Does faith come easily to you?
Well, I suppose we would have to first start with, “Do you have faith and in what or whom do you have that faith?”
I imagine if we polled the world, we would get some interesting answers to that question. (Please feel free to leave me your answers in a comment.)
As you have gotten to know me in this blog, you have probably noticed that I am a fearful person. I worry a lot. Gosh – I even have a diagnosed anxiety disorder.
But I have a firm faith that keeps me from going under. I believe in the one and only God of the Bible and that He has saved me and anyone who calls out to Him through the life and resurrection of Christ. I believe that God is good and merciful. And I believe He is faithful in His promises.
“The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.” Psalm 145:13
For me, this foundation of faith is so concrete that it cannot be torn up. Satan will try and get me going with doubts, questions, fears and concerns, but ultimately I have committed to this faith and I am safe in it. And ladies – I am so very, very grateful for it.
Without that bedrock of faith, I would be subject to the twists and turns of this world and all the terrifying things that my mind conjures up. But no matter how far down that road I let myself wander, I cannot be lost because this faith is not going anywhere and I will choose it again and again. I will cling to it and I will not give it up.
But this faith does not mean life will be easy…
Nor does my faith mean that I will understand what is going on around me. But this faith allows me to trust in God and His mercy and promises.
In Beth Moore’s look at faithfulness, the seventh quality of the fruit of the Spirit, she begins by establishing that faithfulness is believing in the reality of a sovereign God. She says:
“Faithfulness is resting in His certainty, being persuaded by his honesty, trusting in His reality, being won over by His veracity…being sure that He’s sure and believing He’s worth believing.”
What kind of faith do you have?
I have seen two different approaches to God and faith. One leads to disappointment and despair and the other to peace and deliverance. Beth describes them in this week’s study…
“Faith based on what God does.”
Now this belief system is not dangerous because God doesn’t do wonderful things. He does. But inevitably life will bring hardship, pain and trials that we will not want.
As God says in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” We will not agree or understand with many things that happen in this world. And if our faith in God is determined by our understanding of what God should do, then we will be in trouble.
“Faith based on who God is.”
Beth says, “Genuine faith walks steadfastly with God for the pleasure of His company not for His results.” Another old saying is, “Love the Giver not the gifts.”
Does your child love you only for the presents you give him? Every time you tell him “no” and discipline him, does he stop loving you? Well perhaps some children might, but we would hope that our history of love and protection of our child will have given them a foundation of faith in us and of love for us. So whether of not we have candy in our hand, they still want to be with us because they simply love and trust us.
I trust God. I love Him. And I believe in Him. When I am questioning the agonies of this world and the cruelty of man, I don’t have to fear losing my faith in Him. I have secured my faith in who He is. And for every bit of mercy or compassion I have toward the lost or the suffering, I know that He has more. He is the source of mercy, love and compassion. I may be tempted to wonder and doubt, but I will not give in. I know that He is trustworthy and I can have faith in Him.
But it takes faith…
So often I just wish God would make it all clear. Just show the world who He is. Let them see sin and evil for what it is. Let everyone know that He is the very source of mercy.
But he doesn’t. He requires “belief.”
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Beth says that he leaves some questions unanswered to force the issue of faith.
It may frustrate me sometimes, but it will not erode my faith in God. I need to believe in what I cannot see. That is part of the requirement.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Now fight the good fight…
This is not going to be easy! We are going to have doubts, fears and trials. We are going to question and weep. But we have the Holy Spirit to keep us from giving up.
Just as I was typing that I thought of the disciples and their before/after transformation. They were terrified and scattered like sheep as Christ faced his death. But after He had equipped them with the Holy Spirit they went on to spread the gospel and die as martyrs. They had the Holy Spirit filling them with faithfulness.
And we have it too – thank God! This ability to trust in God despite the worst Satan can hurl at us is not from us. We don’t have to be somehow miraculously strong enough to conjure it up. No, it is from God and He promises it us.
To quote Beth again,
“The supernatural ability to believe God is immediately activated the moment we are filled by the Holy Spirit.”
We are equipped with the “shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16)
And so we can go forward in faith.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Thank you for who you are and that in faith I can rest in you and your promises. Through your Holy Spirit, strengthen me when doubts, fears and trials threaten. Empower me to fight the good fight and bring me to the finish line with my faith intact. And thank you Lord for your mercy on me – a sinner. Thank you so very much.
This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links
to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published for
the next ten weeks, between Friday 8pm – Saturday 8am.
Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is
welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live
beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of