Faith is the subject that has been on my mind all day. As I wrote this morning’s blog entry on standing firm in our faith, I felt a bit uneasy – as if I had left something out. I still can’t quite put my finger on it. So tonight, I want to take some time and just reflect on the notion of faith.
I’m always amazed at people for who faith seems to come easy. (Please note, I said “seems.”) Faith really runs counter to the way we are taught to live. Have a plan, set your goals, know where you are going, right?
But that’s the problem. We don’t know where we’re going. We may think we do. We may have life planned to the nth degree. And – don’t misunderstand me – it is great to plan. We need to plan for the future.
However… we cannot let the plan run our lives. As I wrote earlier, we are all traveling down the road of life, and we can only see what is right in front of us. If you can look me in the eye and tell me you know, without a shadow of doubt, exactly what life is going to bring tomorrow – or even in two minutes – you are either fooling yourself and/or full of yourself.
Listen, faith is a conundrum for some of us. Faith in God requires an admission of frailty on our parts. We have to be willing to accept the fact that we do not control our lives, we cannot know everything, and that is actually OK. For a control freak like me, who likes to have all the facts and analyze every possible outcome before moving forward, faith can be agony. Waiting on God! I’ve got things to do!
Consider this: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” – 2 Peter 1:3 (ESV). In other words, God is in control, not me. God’s “divine power” blesses me with all I need for life and godliness. So… if I have faith in God (as opposed to self), why would I ever sweat it when my plans crumble before me? If God has not granted me something, I must not need it. And if life has hit the fan, God must have a plan for me. I have to believe that.
And God doesn’t just say “believe” and leave it at that. He has left plenty of evidence to satisfy our inner-Thomases. In His Word we find “the knowledge of him.” In nature, we see the incontrovertible proof of His creation. We have the miracles of Christ. But at some point, we all need to be shoved off into the deep end of the pool in order to swim. We have to make the leap and simply say, “Yes, I believe.” And then begin to believe.
When doubt comes, squelch it. We have to walk by faith, not by sight. We have to believe every word of Scripture is true and accurate and right and God’s. We have to know that God loves us and is with us and never leaves us. That can be real tough in the deepest part of the middle of the night. But we have to grasp it. We have to let go of self and let God call the shots.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. – Hebrews 11:1-3 (KJV)
Faith is God’s way of doing business. It takes the onus of performance and perfection off of us and puts it squarely on God. The Lord doesn’t ask us to be perfect. He just requires us to be faithful. God enables us to be bold, because by faith all the realm of the Lord through Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ opens wide to us.
It’s funny. As I said, today I have been thinking a lot about faith. And it seems like every song I heard – on the radio, on my MP3 player – every song dealt with faith, and waiting on the Lord, and simply believing. It was when Michael Card’s “By Faith” came on that I decided the fix was in. So, tonight, I want to emphasize what I wrote this morning. Be strong in your faith. Build up your faith through studying – diligently studying – His Word and spending plenty of time praying – diligently praying. As Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8, KJV).
Faith brings a freedom to life that cannot truly be experienced without it. It is by faith that we are enabled to live and it is by faith that we are saved for it is by faith that God is experienced and it is by faith that God works.
6 thoughts on “Reflections on Faith”
I agree with you on the it is amazing to see people for whom faith comes or seems to come easy. However, I do have a pet peeve with this one where you said…
“But that’s the problem. We don’t know where we’re going. We may think we do. We may have life planned to the nth degree. And – don’t misunderstand me – it is great to plan. We need to plan for the future. ”
My contention is that we do know where we are going… We are heaven bound. We may not know how we get there but God has promised to get use there. Isn’t that the object and purpose of biblical faith and not where we are going in this world.
Paul in 1 Cor 12:8-10 says
8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit , to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
So Faith is a gift of the spirit for some and may be not intended for others… May be it is God’s way of saying, will you trust me with this little faith I have given you? I only ask you to do what your faith can do… No more and No less.
We are not called to put faith in God for the things of this world but for our salvation first and then this things of this world that are necessities and then the wants.
It is like driving in fog… you don’t know what is 10 feet in front of you but you do know that you are headed to work and have fairly good faith that you will actually get there. In the same way, God gives us faith in different measures. So we he can be glorified when the one with little faith achieves the same as the one with 13. Except for the one instance when a man said to Jesus “…help me with my unbelief…” I can’t imagine any other instance where someone prayed for faith or asked for more faith.
Just thinking out loud at 2 AM…. You thoughts?
p.s: I am going to sleep on this to see if I missed something.
I agree with your point. Salvation is the priority of God, and should be ours as well. I think we’re parking the bus in the same lot, just from different entrances.
The perspective I had in mind was more temporal, less eternal. As believers, we are assured of heaven being our final destination. What nobody knows for sure is when. So many of us are success driven, goal driven, results driven… We put our plans and schemes and dreams first and pray that God will come along for the ride. Problem is, we’re not driving. God is at the wheel, whether we recognize it or not – whether we want to admit it or not.
Don’t stand firm in self-reliance. When life strikes – and it strikes all of us at some point, in some way – if we are anchored to God through strong faith in Jesus Christ, we will be all the better for it. Now… I also realize that God often – very often – uses life’s storms to strengthen us, to build our faith, to equip us for the task ahead. Sometimes we have to be broken in order to grow in our faith. Peter certainly did. He thought he had it all together, only to discover just how frail he really was. We all need to understand our weaknesses and see that God is our strength.
2am!! I managed to get to sleep around midnight last night. Sleep better tonight, brother.
I understand your perspective and I am very much in your camp from the perspective of my lifestyle… however, my point is (was)… if faith is temporal, i.e. faith in God is so that God will come along for the ride… isn’t that prosperity theology?
so the question I ask myself often: “Is faith in God for the purpose of earthly success the same faith that the Jesus and the Apostles talk about in the bible?”
Prosperity theology? No sir. Does faith apply to worldly “success” as well as heavenly things? Well… that’s all in your definition of success. Do I think the world’s view of success is the same as God’s? Not even close. Do I think God provides for His children on earth? Absolutely. So… is faith temporal? Yes. Is it eternal? Yes. Will God give me everything I want? As I said in another piece, He is no sugar daddy. He is our Heavenly Father.
I guess I was taking a too literal a meaning for temporal. I based my interpretations on this definition of temporal.
focusing on the “wordly” aspect of the word than the “non-eternal provisional” aspects.
I meant to say:
Focusing on the “worldly” aspect of the word rather than the “non-eternal provisional” aspects.