Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) Do we have this kind of faith? I believe completely in Jesus: who He is, what He says about Himself, what He does and has done– all of it. I have no doubts that I believe in Him in that way. The faith I struggle with more is faith that He’ll do what I hope for. I know that He can, that He will if it works within the beautiful plan He has for me, but my constant question is if I’m asking according to His will. I hope and pray that He’ll let me see a friend, for instance; but what if seeing that friend at that time would be harmful to the plan? Should I put faith into those prayers anyway? This whole thing is over-thinking, and I can’t be the only person who does it. Have you ever felt like this before? Like you have faith in Him, but not what you’re asking? I think you’ll be encouraged by this, since I recently was, myself:
THAT’S ALL YOU NEED.
Paul, speaking of Abraham, said, No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. (Romans 4:20 & 21) Adding to that, the writer of Hebrews said, By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11) Are you sure that what you’re praying for will happen? Not always. BUT, are you sure that God is faithful? Yes. And that’s what counts. Doubts may come, but as long as you believe in Him admist those doubts, your faith is there.
Faith is the fuel of righteousness, as we discovered a few weeks ago. It’s what the righteous man lives by, what gives him humility and compassion, what keeps him standing, what counts. (Verses: Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 11:20, Romans 12:3, Galatians 5:6) Remember that righteous deeds are empty without faith? It comes back around: faith without acting on it is useless. If your faith in Jesus doesn’t instill in you a deep desire to be obedient to Him or to serve other people, it’s as good as dead. James says, Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18) It isn’t possible to have a growing faith that changes things without action. Righteous works are the visible products of faith. Is your faith producing? People should be able to see who are without even having to ask, “Are you a Christian?” What you do should give them no doubts about your faith, because you look like Him. Paul even says, Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)
Faith was what Jesus prayed for us to have the most. In Luke 22:31 & 32, a verse He has used to speak to me, He says, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. It’s a gift He’s given us. We would never have it unless He did what He did. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17) It’s why we can be so close to Him. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
Faith is a shield. What does this shield do?
- It is the first thing you grab when heading into battle. For those who aren’t nerds like me and haven’t seen How to Train Your Dragon a least ten times, the first piece of advice the dragon-slayers-in-training receive is to find a shield if they only have enough time to choose one weapon. The shield is VITAL in battle. Even if you don’t have an axe or a sword or any kind of weapon, your shield not only protects you, but also if an enemy is close enough you can hit them with it. You’ve seen what Captain America can do with a shield! Your faith is the most important thing you have in this battle. If you’re without it, you’re already at a disadvantage. If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all. (Isaiah 7:9) God calls Himself is our shield, and THAT is why we’re safe! You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. (Psalm 119:114)
- It is overall defense anywhere you need it. The other pieces of armor we’ve been talking about, like the breastplate, are good, necessary pieces of armor. Their down side? They can only shield so much. Where your armor is lacking, your shield can compensate. Likewise, faith fills in what’s lacking in your righteousness, etc. You aren’t perfect, and Jesus realizes that. That’s why He came: to deliver what we couldn’t. Don’t be afraid when attacks come if you have faith. You’re covered. We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:39)
- It is power. Faith is what Jesus had in fullness. Listen in to this conversation between Jesus and a few of his followers (found in Matthew 17): The disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it [a demon] out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of 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.” I heard once that the word Jesus used for “little” in the original language didn’t mean “small” as much as it meant “short in direction.” Faith is big; how far do you let it go? Love is the reason you have it in the first place, His love for you and now your love for Him. Let love propel you forward. If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6 & 7) Your faith will be tested, but not to worry– you’re safe as long as you stand firm. This is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith. (1 John 5:4)