We’re a little over half way for the year 2019. I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it’s already July! Didn’t summer just begin?
It seems like yesterday was my kids’ last day of school. On the other hand, it seems like they’ve been around for-e-ver. Can you relate?
My word for 2019 is Faith, and God has really been teaching me a lot about faith while growing my faith.
That word, like so many other Christian words and phrases, can become cliche if we’re not careful. For example, people just throw around the phrase #blessed without really taking the time to thank the one who blessed them in the first place.
People say, “Keep the faith,” without really knowing why they’re saying it. Bon Jovi even wrote a song called “Keep the Faith,” where he kind of makes some good points, but then again, I think it was just a popular phrase that was made into a popular song.
The lead teacher at my Bible Study Fellowship group told a story to illustrate real faith.
Her husband really wanted to make a canoe out of a hollowed out tree. He worked and worked, shaping it, scraping it, and cleaning it out until just the bark of the tree remained. It was like the skin of the tree had been made into a canoe.
He was so proud of his work and wanted her to take a ride in it. She stood back to survey his handiwork. For one thing, she could see daylight through it. Not a good sign. Also, the man who had made the canoe, her husband, had very little experience in making sea worthy vessels.
In turn, she had no faith in the canoe. She ultimately decided to stay on dry ground. Needless to say, the canoe did not float.
It’s like faith. In order to have a strong faith, or as the Bible defines faith, “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see,” (Heb. 11:1, NIV) we must put it to the test, just like my BSF leader did.
First of all, do we have proof or confidence in what we believe? Let’s see about that. We have the Bible, the written word of God, as our evidence. In the Old Testament, there are over 100 predictions about Jesus. (Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy). And guess what? Every single one of them actually happened, just as the OT predicted.
God keeps His word. He reached through history, coordinating prophecies written hundreds of years in advance, and kept every word He promised. For example, in Micah 5:2, it was written that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. This prophecy was written 700 years before Jesus was born. What attention to detail! What amazing planning and coordinating!
It’s mind-blowing to think of all the details God lined up perfectly just to perfectly fulfill His words about Jesus.
In shorts friends, we can have perfect confidence in the words of our God. If He can keep such intricate promises over the span of hundreds of years, His words are trustworthy.
Our next test is to look at the person behind the promises. Can we have confidence in God? Most Christians have no problem admitting and believing that God is love, right? It’s like the main slogan for the Christian team, right? (And it’s a good one, I’m not trying to be sarcastic.) 1 John 4:16 says, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
That’s wonderful! And there are so many verses about God’s love, but a lot of them link God’s love to another word. Can you guess it? It’s faithful. Many Psalms describe God’s love as faithful or never-failing.
God’s love can only be never-failing because He is faithful. He will keep on loving us because He said so. He will love us unconditionally because He is faithful.
There is a verse I always come back to when I doubt God. I love it because it is so black and white. 2 Timothy 2:13: “If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is”(NLT).
See why I love it? The faithfulness of God is part of His character, just like His love and His goodness. Even when we doubt, He never does. He is faithful because that is who He is. That’s it. End of discussion.
With such compelling evidence for our faith in God, why is it something we struggle with?
For me, I think it is because for faith to work, it requires action. In our comfort zones, it’s easy to have faith. Life just cruises along. It’s like only driving 30 in town though. It’s easy, but let’s face it, it’s not that exciting. And guess what else? Nothing grows in the comfort zone.
The same BSF leader always says, “Faith is a muscle. It must be exercised in order to grow.” And isn’t that so true? If we want our faith to grow stronger, we must give it a workout! We must put it to the test.
That’s hard and uncomfortable, trust me, I know. But if we look at our God and His amazing track record, we can trust Him to help us grow our faith. We can have confidence in the unseen, because we can trust the one who sees it all.