We must have faith!
How many times have you heard that statement? For many of us, more times than we care to admit. And yet, now more than ever, these words ring true. Recently, we just gathered together in our churches together with fellow believers to remember a time when God Himself demonstrated what true faith is all about. I’d like to share with you what I’ve come to know is the real definition of this amazing thing called faith.
The Bible says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen” and “without faith it is impossible to please God,” (Hebrews 11:1, 6). But what do these words actually mean? I’ve heard these scriptures quoted many times and I’ve even preached them with all of my heart. And yet, it is easy to fall into the rhythm of doing and saying them because it is right. And yet, all the while forgetting the most important thing, which is Christ Jesus, the One who inspired it all. He alone truly understands faith because no one else in history ever demonstrated it like He did over 2000 years ago!
Consider what Jesus experienced regarding the ultimate testing of His faith. Picture with me if you will a scene in His life. He’s in a beautiful garden, surrounded by gorgeous trees and a clear bright evening sky–all of which He created–and then we hear it: the sound of weeping. We strain our eyes to get a glimpse of what’s going on. There’s a bunch of guys asleep over by a patch of trees and shrubs, so why is this Man crying and shaking a little, and Who is He talking too? Wait, I hear Him saying something, “Father, is there any other way?” … “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thy will be done!”
My friend, may I say that this one moment exemplifies all there is to faith! Jesus showed us that true faith is more than knowing something. It is trusting that if you obey our Heavenly Father, you can be sure that He will be faithful and just to do what He’s promised! Faith is trust! Trust in The One who brought you this far and will complete His plan for your good according to His will, if you obey Him and allow Him! Jesus could have chosen not to obey His father, but instead He said “I trust You Abba Father, I trust You Dad!” He said, “I have faith not only in You Father, but I trust (believe, have faith in) that You will reward me for doing Your will.”
Now consider another time of testing for the ones that were closest to Jesus. We see this in the hours of despair that followed for the disciples immediately after the death of Jesus. What they went through in the three days that the tomb was not empty had to be horrendous. I believe this was their first true test of faith as a group. No doubt their minds were hit with all manner of tormenting thoughts, questions, uncertainty, sadness, and confusion. Thanks be to God that they toughed it out and got a wonderful surprise at the end of those days!
In our daily walk with the Lord, we undoubtedly will have many times of uncertainty, doubts and confusion; but He asks us to trust Him. Because He guarantees a beautiful surprise for those of us who endure to the end!
So what can we do to grow our faith? I would say the first step is to recognize that when you were born again, God blessed you with a wonderful gift, the gift of faith. The Bible says in Romans 12:3,
God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
This means that you have faith if you are a child of God. Jesus went on to tell us in Mark 11:23-24 that if we had faith as small as a mere mustard seed, we could see mountains move. No doubt you have a mountain or two in your life that feels massive and even “insurmountable.” But God assures us that if we will continue to have faith and trust Him, we can experience victory over every one of them.
The Bible gives us a further prescription for developing great faith in Romans 10:17,
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When we make time to read and meditate on God’s Word, we are building up our faith. As you read the Word of God, I would encourage you to also get in the habit of speaking the verses out loud and to even let the words become “decrees.” God’s Word is such a powerful weapon that we need to boldly speak it over our homes, families, and everything that is pertinent in our lives, particularly to those “mountains” that need to move!
A third thing we can do is to put ourselves around people that will build up and strengthen our faith. Proverbs 27:17 says,
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Too often we surround ourselves with “sister doubt” or “brother complainer,” when we need to make time for “brother encouragement” and “sister edifier.” The company we keep invariably determines the level we reach. While you are at it, join a church that boldly believes God’s Word, praises and worships Him passionately, and diligently pursues to be a people of faith. When we place ourselves in such an environment, we set ourselves up to grow mightily in faith.
Each of us can be a person of great faith by following the example of Jesus and taking the necessary steps to grow in our trust in the Lord. When we do these things we can say “Amen!” with a smile whenever we hear those words, “We must have faith!”