On what basis do you put your faith, hope, and trust in Jesus? What does it look like to “live by faith?” In or on what or whom does that faith reside?
When it comes to faith conversations with college students, I heard often questions that seemed to bug or annoy them. The first was, “How do we know we are not fooling ourselves?” The second was, “We hear often about and even know someone who did something and attributed it to their faith.” How do you know when you leave faith and act on gut feelings, presumption, even foolishness? Those are good questions.
Read Hebrews 11:7-11.
By faith Noah built a boat in a dry land. By faith Abraham left home without a clear destination. As a senior citizen, his wife Sarah prepared to have a baby…by faith. These three examples are given of early heroes of faith, acting on faith, and doing something based on their faith. To some, they appeared to have taken a leap of faith…and it worked out.
But what do their stories have in common? In each instance, God told them what they were to do, and they obeyed. Based on what they knew of God, they acted in faith. Due to their trust of Him, or in Him, they obeyed Him.
Scripture is clear that God does occasionally call us to unusual ventures. Imagine Noah building a cruise ship in the desert. Friends all wondered when he took on such a task. Family worried. Enemies scoffed. Close friends asked if he had lost his mind. For a fun evening, watch the 2007 movie, “Evan Almighty” starring Steve Carell (as a Noah type) and Morgan Freeman as God.
Faith ventures defy conventional thinking and actions. As people of faith, we are called to live according to the directives of King Jesus. In His Kingdom, things are done differently, because of who He is. His will is paramount and must be followed. The reason? He is God and knows what is best for us. As we follow Him, we are enabled to grow, mature, and flourish. But the connection between God’s call and our response needs to be grounded in His character and His promise. Faith can be spelled r-i-s-k at times, but it is anchored in who God is.
God provides opportunities to test our faith in order for us to grow. Noah, Abraham, and Sarah remind us that He has already promised to provide what we need. Food and clothing, for example? Matthew recorded Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25-34 that we should ask with the expectation of receiving. Need guidance and wisdom? Solomon instructs us in Proverbs 3:5-6 that God will give you what you need. Pastor James echoes the same idea in James 1:5-7.
The writers of Scripture are clear that their references to faith are not suggesting God is a candy machine, where someone has “faith to merely get what they want,” they just pull the lever and it arrives. The faith described in Scripture is an encouragement to have faith in God. Biblical faith is grounded in God’s character. I should think and act in accordance with how He would.
Think theologically. You could misunderstand and slip into presuming God’s promises are merely for your comfort. If so, He will redeem you from such poor thinking and give you a chance to learn and do better. The bottom line is God Himself is the object of our faith.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz