One of my Facebook friends started a thread about faith recently which has elicited some thought provoking - and surprisingly civil - comments from many. I found it interesting that I came to Hebrews 11 in my Bible reading today.
Hebrews 11:1 - "Now FAITH is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" (NIV). One commentator I read suggested that "substance" is a much better translation of the original language instead of the word "confidence", but I rather like the word confidence. The word confidence reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman who goes about her life with confidence. She has faith. She knows that no matter what she will spend eternity with Christ.
I want to live with that confidence because of my faith.
Hebrews 11 goes on to give examples of people in the Bible who truly lived out their faith. Abel was faithful by giving his very best. Being faithful in giving is one of the best things you can do. This is one of the only areas where I feel I have been consistently faithful to God. And I'm not pointing it out to be applauded but only to say that giving to Him what He asks us to give is a step of faith, yes, but it is also a chance to observe His faithfulness.
By faith, Noah in his old age built the ark God told him to build and built it to God's exact specifications. I can't grasp how much faith this would have taken. Imagine being Noah...an old man in the middle of an arid land that rarely, if ever, saw a drop of rain being asked to build a boat. And not just a little row boat but an enormous ark. I can just imagine it: as Noah started his project people probably gathered around to watch out of curiosity. I wonder if he told them outright what he was doing when they asked him what he was building. If he did, they would have scoffed at him. As the boat began to take shape, I'm sure the ridiculing mounted. After some time passed, though, I bet people just ignored him with a shake of their head: "Looks like our neighborhood crazy man is making progress on his boat."
What would I do if God asked me to do something for him and that something earned me the ridicule of all of my friends and neighbors? And not just ridicule for a day or two but for years? Would I obey?
Abraham trudged up a mountain with his son, all the while knowing he was about to do the unthinkable, yet it was the unthinkable that God had asked him to do. He kept going, one foot in front of the other, in faith.
But God would never ask me to sacrifice one of my children, right? We don't offer sacrifices to God in that manner anymore because of what Christ did on the cross, right?
Mark and I fully committed our children to God. We committed to loving them and caring for them to the best of our abilities, but ultimately our children are in God's hands. Which is the best place to be.
When I worry about my children, though, aren't I disobeying God's command to place our children in to His loving hands?
Abraham was faithful with Isaac. My constant fears that something will happen to my children outside of my plans shows me to be unfaithful.
By faith, Moses, though hesitant, chose to obey God and lead the people of Israel out of Egypt rather than staying with his adoptive family, a family who could offer riches and freedom to him.
"He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:25-26, NIV).
What if, by faith, I lived a life where I consistently chose the right path even if it meant giving up worldly treasures and conveniences? What if I lived a life where I didn't fear what others' opinions would be? What if I lived a life of perseverance without worry?
What if I lived out my faith consistently?