Scripture: Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.
Observation: Here the writer is offering a word of encouragement to a community of early Christian believers. In many ways, though they lived many centuries ago, these early Christians faced similar challenges as we do – they are called to follow Jesus whom they have not met in the flesh, to believe in a death and resurrection they did not witness, and claim promises of eternal life one cannot confirm in this life. This form of trust is called “faith”.
Application: As has been the case since Jesus ascended to heaven to be with the Father, Christians are called to live by faith. In other words, we are called to trust in the Lord and his promises – though we may not have any immediate visible evidence of the Lord’s presence and influence.
We are called to trust the Lord with our money by giving to God 10% of our income off the top. We are called to trust the Lord with our time by taking one day a week as a Sabbath rest. We are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. All of these things are simple – but hard to actually do.
An area where the Lord has been challenging me to live by faith lately has been for me to relinquish “control”. As a rule, I don’t like surprises. Surprises throw my plans for a loop. Surprises make me scramble to figure things out at the last minute. I can scramble with the best of them, but I prefer not to. As a result, I can find myself trying to micro-manage situations, being overly directive with other people, and so on. Yet, as the years have gone by, an important truth has dawned on me:
In this life, I don’t really control squat.
Seriously. There was a time when I resisted this truth by trying to bring even greater levels of control to people and situations beyond me. Doesn’t work. Just makes me and other people miserable. So, the Lord has been trying to teach me a different way of living.
Rather than trying to control things, the Lord is teaching me to pray about them – and leave the outcomes to the Lord.
This way of functioning is totally counter-intuitive for me, but I can see that it’s a far better way to live than trying to control things. Praying requires me to trust in the Lord, to live… by faith. And, on good days I can tell my level of inner peace is far greater than it once was. But, it’s a work in progress…
Let me ask you – where is the Lord inviting you to live by faith? To trust the Lord for what you cannot see? To accomplish things you cannot do? Let’s pray.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you care for your children and call for us to live by faith and not by sight. This is such a simple idea that is very hard to live out. Give us grace to believe you exist and that you reward those who seek you. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.