Right now, depending on the setting you are in, the word faith is being bantered around. Olympic Athletes are talking about the faith their parents, coaches, and/or teammates have had in them. Others are talking about their lack of faith and confidence in the US political system and the Presidential Nominees. Still, others use the words “just have faith” as feel good comment to try and encourage people who are going through difficult and tryng times. So what is this “faith” thing and what might it look like?
To get a better handle on things, we first need to define what we mean by faith. The dictionary has several explanations and depending upon if your eyes are world focused or God focused will determine the outcome. If you take faith in a simple explanation, faith can be a strong belief in someone or something. In other words strong conviction and/ or loyalty. If you take a higher definition, faith is belief and trust in and loyalty to God: firm belief in something for which there is no proof: complete trust. There is quite a contrast between the two.
The worldview will always leave us short because people fail, convictions and loyalty are often sacrificed to get the next promotion, more influential circles, or higher positions of power and politics. Even in the Olympics you hear of athletes and coaches who will sacrifice their faith in the system of hard work and perseverance and throw it away to “juice” and try and beat the system to get a medal. When your back’s up against the wall and there is no where to turn, will a piece of metal part the pathway for you? Will that “golden calf” deliver you? When your body is failing and your heart is broken under the weight of trials, will that medal sustain you? This is not the faith we want to aspire to. We want to talk about God’s Gold Medal of Faith.
Faith, loyalty, and trust in God is a firm belief, for eternity, that will never leave us wanting more. God never disappoints and more than a gold medal, He promises and delivers so much more. The Lord not only gives us more than we deserve in faith, but He is the one who gives us the faith in the first place. Once faith is given to us, what we do with the faith is up to our own free will.
Will we work at faith and relationship with God? This work that we are talking about is like an athlete that learns the routines, exercises faithfully, eats right, submits themselves to the coaches teachings, and continue, to strive even when it gets difficult. As Christians this means we should desire to move beyond the infant stage of only wanting the “milk” and move on to the solid food of all of God’s Word. We should desire our faith to impact every area of our lives and rid us of those sins and actions that are not in line with God’s Word. Our lives should reflect the abandonment of the world and show the signs of loyalty to God at all worldly cost. Faith that is rooted in God and watered by the Word produces stronger faith so we can continue to run the race of Jesus with endurance.
This life on earth is hard on Christ Followers and that is nothing new. This has always been the case because Satan wants us to fail and lose the crown of glory that God has waiting for us at the end of this race that finishes in heaven. All we have to do is look at Scripture and see the difficulties that the faithful have endured. When we look at this same Word of God we see what a rich reward faith offers. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 11:17-12:3 esv
As you can see, Faith in Jesus is “Risk Taking” by worldview and it will stretch you, but just as Jesus was big on the walk in loyalty to the Father’s plan of Salvation, may we follow in His footsteps and be ever faithful even unto death for His namesake. No matter what comes may faith be our defining moment.
Want an extra shot of encouragement? Take a listen to New Songs’ hit “Defining Moment”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fF64-zFONzk