“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old received divine approval.” (Hebrews 11:1-2)
The greatest motivation of all that I have in my own ministry is that I want to please Jesus Christ – out of a deep heart of gratitude.
I’m pretty sure that every Christian would one day want to stand before Jesus Christ and have Him say to us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” At the point when He says that, it will be worth it all!
But, mark my words – you won’t be in heaven for more than 5 seconds before you say, “Why didn’t I serve more? Why didn’t I give more? Why didn’t I love more? Why didn’t I obey more?”
Hebrews 11 is the classic chapter on faith. Verse 6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” If I’m not ministering in faith, I’m not pleasing God. In fact, the Bible is even more specific than that, it says: “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23) In other words if I’m not ministering in faith, I’m ministering in sin. Now that’s really strong stuff – what is our response to a Bible verse like that?
6 Characteristic Of What It Means To Walk By Faith
Walking In Faith Is: Believing When I Don’t See It
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith is visualizing the future in advance. Virtually every great achievement began when somebody saw it in advance. We didn’t put a man on the moon until one day JFK stood up and said, “Let’s put a man on the moon. When he said that – the technology had not even been invented.
Faith is believing when we don’t see it. The world says, “Seeing is believing.” But if we believe only what we can see, we will never know God or experience His presence. God says, “Believing is seeing.”
After Jesus was raised from the dead, Thomas refused to believe the reports that He was alive. He said that unless he touched the nail marks in Jesus’ hands and the wound in His side, he would not believe (John 20:24-25). When the Lord appeared to the disciples 8 days later, Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
Even though we have not seen Jesus, we accept by faith the word of reliable witnesses, we embrace the living Lord, and we believe.
The world says, “Seeing is believing.” God says, “Believing is seeing.”
Faith sees what the eyes cannot.
Walking In Faith Is: Obeying When I Don’t Understand It
Abraham is a classic example of obeying when he didn’t understand. We read that God asked him to give up all his security and to go somewhere, and he didn’t know where, but he went anyway (Read Hebrews 11:8).
How many of us, if we heard God speak to our hearts and tell us to go somewhere to be a witness for him, would actually go as commanded? Some of us might say, “If God asked me to go I would definitely do it!” But, it is one thing to say we’ll go, but it’s another thing to say we’ll go when we don’t know where we’re going.
Verse 8 tells us that Abraham didn’t have a clue as to where he was going. And that’s walking in faith! God may ask us to go somewhere, and we won’t know where we are going to live, or know how much money we’ll be making. Would you still go if you were to live in a run down shack and were poor the rest of your life? You see, many times we will go if the calling is in agreement with how we think it should be. If it meets our expectations we will gladly go. If the circumstances are logical we will go. But, since when did God become logical? Since when could we fit God in our own little box? The haze of our own desires all too often clouds our judgment.
As a father of two boys, I think I am starting to understand why God places so much emphasis on obedience. Boys have this ability to get themselves into so much difficulty so easily. Take, for instance, my rule about crossing the street. Ethan knows that he’s supposed to stop at the end of the driveway and look both ways, whether he is riding his bike, or just chasing a ball. I expect 100% obedience because I know that it takes only one careless step into the street to jeopardise his safety.
Our perfect Father, loves us and knows what will work out best in our lives. To show that we trust Him, we need to do all we can to obey what He has told us in the Bible, His Word. He deserves our 100% obedience.
Walking In Faith Is: Giving When I Don’t Have It
In 2 Samuel 24, David was told to offer a sacrifice to God on land owned by Araunah. As king, he could have taken the piece of land and the animals to make the sacrifice, but instead he purchased them. Araunah offered to give David what he needed, but David said he would not “offer burnt offerings to the Lord . . . with that which costs him nothing” (verse 24).
By definition, a sacrifice has a cost. So when we give to the Lord, we should give generously. And if we ever reach the point when we struggle to give, then perhaps it’s worthwhile to stop and think about how blessed we are? In the UK we are some of the most prosperous people in the world, and yet we so often think of ourselves as being poor in pocket; in spirit; in strength; etc.
