Looking At Faith

Open door

A while back I asked the question of what my readers would like me to write on. If there was a subject or topic that they would like to hear about. One of the suggestions that came up was to talk about faith.

While I love talking about faith, it also scares me a bit to talk about faith. One thing that I have learned with teaching the Bible and doing this blog, is that I have to face in real life what I talk about. It is as though God says ‘you wrote this, now do you believe it and act upon it? Let’s find out.’ When my family is going through a difficult time, my wife can usually peg what I am teaching or writing about. This means that as I write about faith, I will have to step out in more faith.

I hope you come along with me on this journey to discover more about what faith is and what it means to have faith.

Faith is something that is not physical, but impacts every area of life for every person on this earth. It is something that every person has whether they admit it or not.

To begin this study of faith we must look at the greatest verse on what faith is:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 

Hebrews 11-1

This verse is the beginning verse on what faith is. I will continually refer back to it throughout this study.

Just looking at this verse, it says that faith is two things: confidence and assurance. Let’s look at these two things closer.

Confidence is described as the feeling or belief that one can rely upon something or someone. It is complete, solid and firm trust in that something or someone.

The other word ‘assurance’ is described as a positive declaration intended to give confidence. It is a promise.

This confidence is found in what we hope for. This hope is not the desperate hope that many in the world have. ‘I hope that this will turn out right’. Hope is the knowing that something is going to happen. As believers we look forward to the return of Jesus. We look forward to a life in heaven with no more pain, suffering or death. We look forward to what life will be like some day.

We can know for sure that all that God has said He will do, He will do it! We can go to the bank on it and cash it in. God’s word is true and will never fail to be fulfilled in its time.

We also have assurance of what we do not see. No one can see heaven right now. No one can see Jesus right now. No one can see a perfect life with no more pain, suffering, sickness or death. Yet, it is there in the future. We can see it in the mind, but not physically. This is faith.

Many will claim to have no faith, yet, every person who has walked on this earth has had some faith. You have faith when you hit the light switch that the light will turn on. You have faith that the other driver will stay in his lane as he drives past you. You have faith that your boss will pay you your agreed upon salary when the work is done. You have faith that when you get out of bed, the floor will be there to step upon.

Now that I have given you a base line of what faith is and that you already have it, I will begin to move on to further study as to how to apply this faith as a believer. What does it mean to a believer? How does he use it?

In order to do this, I will be looking at the lives of different people throughout the Bible that show what faith looks like in action. I don’t know how many I will look at before I am finished with this study, but it will be a good number.

This study will be posted on Mondays when I can get it put together. I will strive to do this every Monday, until it is completed, but I may miss a Monday or so. Bear with me in patience as we begin this journey together in learning what faith is and how to apply it to our lives.

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2 Kings 25:21 Judgment Occurs

Chains on feet

There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed. So Judah went into captivity, away from her land. 2 Kings 25:21 

Being thrust into captivity is something that no one desires. Although whole nations are not put into captivity, individuals can be. Often it is seen in being captured by the police for doing something wrong.

When one is placed in prison for doing wrong, it is usually not his first time doing wrong. It is often something he has done many times, just was never caught or convicted of doing wrong. There are rules to be followed and many people do not follow them, thinking that they will do fine with no problems. However, there will always come a time when he is caught and put into prison or some other punishment.

The Israelites had been rebelling against God for many years. They chose to follow false gods and worship idols, rather than love and worship God. God had warned them many times of punishment coming. With minor judgments against them, the people would turn to God for a short time, then rebel again, over and over. Finally God allowed the split nation of Judah to fall and be put into captivity for choosing to rebel against Him and follow false gods.

Although God does not always use physical captivity today, He still warns against following false gods or rebelling against Him. Jesus came to remove all sins from every person. He made a way to be able to follow God and live for eternity. However, one must still follow God and not false idols.

Many people have turned from God to idols in their lives. Choosing to not obey God or do what He desires of them. The captivity this time will be eternity in hell, the final judgment.

Choosing to believe in Jesus and follow Him is the first step to avoiding being judged and cast out. You must believe that He is the one who will save you from your sins and wrongs.

Then you must allow His Holy Spirit to guide you in how to live for God. Allow your every action, thought and word be to God’s glory and purpose. As you live like that, you will not allow yourself to follow false gods or worship idols in your life.

