“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
I had more thoughts on the last topic of faith, but I wanted to give them more thought and prayer before sharing, and my husband always encourages me to keep my posts short, so I listen. I think he’s pretty smart. Here are my continued thoughts from Living Faith…
In my last blog, I defined faith as having belief that God is who He says He is and then living like it. It’s having absolute and unshakeable trust that God’s words are true. I shared that scripture tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please God without faith. Faith is more than just acknowledging that there is a God. It’s entering into relationship with Him— knowing Him, trusting Him, and allowing Him to work through us to bring His kingdom on earth.
The example of living faith that stands out to me is from Genesis 22 when Abraham is commanded by God to take his son, whom he waited years for, and sacrifice him as an offering. Having children, this story always blows my mind. I can only imagine how Abraham felt as he was leading Isaac up the mountain. I don’t think unwavering faith means we’re not scared. I think that’s why scripture tells us so many times to not fear. As they are walking up the mountain, Abraham tells his son, “God will provide a lamb for the offering.”(Genesis 22:8) Later in Hebrews, we read that Abraham “reasoned” that God could even raise the dead. Wow! (Hebrews 11:19) Abraham obeys God, offering Him what is most precious. Thankfully, God does intervene, and He does provide a ram for the sacrifice. The only way Abraham had the obedience to do this was steadfastly fixing his eyes on God. If even for a moment he lost focus, he probably would have turned around and went home.
It takes faith to live a life that pleases God; and thankfully, He has shown us what a life of faith and obedience looks like by sending His Son. But, I fear we pick and choose which parts of Jesus’s life and teachings we want to follow. He desires a holy, faithful people who are willing to give their entire life to Him. For example, it seems a little crazy to sacrificially give a portion of your income every month when you may not have enough to pay your bills. It seems crazy to choose to abstain from sex before you’re married when TV, movies, social media, and the Internet deem it okay. It seems crazy to take or leave a job when the pay might be less. It seems crazy to start a new business or organization when you don’t have the means to do it. It seems crazy to make a loving stand on what you believe even if it goes against the culture. Let’s be honest, it seems crazy that I’m writing a blog like this when my husband is the one who went to seminary, and I feel so incredibly incompetent to do so. But even when I don’t understand, I will obey. I know He’s God and that His ways are always better. I’ve learned whenever I’ve tried to do things my own way, it always leaves me feeling a little empty or unsatisfied.
There is a beautiful pattern in scripture where prior to God asking His people to obey He reminds them who He is and then who we are as His children. (Some examples: Deuteronomy 7:7-11, Colossians 3:12, 1 Peter 2:9-12)* When we are reminded of who God is, it seems much easier to be faithful because we can see the bigger picture. When we take our eyes off God, we end up choosing to be the god of our own little world. God has constantly been reminding me to look up beyond my circumstances and myself. When He asks us to obey, it is because He loves us and knows the best possible way of life. I mentioned in the last blog that scripture tells us there is an enemy out to steal and kill and destroy, but Jesus has come so that we may have LIFE and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 paraphrased) The enemy wants us to think that freedom is found when we live life our own way, but an abundant life is found only in our good God.
Faith here and now is hard. I definitely don’t have it all figured out. Usually whatever God is impressing on my heart to share is a word for myself too. Scripture tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus is our example for faithful living. Following that example, leads to a life here and now that is far more abundant than anything we can conceive on our own. Let’s take our eyes off ourselves and place them on our all knowing, powerful, loving King, and let Him lead us into an abundant, faithful life. What is He asking you today?
*The pattern throughout scripture was not my own thought. I heard it on Christy Nockels Podcast about a month ago.