Faith, like any muscle, requires exercise
Today’s Scripture reading comes from Hebrews 11:6, quoting from the New King James Version:
“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.”
Faith expresses not only belief in God’s redemptive act, but also active acceptance of the Lord’s palpable presence in our lives. God is for us and thus permeates our thoughts, prayers, and actions. Confidence in God’s redemptive act must be without degree, yet our behavior as those who believe in the God of the Holy Scriptures is marked with imperfection. Those listed in Hebrews “faith hall of fame” were faithful, but they were also fallible human beings who committed faithless acts. Faith marks itself in acts of belief in the character of God and in His faithfulness to us through Himself.
The better we understand God’s character, the better we will demonstrate belief. As a young 21-year-old, I checked myself into the hospital for significant surgery that would medically qualify me for an Air Force commission. With no health insurance and less than five dollars to my name, I took action consistent with my belief that God would take care of the hospital bill. I did not know how He would do this, but I had no doubt that He would provide. The day following my surgery, two men walked into my hospital room. They said, “We want to pay your hospital bill.” I was blown away! These people did not know me nor I them, and I don’t know how they found me or how they knew of my need. I signed a form and that was the end of it. I never even received a bill. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” I expected God would work something out for my medical expenses, and He did. He did it right away. That said, how does one reconcile results that go contrary to what one prays?
Jesus’ disciples witnessed the immediate demise of a fig tree. Jesus responded, “If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, be taken up and cast into the sea, it will happen.” This was not the first time Jesus called out the disciples’ faith. However, Jesus’ statement, “If you have faith and do not doubt,” should lead those who call themselves followers of Christ to check their faith or belief rhythm.
Do you maintain a barometer of your expressed faith? Jesus said, “All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” This is not “name it and claim it.” This is not, “I know what is best, so hand it over, God.” This is “nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” If we falter in unbelief when our prayers seem to go unanswered, let us not fail to recognize who is in the boat with us.
“Why are you afraid, you men of little faith? Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.” Our belief should be that God will maintain the integrity of His character and that He will do good for us in the final analysis. Yes, I hear it. The words of the father whose boy was tormented by a spirit echo in my heart: “I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). How do we hit a faith rhythm that repeatedly expresses belief without doubt, belief that what we ask will be done according to His will?
Faith, like any muscle, requires exercise. Faith enlarges our leadership effectiveness, enables us to achieve the mission, and makes us more capable of serving others. Those who follow your lead will note your faith in action and prayerfully glorify God.
Points to Ponder
Over the next week, here are 3 points to ponder during your personal time of reflection or with a small group or mentor.
- First, Pray and Rejoice. Let prayer and thanksgiving be our ready.
- Second, Believe. Trust and have confidence in knowing that God always acts according to His will.
- Third, Genuine faith is active. Commit your ways to God, and trust his leading.