A story is told of an affluent kid whose family moved to a new city. The parents didn’t want to draw attention to themselves, so they told their son that they were poor. “We really don’t have much,” they told him. “Others are much better off than we are.
On the first day of school the teacher asked the children to write a paragraph about themselves.
The young boy wrote, “I am poor, my father is poor, my mother is poor…our maid is poor, the man who flies our jet is poor…”
Sacrifice is the true measure of our giving.
Walking In Faith Is: Persisting When I Don’t Feel Like It
How do we develop persistence when we get so often discouraged? When things haven’t turned out quite how we had imagined. How do we develop the kind of persistence that keeps us in a position that God has put us in, when every bone in our body says, “Quit!”? Where do we get that kind of persistence?
A great danger for many Christians is the possibility of religious deception. Maybe it’s falling to the trap of what I call “the-next-big-speaker-syndrome”, where the temptation is to base ones faith on hearing the next big speaker that’s coming to town – in the hope that they might say something that will strengthen our faith! Or it may be our pious practices that end up being only imitations of the true heartfelt faith that God wants us to have.
Tourists throughout the centuries have visited the famous Acropolis, the ancient hilltop religious citadel in Athens. Thousands of sightseers from all over the world have picked up marble chunks as souvenirs.
Why hasn’t the supply of pieces been exhausted long ago? The answer is very simple. Every few months a truckload of marble fragments from a quarry miles away is scattered around the whole Acropolis area. So tourists go home happy with what they think are authentic pieces of ancient history – but all they have is a mere imitation!
We can be deceived by other kinds of imitations. Religious language and music, religious objects and services may fool us into imagining that we are experiencing a firsthand relationship with God when in reality we are simply going through empty routines.
We must be persistent as we develop our relationship with God through prayer and reading Scripture.
Walking In Faith Is: Thanking Before I Receive It
A good illustration for this is Joshua. By faith, the walls of Jericho fell after the people had marched around them for seven days. Jericho was the most fortified city in the world at that time. God said, “There’s no way a bunch of slaves are going to take this thing, but here’s what I want you to do: March around the city ……… and then I’ll cause a miracle.”
What were they doing for seven days? They were thanking and praising God in advance.
Faith doesn’t mean you believe God can do something. He can do it whether you believe it or not. Faith doesn’t mean believing He will do something. That’s hope. You hope He will. Faith is believing He’s doing it! That He’s already doing it. That the answer is already on the way.
(Mark 11:24) “When you pray, believe that you have received it and then you’ll be given what you’ve asked for.”
Don’t beg. Just thank God in advance. Make your request and then be continually thanking. If I were to write out a check for $1000 and give it to you, would you wait until you’ve cashed it to thank me? (You might!) No, you’d thank me the moment you made the request and the check was offered.”
Walking In Faith Is: Trusting If I Don’t Get It
Walking in faith does not make us exempt from problems – we all know that from personal experience.
“And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
Any of us can trust God in ministry when things are going great. That’s no big deal at all!
Real faith is developed in the valleys of ministry, when the situation looks impossible, when the people look hopeless, when the tide has turned against you, and when you’re tempted to ask yourself, “Why is this happening to me?” This has got to be a test!
Faith is trusting that if you don’t get it, God has a better idea – a far better idea. In Abraham’s case, it took God years to reveal the “better idea”. And don’t you think there were some real questions during those years? Of course there were!
Faith is trusting even if you don’t get it. (Note: God always keeps His promises, and so these verses are not suggesting that God breaks His promises, they endorse that God’s timing to deliver His promise is perfect!)
“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Are we walking by faith?
- Are we believing when we don’t see it?
- Are we obeying when we don’t understand it?
- Are we giving when we don’t have it?
- Are we persisting when we don’t feel like it?
- Are we thanking before we receive it?
- Are we trusting if we don’t get it?
Or, do we allow the pressures of life, work, and the world to hinder our obedience and therefore we stop walking by faith?
Faith isn’t making a good guess based on the best human estimate of what will happen. Faith is, believing the promises of God, even when there is nothing to show for it.
Keep on keeping on…