Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24
According to the dictionary, ‘believe’ as a verb, means to accept or regard something as true.
‘Faith’ as a noun, has the meaning, to have a firm belief in something for which there is no proof, or to have complete trust.
We have to believe, and have faith, in order to be a Christian,, and a follower of Christ.
Our kingdom is one which cannot be seen, but is very real. I can acknowledge that people have a hard time understanding that. If we could see it though, we wouldn’t need to have faith.
The Bible speaks of faith many times. Hebrews 11, sums up a lot of the verses about faith, such as who had it, and what it accomplished with them.
It starts out by saying, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
Then the chapter lists those ‘elders’ with a good report, the ones who lived by faith. People like Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Abel, Isaac, Rahab, Moses, Gideon, and many more. Many of these people didn’t get to see the fulfillment of their faith on earth. But they had obtained God’s word that He would bring about His purpose through their lives.
Hebrews, Chapter 12, finishes this thought of faith, by saying, “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We have a great cloud of witnesses who walked by faith, believing God would be faithful to keep His promises. Their stories can be read through the Bible.
Sometimes life can be very difficult because of circumstances. It is hard to have that faith and belief that things will be different, and ‘right’ some day. It is hard and difficult to walk with patience and perseverance. It is sometimes lonely, especially when we find ourselves surrounded by people who have no faith.
In times like these, I try to stay positive, and cling to verses that give me joy. Psalm 23 is especially helpful. God leads, guides, corrects, saves, annoints, heals, restores, and does all those things for us, the ‘sheep’ of His pasture.
Sometimes I can’t keep focused, especially on what I can’t see. It is then that I need God’s help, His protection and correction to stay on the right path.
Dear Lord, please help my unbelief, and unfaithfulness at times. I ask that you would help me to stay focused, even on those glorious things I can’t see. Help me to be faith-focused! Use Your righteous staff to guide me and keep me on right paths. Help me to rest beside the quiet waters that You’ve provided so generously, and keep me in Your care. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I had a recent incident that reminded me of faith.
I was kayaking out to a cranberry bog across a beautiful deep Idaho lake. It had been years since I had gone there. The group that I previously went with, climbed down a steep embankment, got muddy up to their wastes, and then climbed onto a log to get onto the bog (floating moss).
When I got to where I could see the bog though, I couldn’t remember where to cross. I was praying for direction on how to get across, when three people walked towards me from the bog. I asked if they knew how to get across. They said that there was a stick bridge that hadn’t been maintained. It was under the water’s surface. They told me I would just have to have faith that it was there, if I wanted to access the bog.
I cautiously pressed each foot forward with great hesitancy. At one time, one of my legs shot down below the surface and went into the sticky saturated mud. I almost pulled my shoe off, trying to get my foot out.
It was true. There were sticks under the surface. I just had to step cautiously and believe, if I wanted to climb aboard the bog.
I needed those people to give me direction. Then, I had the choice of whether I would believe them. I had to personally feel my way across. The benefits were that I made in to the bog, where I picked a gallon of cranberries.
That is how faith works. If you have a great cloud of witnesses who know the way, and you can believe that they are telling the truth, and then find the truth of that way for yourself, there is great reward!
My greatest reward has been forgiveness and restoration, and having a friend, closer than a brother.