Monday, April 3

Sustaining faith

Scripture: Hebrews 11

Hebrews 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Observation

What a great chapter! So inspiring! The author defines faith (v. 1) and says it is essential to please God (v. 6), then gives examples from the OT of great heroes of faith. 

I want to focus on the end of the chapter where the author runs out of time and space to keep giving examples and sums up those who gained victories and endured defeats by faith (v. 32-40).

What is striking and inspiring is that faith carried people through both victory and defeat. In 32-35a the author lists great victories achieved by faith. Then in 35b-38 he lists terrible suffering endured by faith: torture, mocking, flogging, imprisonment, stoning, sawing in two, murdered by sword, being poor, afflicted, mistreated, and homeless. 

Application

I said in church yesterday “I need to trust God even when I don’t understand. In fact, that is when faith is truly faith.  If I can understand everything, I don’t need to trust.”  

Jesus promised abundant life, life to the full. That doesn’t mean that everything goes our way, that every wish is fulfilled, that every situation is a win. Our faith strengthens us for the wins and sustains us through the losses. If our faith fails in the struggle, it wasn’t very strong. The faith described in this chapter is robust, sturdy and tough, muscular faith that gets stronger in the struggle. 

I don’t manufacture this faith. It comes from knowing God as He has revealed Himself in Jesus. It comes from hearing God’s good word. Catch of vision of Him, how good He is, and faith grows. The more I know Him and how faithful He is, the more my faith grows. 

Prayer: Lord, I love You. Help me know You better, love You more, trust You more deeply. Strengthen me for great things, sustain me through the hard things. I trust You. I will listen, believe and do. 

More: Deuteronomy 31-32, Psalm 40, Romans 6