1

Your cart is empty.

Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

31 Jan '14

The life of faith

Posted by T.J. Addington in faith
The one common denominator of all great followers of God throughout history is that of faith. As Paul says in Romans 1:17, “The righteous will live by faith.” What really is faith? First it is believing that Jesus is the hope of the world as he claimed in the passages in John quoted in chapter one. He is the way to the Father. When we say yes to God, acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and choose to invite him into our lives we are putting our faith in Him.

At that moment we become children of God, our hearts are cleaned up, the guilt of our past is lifted and we have an eternal destiny of life with Christ, forever. The decision to give God the steering wheel of our lives is the most important decision that we ever make.

In some ways, that is the easy part of faith. The other part of the faith equation is learning to trust God for every day, every situation and every issue that we face. Way back in the dusty pages of history, God appeared to Abraham with a radical message. “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and to the land I will show you’ (Genesis 12:1).”

Now Abraham could not Google the new location to see what it looked like, he had no map to follow, no knowledge of what God had in store for him. What he had was faith in God as God so he chose to take his family and start a life journey based on faith. That is why Abraham is the great example and hero of faith for Jesus and Paul in the New Testament.

Take a moment and put yourself in Abraham’s shoes. I doubt that he was initially overjoyed at God’s message. You want me to do what? You want me to go where? Why? Why me? I’ll bet that Abraham spent months sitting in his tent asking himself a set of questions:

Do I really trust God?
Do I believe that God has my best interests in mind?
Am I willing to trust Him with my future? Really trust him?
Am I willing to take the risk of really following God?

Faith is scary and risky! Faith means that I am saying to God “I am all in.” I trust you, I believe you have my very best interests in mind, I am willing to trust you with my future and I am willing to take the risk to follow you.

This is why life undone is an unlikely gift. It invites us to take a step of faith that we have never taken before to a depth we have never gone before because we have come to the end of ourselves and have no other good choices. Life undone invites us to answer the question, “Are we all in with God and can we trust Him with our future?”

Faith is easy when life is good. Faith is tested and hard when life is undone because now we must grapple with the goodness of God in addition to the plan of God. We may even face moments of doubt (is my faith well founded?) or anger (why would God allow this?) or resignation (is God really in my corner?).

Contrary to what some may think, these are legitimate and good questions because they force us back to God in prayer, force us back to His word and again confront us with the reality of our followership of Him. Every time we again answer in the affirmative our faith is strengthened, based now on a higher level of conviction than before because our faith has been forged in pain and difficulty.

Faith is the decision that we will trust and follow Jesus, no matter what our circumstances, believing that he is good and righteous and holy and has a plan for our lives that is beyond our understanding.

The writer to the Hebrews wrote “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1) and further, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6).”

And then referencing Abraham, the writer says, “By faith Abraham, was called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).”

When life comes undone we face Abraham moments. Will we believe, will we trust, will we follow? You may be facing one of those moments right now. Your choice will make all the difference in the world as to how you walk out the difficulties you face. Faith is always a choice. What is your choice?

Countless times in Hebrews 11 we read the two words “By faith” about an individual who chose to follow God when all the chips were down. They include Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepphthah, David and numerous others. The common trait in each of these men and women of God was their choice of faith not only in the good times but in the hard and difficult times. Because of their faith they show up on God’s hall of fame in the great chapter of faith in Hebrews 11.

That hall of fame continues to grow. Every time we choose faith over doubt, despair or anger we join those whose names are listed above. Remember, God “earnestly rewards those who seek him.” Those who choose Him, those who trust him!

Faith is directly connected to the peace that Jesus promised in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Where does that peace come from that Jesus talks about? He says “In me” you may have peace. In Me. Our peace is not in our circumstances (they can be very bad). It is not in our conviction that everything will go back to the way it was before (It may well not). It is not in our ability to solve our problem (we may not be able to). No, our peace comes from our trust in the person of Jesus Christ. We can have peace “in Him,” in His presence, in His goodness, in His love, in His promise to be with us, and in His power to “overcome the world.”

When it is all stripped away, when all of our resources are exhausted as eventually they are, there is the one answer we have had all along, God is there, He is with us, we can trust Him. Do you…today? Are you willing to give to God your situation in faith with a simple child like trust and say, “Jesus I am all in. I trust you with my pain and like Abraham I will follow not knowing where I am going?