The Lord is asking you this same question today…”Do you believe this?” Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved? Do you believe that He died for your sins that you may have eternal life? Maybe you’ve never been confronted to make a decision for Jesus…or maybe you’ve been resisting the wooing of the Holy Spirit. Either way, believing is a commitment of mind, body and spirit. It’s the start of an intimate spiritual journey of faith, trust, and obedience. The Lord is asking you today, “Do you believe?”
Our Heavenly Father is both benevolent and altruistic when it comes to blessing us. But we usually take that graciousness and turn it into prideful thinking. “Look what gifts the Lord has given me!” I Peter 4: 10-11 reminds us that we are to use those gifts to serve others, not flaunt them in front of people as trophies. The Apostle Paul warns us here that’s it’s all about our state of mind when regarding our giftings… it’s all about gratitude, not attitude and humility, not vanity.
I encourage you to read the entire 11th Chapter of Hebrews, for in it you will read of many kinds and shades of faith. Faith is an ongoing lifetime journey of trusting God. It’s a way of life, not just a one time action done at conversion. Our faith grows as we grow in Christ…confidence in Him is forged and built every time we make the decision to trust Him. But as you read through Chapter 11 you’ll see the different nuances of faith shown… there’s expanding and growing faith, there’s beyond logic and reasoning faith, there’s sacrificial, persecuted, and impossible faith. Our life of faith begins with an internal response, which leads to faith-filled action. From there, it’s a life based on God’s promises…not on circumstances. Though, when you get to the end of this chapter you’ll read, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.” Every person you read about here in Chapter 11 was praised for their faith, yet not one saw their promise fulfilled in their lifetime. Instead, they all persevered under pressure, never giving up, and always putting their confidence in their Lord.
You’ve all heard, bad things happen to good people…and it’s not “if” but “when” trouble will come your way. And just because you call yourself a Christian doesn’t mean you’ll somehow be insulated from the evil in this world. For in your lifetime you will have sickness, setbacks, and loss…there’s no getting around it…for we all live in a very broken world. But it’s how you react and face each trouble that will make all the difference. With God you have the ability to stand your ground when evil comes your way. II Corinthians 6:7 tells us, “…in the power of God; with weapons in the right hand and in the left.” You can stand and face down anything the world throws at you with God’s Word… His truth in one hand, and His promises in the other. We don’t have to live in fear of tomorrow. For we have weapons to extinguish all those fiery darts thrown our way. We can then stand firm in the power of God…faithful not fearful, confident not cowering, trusting not trembling.
Jesus didn’t mince words with the Disciples. He used the phrase, “O you of little faith” many times throughout the book of Matthew in dealing with them. In Matthew 8:26 Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” In Matthew 14:31 He again asked, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Here were men who had witnessed miracle after miracle…bodies made whole, blind eyes receiving sight, dead bodies brought back to life…and they still hesitated to fully trust Jesus. If these men had trouble with their faith, why should it surprise me if I fall short? The Believer’s journey is taking that meager crumb of faith we’re given and growing it day by day…of being open and honest when we doubt…and asking the Lord to help us in our unbelief.
In James it says to not merely listen to the Word…but do It. In order to put your trust in the Lord, you must take what you hear and apply it to your life. You need to take that head knowledge and internalize it into heart knowledge. The Word of God is powerful and alive, but if it goes in one ear and out the other, it’s of no use to you. For just hearing God’s voice will never cause change within… unless you do something with it.
I’ll be the first to admit…I’m not a patient person. But patience is exactly what God wants from me. He asks that I steadfastly pray for unsaved loved ones…even if I don’t see change. He asks that I not give up on dreams He’s given me…even if it’s been years. God only asks that I be patient in my faith…unwavering in my trust of Him, as He works towards His divine purpose in my life. For if you think about it, it’s very little He’s asking.
Have you ever been mocked for your faith? Maybe it was something general like, “It’s only the weak that need religion.” Or maybe it was pointed like, ” You’re stupid to think that there’s a God!” Either way, when someone ridicules and laughs at our belief in God, they’re treating our precious Lord with contempt. So stand strong when you’re scoffed at for your beliefs… don’t be tempted to compromise or cave in when poked fun at, for God’s shoulders are very broad and He can take the taunts. And besides, as this verse reveals, He can and will not be mocked.
When God is seemingly hidden…when He’s working behind the scenes and not in obvious ways for you, what do you do? Do you walk and seek Him with faith or cower in fear? Is it with trust that you face down the challenge, or is it with trepidation? Despite the fact you may not see God working, do you move ahead with confidence and certainty, or draw back with concern? A lot of our Christian walk has to be done by the determination of sheer faith…faith that God’s still there…and still in control.
The literal definition of faith is believing, having not yet seen. We step out in trust even though we can’t see around that corner in our life. We move confidently ahead, knowing that the Lord is always there…right beside us, guiding, prompting, and always encouraging us. And so it is with gladness of heart that can not be expressed by mere words, that we look forward to the finish line, to the thing we cherish most…eternal life with our Heavenly Father.