What is Faith?


Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

DSC_0016Isn’t it great to know that God looks more at our willingness to have faith and be faithful than he does at whether we keep his laws?

Of course, as we grow in faith, we will also desire to live rightly with God and others. But in Hebrews 11, God gives us a list of folks who made mistakes and bad choices but God praised them for their faith in him.

Even though they blew it in other ways.

Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife.

Moses killed a man and disobeyed God.

David took another man’s wife and murdered her husband.

Noah got drunk and exposed himself.

Job lost everything and questioned God.

Rahab was a prostitute.

And those are only the big names we know about.

But God commended them for their faith even in spite of their sinful, human tendencies. And look at all the things they and their predecessors accomplished by faith:

  • Pleased God (vs.5)
  • Obeyed and went unknown places (vs.8)
  • Worshiped in weakness (vs.21)
  • Weren’t afraid of a king’s edict or anger (vs.23 & 27)
  • Persevered (vs.27)
  • Did something that seemed foolish, but saved their lives (vs.28)
  • Conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained promises, saw lions’ mouths shut (vs. 34)
  • Escaped flames and sword, saw their weakness turn to strength (vs.35)
  • Became powerful in battle, routed foreign armies (vs.35)
  • Saw the dead raised, withstood torture, flogging, insults and prison (vs.37)
  • Were able to trust God even when stoned, cut in two, persecuted , mistreated and killed (vs.39)

Wow. Living a life of faith means living in greatness.

In spite of our sin, our opposition or circumstances. And in the end, we spend eternity with a loving God and fellow believers.

The best part is we don’t have to conjure up faith on our own. It is a gift freely given by God when we ask. Good news: even our asking exhibits faith.

Are you ready to move ahead in faith today?

How Do I Know if I’m Fruitful?


Every day we make mistakes.

We say and do things we know are wrong, hurtful or leading us in a direction away from where we want to end up.dsc_0021

And every day we can decide to change our trajectory.

How do we do that? In the Bible, Luke 3:8 tells us to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”

UGH.

Do we hate that word “repentance?” I used to. Until I learned that to repent simply means to turn around.

Like in 180°.

About face.

U-turn.

To see that we are headed the wrong way, catch it and say “I blew it. I’m sorry, God. I want to turn around.”

It’s really not as painful as we seem convinced it is. Well, okay, some things can be – like when we’ve lied to someone, or said something behind their back, or broken a promise. Yes, it is hard to come clean that we’ve been looking at inappropriate material or using the company card for our personal benefit. But when we’re taking our life forward into better, repentance is the way to go. Besides…

God already forgave us.

Done deal. So our acknowledging our sinful ways and receiving his forgiveness is a simple step. And every time we repent, it gets easier. Then we actually sin less.  Some attitudes or action need to be repented of a hundred times in a day at first, but each time creates a new path. Thank goodness.

So what’s this “fruit of repentance?”

The evidence that we’re getting it.

God tells us there are 3 things that show when we are living a repentant lifestyle:

  1. Generosity – A heart that is willing to give to those in need. Things, time, resources.
  2. Honesty -No lying to secure something for ourselves. No accusing others for our gain.
  3. Contentment – Being happy with what we have without trying to take more than our share.

I’m so grateful God forgives us and then gives us a barometer to remind us of how we’re doing. Embracing a repentant life means we’re living a freer life. I’m all for that!

Is there some area where you feel you need to make a U-Turn? I’d love to hear about it.