The warning of being cast out for eternity will be removed and you can look forward to eternity with God.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will allow the Holy Spirit to guide your life; that you will remove all idol worship in your life; and that God will never have a reason to cast you out. 

1 Kings 8:6 The Most Holy Place

Daylight in forest

The priests then brought the ark of the LORD’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. 1 Kings 8:6 

Shortly after becoming king of Israel, Solomon chose to begin building the temple to God that his father, David, had wanted to build, but was not allowed to. After a lot of work of building the building, the priests brought the ark of the covenant into the building and placed it in the Most Holy Place.

At the time the ark of the covenant represented God’s presence and His agreement with the Israelites. It was an agreement that if the people followed His commands, He would be their God and take care of them. In it there was a copy of the ten commandments, a jar of manna, and the budding branch. This represented what the people had to do, God’s provision and God’s leadership.

This ark was placed in the Most Holy Place. It was the place that God would directly dwell when among the people. It was behind a huge curtain and was a place of no sin and only the high priest was allowed in once a year. It was God’s place.

A thousand years later, Jesus had died upon the cross, ripping the curtain in two and open and making a way for every person to go into the Most Holy Place where God is. The new location for God’s place to dwell was no longer in a temple, but in the heart of a person.

When one seeks forgiveness and believes in Jesus, his heart is made pure and holy–the Most Holy Place. It becomes the dwelling place of God. There is now a covenant–an agreement–between God and the person placed in the heart. There is also a sign of the provision for forgiveness and eternal life placed in the heart.

Believe in the work that Jesus did for you to remove your sins and give you eternal life. Accept His work in your life and become a believer. Do not allow the covenant of sin of this world to take a place in your heart.

As a believer, you now have God’s covenant placed in your heart. Your heart has become the Most Holy Place–the dwelling place of God. God is with you and will not leave you.

Believe in Jesus and allow God’s presence to be in your life daily.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will allow God to rule in your life; that you will allow God’s presence to fill your life; and that your heart will be the Most Holy Place unto God. 

Deuteronomy 11:16 Be Careful

Be careful

Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Deuteronomy 11:16

When traveling down a road on a longer trip, there are often many warning signs on the road. There are warnings of sharper curves, workmen on the road, speed limit changes, narrow roads or bridges, extra wide vehicles, low bridges, stop signs, crossing traffic, and many other warnings. These are placed on the road to help prevent an accident.

As a person travels down the road, he can be tempted to drive faster and ignore the warning signs. The temptation to follow what others are doing increases the desire to ignore the signs. Yet, those signs are there for a purpose, to keep the person safe from harm.

As the Israelites were getting ready to go into the new land of Canaan, they were warned about being careful of being enticed to follow false gods. The pressure to follow them would be great.

Traveling through this life has many different paths that people travel. All but one path leads to death and destruction. Only when a person follows the path laid out by Jesus, can a he gain life.

The world will throw everything it can towards the believer to get him to follow anyone or thing except Jesus. They try to make the false gods look good.

In today’s society, it not usually a physical idol that they worship, but other things or self. Currently, there are many that believe no matter what religious belief a person he has, he can still get to heaven. Or they push the idea Jesus is not real, and one can be anything he wants to be on his own, and it is acceptable.

The only way you, as a believer, can keep from falling for these false beliefs is to be careful and alert. You must keep a close eye on the path for warning signs that there is danger ahead. Being filled with God’s Holy Spirit will help you be careful not to be enticed into believing some false god. He will keep you on the path God has for you.

You must keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, so that when the temptation to turn away from God comes, and it will, you will not be led astray. Be careful to follow God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will not be led away from God to false beliefs; that the Holy Spirit will guide your steps in following Jesus; and that you will worship and serve God alone. 

Hebrews 11:1 Faith And Confidence

 

Hanging light bulb with pull switch.  Person is turning on or off the light.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

The world thinks that believers are crazy for believing in God, because He cannot be seen directly. They search to find God physically, but are unable to ever find Him. They act as though faith is a weakness and does not make sense.

However, every person has faith. They have faith or the confidence in something that they cannot see. Without a special microscope, no one can see the cells at work inside the body of a person, yet everyone believes that they are there and are working.

No one can see inside a wall to see the electrical wires, nor can they see the electricity running through those wires, yet everyone believes the light will turn one when they hit the switch.

There is an endless list of things that every person has confidence in that is unseen, yet, to believe in God does not make sense to them.

