‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.’ Hebrews 11:6
Your waking up early and reading your Bible, listening to the Word and prayer/worship is not in vain because God rewards all these things you do in order to seek Him! This memory verse reminds me to get excited about seeking and serving God and to look forward to the coming blessings.
What is Faith?
‘By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.’ Hebrews 11:3
‘Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”’ Matthew 17:19-21
With these two passages I see that faith plays an imperative role in the making and changing of things and situations around us. Humans build and make structures with bricks and mortar and other visible materials but the building blocks of the Spirit are not visible but invisible. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Faith is expressed in our words first and foremost God spoke the world into being and we are to “SAY” to the mountain be moved and it will be and nothing will be impossible for us! ‘And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, ‘ II Corinthians 4:13 .
Then naturally, if we truly believe what we have called forth our actions will follow through. An example would be if someone is praying to God for a child and believes the Lord has heard and answered their prayer, they will begin to get excited and get ready buying what they need and making room in their lives for their child! ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight. ‘ II Corinthians 5:7
‘Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.’ Acts 3:11-12,16
‘that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.’ I Corinthians 2:5
Faith is remembering that the power is not in your hands or any man to do anything but it is in Christ and His Name that we trust and believe to do all things!
‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”’ Romans 1:16-17
‘But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. ‘ Romans 10:8-9 Even the work of salvation is through faith and speaking it into being! Indeed we live by faith!
‘above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. ‘ Ephesians 6:16
Faith Without Works is Dead!
‘What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’ James 2:14-26
James 2:14-26 tells us that its not just in believing there is God but letting thet belief manifest itself in our words and actions! What really touched me was verse 15 and 16, where if someone asks you for help and you simply pray for them knowing that you can be of practical and physical help with them, its not good enough – there is n profit in that! Someone told me yesterday that they were short of nappies and immediately I thought to send them some money if that was the issue but apparently it was that there was a shortage in their area so I prayed that some would be made available to her sooner that she expected. I believe God heard and will answer my prayer but I left the conversation thinking, maybe I could have sent some nappies to her from over here? Its pretty far and delivery would probably cost more than the nappies themselves! But I still tried to get in contact but couldn’t last night, I will probably try again today, maybe we can source some online? Well these are the kind of thoughts going through my head when reading those verses in James. I went to a doctors appointment yesterday afternoon and I was so impatient as it took lots longer than expected and I was anxious to get back to work on time and have enough time for lunch. I really did act impatiently which may have come across as rude to the staff but I hope they understood, they did keep me there for almost 2 hours! Well in spite of that I still didn’t feel great about my attitude and I pray God have mercy because, I did not let the peace of God rule my mind at that appointment and may have caused offence. I say I’m a Christian but didn’t behave as one!
Verse 19 of James 2 tells us that even the demons believe in God and tremble! Believing alone is not enough, we are supposed to show our faith by our works (vs 18). Our character, behavious and actions should show that we are submissive and obedient to God, walking in the Truth and being guided by the Holy Spirit. Our words should be of faith, actions matching with our faith also! We should be a light in the darkness.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:14:16
So don’t be tempted to hide your faith, let people know by what you say and do that you are different, made of love! “The new if in Christ through faith makes the Christian different from those in the world” (STS). We are not meant to blend in but to stand out.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us it is impossible to please God without faith. Because if we truly have faith it will show in our acts of obedience to Him. If we really believe that He is, we will want to know Him and if we know and believe that He rewards those who diligently seek Him, we will strive to seek Him diligently and not be negligent in prayer, worship of studying His Word. Its is a lack of faith that makes us lethargic and indifferent to spending time with God. That is why a lack of faith displeases God. “We need more than mere acknowledgement of the existence of God to have a personal, dynamic and life transforming relationship with Him” (STS). True faith shows in our “conducts, choices and considerations” (STS).
Why do Christians sometimes suffer regardless of their faith in God?
“God sometimes allows suffering and shame for a greater purpose and eternal reward. Jesus Christ Himself suffered. This makes Him understand our fears, weaknesses and disappointments. Christ is always with us and makes intercession for us.” (STS)
Hebrews 11 tells us that even some of the old time saints were tortured and did not ACCEPT deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. When Jesus was hungry (after fasting 40days and nights) the devil was quick to tempt him with bread. Jesus withstood the temptation and did not accept the deliverance from the devil. He responded with the Word of God “man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word of God. How many of us are quick to accept the bread of the devil, especially when were hungry? Remember an angel came to warn Paul himself not to go somewhere in order to protect him from suffering, but he declined and went anyway, willing to suffer for the faith. Its a hard pill to swallow because we love our modern day comforts and suffering is a huge inconvenience to most of us! I believe remembering that we are only here temporarily and there is a glorious home that awaits us of unimaginable peace and comfort, will help us to continue to praise God in spite of difficult situations. Lord help us not to suffer for a wrong that we have done ourselves that come what may it will be for righteousness sake that we may relieve Your eternal reward.