Faith: Description and Action

The whole Christian life is about faith. No one can point out one aspect of the Christian life that doesn’t involve faith. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions concerning faith in our culture today. For instance, some people might say, “Faith is believing what you know isn’t true.” Others might go so far to say, “Faith is the opposite of rational thought.” Still there are others today who confuse faith with feeling; if they don’t feel it, it must not be true.

What is Faith?

For as long as I can remember, I was taught that faith was, “The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Perhaps a better translation might be, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not seen.”  But what does that really mean? I think Philip Yancey said it best when he said, “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” Faith believes what others do not believe. Faith sees what others do not see. Faith does what others do not do. Friends, faith is an important aspect in the lives of Christians.

What Does Faith Do?

Faith leads to great things. It leads us to accomplish things we might not normally accomplish.

Read Hebrews 11 and notice all the great things people did because of their faith:

  1. “By Faith…” Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain.
  2. “By Faith…” Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death because he pleased God.
  3. “By Faith…” Noah constructed an ark.
  4. “By Faith…” Abraham went out not knowing where he was going.
  5. “By Faith…” Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter but chose rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

Each of the people listed accomplished great things for God, not because they were great, but because their faith was great. Every person who has ever done something worthwhile, started with a small amount of faith. Take Peter as an example: he had enough faith to get out of the boat and walk on water (Matt. 14:22-33). What about Paul?  He had enough faith to preach the Gospel in spite of the persecution he would endure. Faith leads us to great things!

Faith brings about trials. Living by faith often means finding oneself in adverse circumstances. Read Hebrews 11:35b-38 and notice all the trials mentioned that were brought on because of faith. Think back to Daniel when he was thrown into a den of lions (Dan. 6). What about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were placed in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3)? Both of these instances were brought about because of the faith of these young Hebrew boys. Perhaps you have experience trials because of your faith. For example, maybe you were asked to do something for your boss that was unethical (lie, cheat, steal, etc.). If that’s the case then your faith has brought about a trial. You can either chose to be true to your Christian values and moral and disobey your boss, or you can disregard your Christian values and morals and obey your boss. Faith brings about trials!

Faith acts even when it’s inconvenient and unfavorable. For some Christians, things have to be convenient before they will get involved in the work of the church. Circumstances have to be in their favor before they will act upon the words of the Lord. Friends, if we wait for things to be convenient or in our favor before we act in faith, we’ll be waiting a long time. One thing you notice when you read Hebrews 11 is the heroes mentioned never stopped and waited for convenience and favorable circumstance. David didn’t wait for Goliath to get sick. Gideon didn’t wait for God to give him more men. Abram didn’t wait until moving was convenient for him and his family. Joseph didn’t allow the inconvenience he faced to keep him from being faithful to God. Faith acts even when it’s inconvenient and unfavorable!

Friends, it’s easy to read Hebrews 11 and think, I could never be a person like those mentioned in the Hall of Faith. However, I strongly disagree. You see, I believe Hebrews 11 was preserved for us so that we could see what faith looks like in the lives of believers and go out and live that way. My prayer is that all Christians will live in such a way that their names can be added to list mentioned in the Hall of Faith.

Now that’s Something to Think About!

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