fear we face when living by faith is not knowing what lies ahead. The reason living by faith is so important is because it requires us to build our spiritual armor in such a way that it paralyzes its greatest enemy – fear (Heb. 13:6).
Attacks and distractions are what you signed up for – You should know, the day you said ‘yes’ to Jesus, you automatically signed up for opposition from the kingdom of darkness. The day you said ‘yes’ to God’s call on your life, you were immediately deemed a threat to the enemy’s plan for humanity. With this said, expect all kinds of frivolous distractions and attacks when you are living by faith. It comes with it. The key is not letting it get you off course. Learn to fight (1 Tim. 6:12), keep moving forward (Phil. 3:13-14), and remember, you have already won through Christ (1 Cor. 15:57).
When you need it most, God will send you encouraging words from the least likely sources – We have already established that God is with us. In those moments when you need it most, God has a way of using His servants to encourage you at the right time with the right word. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.” (KJV) Be assured that He is always there and all knowing. This means He knows just want to say when it needs to be said so we can be encouraged to run the more by faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
Pressure births purpose – Just as pressure produces the most beautiful diamonds and fire refines the most glorious gold, so it will be in your faith walk with Christ. Pressure produces purpose. These seasons are what perfect us to fulfill His purpose (James 1:2-4). Living by faith in this season has birthed through me the successful re-launch of a healthy, thriving ministry (M.L.A.M.), which includes: a preaching and Bible teaching ministry, blog, podcast, cooking show, mobile app, and four books, Lord, Help Me Control of My Tongue!, Where’s Your Fruit?, Recognizing God’s Voice in a Fallen and Noisy World, and God, Show Me How to Love Like You.
As I sit here writing this post, I am reminded about the most important lesson learned in this season – living by faith is THE safest and most profitable choice a Christ follower can make. In a world filled with insurmountable uncertainty, our faith mandates us to have an awareness of who we are, where we belong, and why we are here.
My steps have never been surer. They are indeed ordered by the Lord but require my faith to chart their course. Faith is what keeps you going when you want to give up. Faith is the voice you hear amid the anguish of your soul produced by fear, doubt, and disharmony between your and God’s will. Faith is the reminder of God’s vision for your life. Faith is what keeps you anchored and gives you the assurance that, despite what you may be experiencing, you are right where you are supposed to be. Now our faith walks may all look different, but in essence, the foundational truths upon which they must be fortified are the same.
Are you truly living by faith? If not, there is no condemnation (Rom. 8:1). What is most important is that you get back in position. The truth is, most Christians like to think they live by faith until they are tested to believe and trust God completely.
Today, I challenge you to make the choice to, once and for all, live by faith. Start each day with Him in undistracted prayer and Bible study for pleasure first, then purpose. He is your Father first. Let Him love you through your hurts, pains, disappointments, insecurities, doubts, fears, and unbelief. Then, begin seeking Him for knowledge of His will for your life. Ask Him to show you how He wants you to accomplish it. Commit to doing your part, be intentional about obeying His instructions, and rely upon Him to do the part you cannot do. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct you in any lifestyle changes, thought renewals, and/or habit breaking that need to be made. Last, but most important, stay in faith and trust God with the results.
If you want to learn more about living by faith, but you have never accepted Jesus Christ, click here.