Wednesday, May 03, 2017

But Without Faith it is Impossible..


I just recently finished going through the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 with my students.  Looking at each person individually, I came to see the Hall of Faith in a different light.  Even though Hall of Faith has the word faith in it, I always saw these people as those who got it right and did the big things.  I didn't really understand what faith meant.

First of all, faith is not perfection. 
We studied each person listed with all their ups and downs, triumphs and mistakes.  It was encouraging to see that they were all flawed people who were in Hebrews 11 not because they were great but because they believed God was great.  If faith was about perfection, then Abraham, Moses, Samson, and David would have been disqualified.  Abraham lied.  Moses and David were murderers.  Let's not even get started on Samson and his women problems.  In many ways, it was often those who had fallen in some way or another that were able to clearly see that faith is not about them but about God. These men were not perfect but they stepped out in faith. 

So what is faith?  
Hebrews 11 starts off by telling us that "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)  In Hebrews 11:6, the author gives us another peek at what faith is.  

"And it is impossible to please God without faith.  Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6 NLT)   

It is about believing that God is real and that He cares for those who earnestly seek Him.  What does this faith look like?  For Enoch, it was choosing God each day.  He is known for walking with God and a person who pleased God.  Abel sought God in faith with his sacrifice that pleased God.  Noel believed God's promise of a coming flood and built the ark.  Abraham kept his eye on heaven and lived with an eternal perspective that God would fulfill His promise even if it wasn't in Abraham's lifetime.  Each of these sought God's kingdom and his righteous.  So many of those listed lived with an eternal perspective knowing that God would do what He said even if it was not in their lifetime.  Many of them realized that this world was not their home. 


Seeking God often requires us to take steps of faith. Sometimes our steps of faith are small such as meeting our next door neighbor.Other times they are big when God is calling us to a new location maybe even overseas.  The important thing is not how big the step is but that we take that next step of faith.  Last year, it was a big step for us to move to West Africa. The culture was different.  My job was a good fit but had so many things outside of my comfort zone. This year the steps seem smaller with me needing to take the initiative to invite people over more and connect better or finding ways to connect with the people here.  


Even in the hall of faith, the steps of faith were different. Abraham went to a new land.  Enoch walked with God daily.  Noel built an ark.  Rahab hid the Israelite spies.  Your step of faith will look different than mine.  The important thing is that we believe that God is who He says He is and that we are seeking Him.  


When we were in South Africa for vacation, we did a zip line course.  We had done one of these courses in America a few summers ago, and I must admit that it went okay but was not my cup of tea.  This time it was a blast.  I don’t know if it was the location or that I had more confidence.  Somehow it clicked in my mind that when I stepped off that platform I would be okay.  The line would hold.  I was good and could just fly.  I wish I could say I am like that in real life.  I am often fearful when I need to be faith filled.  But just like that zip line, God is there when we take that step of faith whatever it may be.  He is there to catch us and to allow us to fly free.  So my question for you is...

What step of faith is God asking you to make in the next month or so?  (Remember that sometimes the small steps are harder than the big ones) Share in the comments what your step is so I can pray for you. 

For me, my step of faith is that we have two new families coming in.  I want to not only try to connect to these two new ladies but do a better job of reaching out to a few of the ladies that I have been trying to connect to.  For me this can be hard since I need to take the initiative.  This step is not scary but a step that is easy to put off or get distracted from.  So my prayer is that I will connect with the ladies that need that connection and do so in a way that draws us both closer to Jesus.   








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