For the believer he has faith in God, even though He is unseen in the physical realm. He has confidence that God is there and that God will do what He says He will do. That confidence is so strong that there is an assurance or guarantee that is felt for what is unseen.

No one can see salvation directly or the removal of sins. No one can see heaven, yet they believe in all of these things, because God is real to them.

It does not take a lot of faith to believe in God, just as it does not take a lot of faith to believe in the light switch will work. The hope of the light switch is the light will turn on when it is hit. The assurance is knowing the light will turn on when the switch is hit.

Know that God’s word is true in your life. Jesus says He loves you, has removed your sins and will return to get you one day to give you eternal life. Have a firm confidence that God will take care of you as you trust in Jesus.

As you have your faith in God, be willing to share that faith with others. Share with them what you are hoping for. Share with them what you know God can and will do. And hold on to your faith, don’t give it up.

I pray today that you will know God personally; that you will have confidence in God’s word; that you will know what God has in store for you; and that your faith and trust in God will only grow greater. 

1 Corinthians 15:2 Hold On Firmly

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By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:2

The word ‘gospel’ means good news or message. The gospel that Paul preached was that Jesus died and rose again. Jesus had done this in order to be able to forgive every one of their sins and to remove their sins. He paid the penalty for the sins of every person who ever lived. Paul says that they are to hold on firmly to this gospel message.

To hold on firmly is to grasp a hold of something and to not let go.

Many children have a dream that they begin to hold on to. They desire to be someone or do something some day. As they grow older, most children lose or let go of that dream. Others will say that they cannot do it and so they give up on that dream or hope that they had.

A few people will hold on to that dream and keep striving to reach it. Those who keep holding on and not give up, often will reach their dream.

While Christians do not have a dream, they do have a hope to hold on to. That hope is the salvation that Jesus provides. There have been many in the church who began to believe the gospel message, but later let go of it. The cares of this world pulled them away from holding onto that gospel message. Or they get caught up in working for their salvation, rather than having faith in the work of Jesus.

All a believer must do is trust in what Jesus did for him and strive to live for God.

There may be times when it is a struggle for you to believe that God will save you, but you must trust His word. Hold on to that message and never give it up. If any point you give up believing that Jesus will save you, you have believed in vain. Everything you believed in becomes worthless to you.

The world will try to get you to stop believing in Jesus and that He is a waste of time. Do not fall for that, but keep believing.

Holding on will take work and effort, but it is worth it in the end. Do not let go of the gospel message in your life.

I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus provides you; that you will trust in the work of Jesus; that you will hold firmly to what you believe in Jesus; and that God will build you up in Christ Jesus. 

1 Corinthians 1:21 Foolishness In The Message

 

man in field

For since in the wisdom of God the world did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

The world claims that Christianity is foolishness. Many people do not want to follow Jesus, because it does not appear to make sense to them. People have a hard time with the concept of turning the other cheek, loving their enemies, trusting in someone who they cannot see, and many other reasons.

Most people feel that they are wise in the choices that they are making. They feel as though they do know what is best for them. Yet, in all of the wisdom of this world, they miss out on God.

God’s wisdom is outside the way of man’s wisdom. In the short view of looking at Jesus and God, it does not always make sense. Looking at the surface of the gospel message, it is foolishness. God sent His one and only son, Jesus, to die on a cross for people who hate Him, did not serve God, and did not want anything to do with Him. Jesus is willing to forgive any wrongs done, with no permanent consequence. He is willing to give eternal life to someone without payment.

Why would a man allow himself to be killed in order to save a bunch of people who do not love or want him? Why would God allow this?

It was because of His love for all people. His wisdom is found in His immense, endless love for all people.

The message is a simple one, that will astound the wise. It becomes a stumbling block, because it is so simple, it looks foolish. Yet, this is the best way to save every person on this planet. And it pleases God to work in this manner, because His goal is to save every person on this earth.

Sit back and think about what God has done for you. Be amazed at the way He was able to provide forgiveness of every sin you have ever done or ever will do. And this was done before you even loved Him.

Do not allow His great wisdom and the foolishness of the message be a stumbling block to following Jesus. Be willing to believe in it and be saved. Also be willing to preach or tell others of what Jesus has done for them.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will tell others the gospel message; that you will trust in God’s great wisdom; and that many will come to know Jesus through your message.