Friday, January 16, 2009

Living by Faith

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3 (NAS)
Faith in this verse comes from the Greek word "pistis" which, according to Thayer's and Smith's Bible Dictionary, means a "conviction of the truth of anything."

I find it interesting that so many people - including me at times - profess to live by faith yet our "faith" is more of a wish than a conviction of truth.

The difference in a wish and faith is found in Hebrews 11:13. "All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance...."

Have you seen what you profess to believe God will do?

When we pray, God reveals his promises. If I pray for a sick child or a difficult situation, I can expect God to show me what he will do. If God has not revealed the promise, I cannot claim it.

My daughter has a lot of wishful thinking. She will ask me for something knowing I rarely make any promises. My "we'll see" response is often interpreted as "yes". I like her positive thinking. However, it is not a promise. And, therefore, her accusation of "but you promised", is not based on truth.

We experience a similar disappointment with God. We ask God for something in prayer and assume that his statement "ask anything you wish" means we just have to ask and it will happen. We forget there is more to that promise.
Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Mark 11:24 (NAS)
The Greek for believe in this verse is "pisteuo". It comes from the word translated as "faith" in the Hebrew verse above. Both come from the primary verb "peitho" which means "to persuade."

When you ask in prayer, do you listen for God's response? Has he persuaded you to be convicted of a truth regarding your request? Has he shown you his promise so that you may welcome it from a distance?

We can only live by faith if we have seen in some form what we are living for. Atheist and agnostics want to see the promises up close. I know, I used to be agnostic. I wanted God to show me his promises on my terms and with my human ability to see.

Those who live by faith have seen God's promises through something greater than the created function of eyesight. That's why they have a hope that energizes them to have joy in the midst of struggles. Faith does not accept things as they are. Those who live by faith ask, knock, and seek. God responds by answering, opening the door, and showing what he is doing.

Others are persuaded of truth when those who have seen, live by faith. 

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the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

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