Estimated read time: Six minutes
Christians use the word faith all the time — sometimes to define what we believe, sometimes to define who we are. Faith refers to our beliefs as well as to how we express those beliefs. For World Vision’s advocacy work, faith both grounds us in truth and pushes us to take bold action.
We want our approach to advocacy to be motivated by our faith, whether we’re speaking out about children’s rights or talking to Congress about a new bill to combat violence. The Bible may not mention U.S. Congress, but it offers a wealth of guidance on faith, what it is, and how it should affect our lives. These principles are the basis of our work.
Faith is advocacy’s foundation, motivation, and source of strength when things get tough. Here are 20 Bible verses that guide our faith-rooted approach to advocacy:
(All verses from the NIV)
Faith is our foundation
Believing and accepting, by faith, what God has done for us changes our lives from the instant we believe. By faith we accept God’s love for us, and that lays the foundation for our identity as Christians.
1. Ephesians 2:8-10
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
2. Hebrews 11:1-3
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
3. Hebrews 10:22-23
… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
4. Psalm 119:30
I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.
5. 2 Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Faith is our motivation
God welcomes us based on our faith, and our salvation is secure! But there’s more good news: God’s not done yet. A follow-on miracle occurs as God begins to change our hearts. Because of the joy of our own salvation, we begin sharing the love we’ve experienced with others, and the Bible has some guidance on faith-motivated love as well:
6. James 2:14-17
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
7. James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
8. 1 Thessalonians 1:3
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
9. James 2:26
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
10. James 2:18
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
11. Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
12. 1 John 3:17-18
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
13. Galatians 5:5-6
For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Faith is our strength
Our faith can motivate us to love more deeply and act more courageously than we could on our own. That faith-motivated love leads to some of the most beautiful earthly expressions of Christianity.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not hard work! In our advocacy work, we feel our strength tested when a bill to help protect children from violence is held up, laws to respect human dignity are ignored, or people aren’t motivated to take action. Our faith and strength feel insufficient for the task. But once again, the Bible offers guidance and encouragement when our faith feels small:
14. Hebrews 10:39
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
15. Mark 11:22-23
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
16. Philippians 4:13
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
17. Mark 10:27
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
18. 2 Timothy 2:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
19. 1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
And here’s the one we’ll leave you with:
20. 1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
We’ve written about how love and hope are part of our work, but the story wouldn’t be complete without faith. Faith calls us to belief and action, and when we are discouraged or weary, faith reminds us that we’re not in this alone. Our God, who’s even more passionate about justice than we are, stands with us and gives us strength.
Join the faith-motivated Online Advocate Network:
Looking for ways to put your faith in action? Sign up to learn about easy actions you can take to advocate for the health and well-being of children around the world!
Top photo: Scenes from the World Vision U.S. Child Ambassador Conference in Seatac, Washington. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)