Altar Culture – Faith

chad Culture, Faith

Let’s talk about faith.   It is a powerful word, often used without  a real understanding of it’s meaning. For example, look how people use the word love.  I love that thing. I love that food. We throw the word love around to anything that looks or feels good and the true weight of the word gets washed out.  Faith, I feel is similar in Christianity. It’s my faith and I have faith… It becomes just a term we use to describe the topic of the moment. Faith is so much more than just a thought or how we classify or justify things.   When the disciples couldn’t do something Jesus would address their faith. When things didn’t go as planned Jesus brought up faith. When people came for healing Jesus recognized their faith. Jesus addressed faith both in successes and failures.  Faith is the currency of the Kingdom. Hebrews says it like this.

without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

 

By faith we receive every promise from God.

And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. (Matthew 21:22 NASB)

Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.”(Matthew 9:29 NASB)

 

There have been many books written about faith and what faith is or what faith does.  I have quite a few of them in my library. I don’t want to break out every one of those elements here but rather want to just focus on one part of faith.  That is the area of trust. We have already seen from above that faith is vital in the Kingdom of God. Yet I hear it too often from people who say they have faith in God but really struggle to trust Him.  Often times our faith really isn’t Biblical faith but more mental ascent. Faith without trust is not true faith. Let’s take a look at Abraham, who is called the father of faith (Romans 4:16) and see what true faith looks like.

 

There are many examples in Abraham’s life where he exhibited great faith.   He grew up in a pagan land and didn’t know God. Then one day God spoke to him and called him out of what he had known to follow God and really begin a life of faith.

 

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8 NLT)

 

In Genesis 12 and subsequent chapters we see the full story.   God tells Abram (God changes his name to Abraham later) to leave his land, family, idols, basically life as he knew it.  God said “Leave what you know and go to a place I will show you.” What faith it was to get up and go even though he didn’t know where he was going and he didn’t know God either.  He trusted God though and went. That is the kind of trust that accompanies real faith. No wonder he is the father of faith.

And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. (Hebrews 11:9 NLT)

 

He had a promise from God but he lived in tents in the promised land.  How often do people lose faith because something doesn’t happen fast enough or in the way they want.   Abraham and his son lived by faith in that land even though they didn’t see the completion of the promise yet.  They continued to trust the One who promised.

 

Then God spoke again to Abraham. He told Abraham to sacrifice- Abraham’s promised son.

 

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac,  even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”   Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

 

Abraham was in the promised land with the promised child whom God said he would have descendants that would be like the sand on the seashore.   Yet Abraham didn’t waver when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. The thing that I love with this is Abraham never thought that the promise was over or what God said was going to be lost.  He kept on in his faith and trusted that God would raise the dead so that the promise would remain. He told his servants that both of them would return. Even when it seemed the promise was about to die he just trusted God that the promise would not fail.

 

Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”  (Genesis 22:8 NASB)

 

No matter what side of  a promise you are on never let your faith fail, continue to trust God no matter the circumstances.  Circumstances don’t change God’s promises, His promises will change your circumstances as you continue to be in faith and trust Him no matter what it looks like.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; (Hebrew 10:23)