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Friday, December 6, 2013

Your Faith in God is All Important

Your Faith in God is All Important


The Bible says: “Without faith it is impossible to please God,…”  (Hebrews 11:6)  It sounds like no matter how intelligent we are or how many good works we have done, we still can not please God unless we have faith in Him.  Martin Luther wrote: “Faith is the angelic messenger between the soul and the Lord Jesus in glory.  Let that angel of faith be withdrawn, and we can neither send up prayer, nor receive the answers.  Faith is the telegraphic wire which links earth and heaven …”   And Scripture also says: “Everything is possible to him who has faith in God.”  (Mark 9:23)  Everywhere in Scripture we read again and again that our faith in God is all important.


The Bible says that God has given each one of us a measure of faith.  (Romans 12:3)  Our faith is alive and active and there are steps we can take to nurture the measure of faith that God has given us and to help it grow.  For starters Scripture says: “Faith comes by hearing – hearing the Word of God.” (Romans 10:7)  So we can build up our faith by reading and meditating on God’s Word.


 When we have faith in God the promises in the Bible are ours.  The promise in Second Corinthians 12:9 is ours.  “My grace is sufficient for you.”  God’s grace is sufficient for any need we have, whether finances or relationships or health or any other need.  God is ready to help us as we respond to Him with faith.  By faith we can stand on the many wonderful Biblical promises!  


We operate by faith in something all of the time.  When we drive our cars we put faith in the brakes to work and when we reach out to a close family member we have faith that they will be there to answer us (but sometimes humans fail us).  Even though God never fails us, having faith in an invisible God is different since we can not physically see Him, the way we see the smile on our relative’s face.  But when we want to know God, He will be there: Scripture says: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  (James 4:8)  And when we read the Bible we can see through the eyes of faith that the God of the Bible comes through for His own, even if sometimes it is after death. 


A person isn’t a football player unless he actually plays football.  And a person does not have faith unless he puts it into practice since faith is active.  Scripture says: “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-17)  We can “practice” faith by joining a Bible study or going to church or giving to the poor or helping out where we are needed.  We can give our lives to God and trust Him for each new day.      


Faith was so important to God that Scripture says that He blessed Abraham and his children (the Jewish people) simply because Abraham had faith in God.  “Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith …” (Romans 4:20)  We humans seem to think that God is pleased with our service and our work.  But more than that, God wants to be trusted and loved. And he wants us to be dependent upon Him – have faith in Him.  And that is what Abraham did, according to Scripture.  He simply trusted God. 


Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible.  Faith begins where human power ends.  When we come to the end of ourselves we come to the beginning of God.  God promises to be with us and He asks us to give Him our lives and our problems.  If we do not believe in anything that we can not touch or see or hear then we will have trouble learning to walk in faith.  But life does not consist just of what we can see and hear and touch.  We may not physically see God but we do see His handiwork all around us.  If we open our hearts to God we will see Him.  Scripture says: “A fool says in his heart that there is no God” (Psalm 14:1)   


We have faith in many things.  Sometimes we may have more faith in ourselves than in God.  We can be convinced that we are in control of our own world.  It’s easy to be proud of our own capacities and forget that God gave us those capacities.  Or despair when we have troubles that are outside of our control.  And we forget that God promises to be with us and nothing is outside of His control


Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”  (Matthew 17:20)  I have heard that a mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds there is.  So Jesus is telling us that even though our faith may be the size of a tiny mustard seed, with God it is enough to do big things.  Jesus is encouraging us to use the little faith that we have. That when we pray we don’t have to have but a little faith for God to answer – to move our mountains. 


What is the mountain in your life?  Loneliness, loss of a job, health issues, a wounded relationship, trouble at home?  Let’s give our mountain to God and use our mustard seed sized faith to trust God to take care of our problem. He may move our mountain right away or He may move the mountain in the future.  But let’s let go and let God take care of it. 


Martin Luther wrote that having faith in the God of the Bible gives us confidence and makes us happy, joyful and bold in our relationship with God and with others. The Holy Spirit makes this magic happen through faith.  When we have faith we joyfully want to do good to others (Gal.5:6) And this precious faith bubbles up in our lives and makes us want to serve and love and praise God.  Jesus describes it this way: “He that believes in Me, rivers of living water will flow out from his heart.”  (John 7:38)  Have you seen that joy and confidence that faith brings in the lives of fellow Christians? 


The person with faith in God becomes a channel through which God’s blessings flow to other individuals.  Having faith in Christ changes our lives and causes us to do things we would not have done if we did not have faith.  Faith in God is all important, so let’s ask God for more faith!     


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