6 June 2020
What is faith?
This is a natural question.
Thinking about it perhaps I should have written this before yesterday's offering!
The technical description of faith is found in Hebrews
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.' (11:1)
Wikibooks says...'Faith is the basic ingredient to begin a relationship with God.
Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true,
even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction
that what he expects in faith, will come to pass.'
When the answer to our prayers is not on the horizon,
when we don't feel differently, we need to fight the good fight and say,
'Do you know what? God's word says it will happen and that's all the evidence I need.
It is the evidence of things unseen and I'm going to believe the truth.
I don't care what the world says, I don't care what the circumstances are,
I'm going to fight the good fight and trust in God.';
and we stay with it until, as the saying goes,
'faith turns to sight.'
The passage from Hebrews chapter 12 gives us a simple truth:
Do you see what this means -
all these pioneers who blazed the way,
all these veterans cheering us on?
It means we'd better get on with it.
Strip down, start running-and never quit!
No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.
Keep your eyes on Jesus,
who both began and finished this race we're in.
Study how he did it.
Because he never lost sight of where he was headed -
that exhilarating finish in and with God -
he could put up with anything along the way:
Cross, shame, whatever.
And now he's there, in the place of honour,
right alongside God.
When you find yourselves flagging in your faith,
go over that story again, item by item,
that long litany of hostility he ploughed through.
That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (1-3 MSG)
Jesus is the innovator and ending of our faith.
He not only started it; he is the one who develops it.
Remember yesterday's analogy of the athlete from yesterday?
Well, if our faith is like the athlete,
Jesus is our personal trainer
who will work with us to be more effective in building our faith muscle.
No-one knows more about faith than Jesus.
If we want to learn about faith we need to listen to Jesus.
We need to follow his guidance on how to build our faith.
Faith is practical -
It gets involved in people's hurts.
And when we see a need, we do something about it;
we don't just spout off and say, "I'll pray for you." -.
Action helps strengthen faith.
You see, as Christians, we're a part of the family of God.
And as a result, we have some family responsibilities.
What are those family responsibilities?
We care about it when other Christians are hurt,
or in pain, or grief, or sorrow.
We may say, "Well, I can't meet everybody's needs!" -
You're right - We can't.
But we can meet some -
and it may not make a difference to everybody,
but it will make a difference to some.
So if our faith is struggling,
as it does at sometime for every one of us
(even the last Pope went through a major crisis of faith!),
let's take a lesson from the writer of Hebrews.
Don't give up;
keep the faith; turn our eyes on Jesus
who is the one we can trust
because he is always faithful as he walks beside us,
helping us strengthen our faith
and giving us the strength to carry on.