Every Christian knows that God desires faith from His people. Hebrews 11:6 says that faith is necessary to please God. On six occasions the Scriptures say that Jesus commended the faith of those who came to Him in need by saying “Your faith has healed you . . .” and in the case of the woman who anointed His feet, Jesus told her “Your faith has saved you . . .” He confronted the disciples for their lack of faith and commended the Roman centurion’s faith. In fact, it seemed the Gentiles (those who were not Jews) were cited more often for their faith than His own followers were. What does it mean to have “great faith”? And how do we come to that kind of faith?
First, let me note that we are not talking about saving faith – the faith that constitutes belief in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross to save us from our sins. Saving faith recognizes our need to be cleansed of our sin and our sinful nature and turn to Jesus as the only way to be made right before God. That faith is essential before any other faith can be enacted. If you do not have a saving faith in Jesus Christ, I invite you to read my devotional Please Forgive Me and learn how you can put your faith in Him and be saved. And if you do, please let me know so that I can rejoice with you!
By definition the faith we are looking at, in the Greek has a very explicit meaning: the word pistis means “a belief or trust, with the implication that actions based on the trust may follow” (emphasis added). Faith, as Jesus and the other New Testament writers used the word, is not simply sitting around thinking theological, ethereal thoughts about God. This faith is down to earth, practical for everyday life – and powerful for the not-so-everyday stuff we face. Faith did not appear with the coming of Jesus, it is as old as – well Noah. Noah obeyed God’s command to build an Ark despite the fact that rain had never fallen on the earth up to that point. God said “it is going to rain,” and it was settled for Noah, he went to work building the boat that would save the remnant of God’s creation. Another great example of faith is Abraham, who believed God would fulfill His promises and was rewarded with a son – a son whom Abraham was prepared to sacrifice to the Lord as a demonstration of His faith and trust in God. Again Abraham’s faith was rewarded and he came to call God Jehovah Jireh – the Lord my Provider (Genesis 22:1-18). Faith and actions go hand-in-hand, which is why James declared “I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18). Faith, as the Bible expresses it, is lived out by actions that prove our firm conviction that God can and will do what He promises to do. This kind of faith is tested and proven in the fires of life.
Which is why I am writing this post today. God is putting my faith to the test in a huge way. My husband’s employer is transferring our family to another state. This a location we have always wanted to live in and it is a step-up in his career. The job is a tremendous opportunity for him and will be a blessing to our whole family. I say the employer is behind the transfer, but I have no doubt that God is the orchestrator of this transition. We were not looking to make a move, the Lord just brought this to us and set it in place in four days. To say we are excited is an understatement. To say I am overwhelmed is another understatement. There is so much to do and such a short time in which to do it. The packing isn’t the concern for me, I’m a military brat and I learned from my mom how to pack up my whole life and relocate on a moment’s notice. What has my stomach tied up in knots is finding – and financing – a place to live. You see, we have been a “one-paycheck-family” for more than a year as I’ve pursued a seminary degree (oh yes – I have to keep my school work up while all this goes on!), and our savings is non-existent. My husband and I have arranged to go to our new town five days from now to find a place to live and I have been scrambling this week trying to find the money we will need for this move, for deposits and moving trucks and so on. It’s not coming. And yes, before you ask, I have been praying diligently.
So here is where my faith and my life come to a collision point. If I believe God has put this into place – and I do – do I have faith that He will provide and lead us to a place to live as well? Or is His part done – He has arranged the transfer – and we are left on our own to figure out the rest? The bottom line: Do I believe God is completely faithful when He promises “Your heavenly Father knows that you need [all these things]. But seek first His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:32-34). Do I trust Him when He says “My daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask.” (Ruth 3:11)? Do I go to our new town to look for a place to live with no money in hand and no clue how or when it will come? This is the real stuff of life. Is my faith great enough to meet the challenge? What does Jesus say? “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20). Do I even have a mustard seed of faith?
So – I’m letting you bear witness to what can happen when we have even a little bit of faith in a faithful God. With shaking hands I am declaring that we will go to look for this place – a place I am confident God has already picked out for us – whether I have money in hand or am as empty-handed as I am today. I’m going to believe God is Jehovah Jireh – the Lord my Provider and that He will be faithful to me just as He was faithful to Abraham. I’ll report back to you in a few days. The truth is, it’s not my faith that matters here, it is God’s faithfulness – and of that I am rock-solid sure.
Holy Father – I’m counting on You. You have never let me down before and don’t expect you will now. Lead us and provide for us as only You can Lord, and I’ll shout Your faithfulness from the rooftops. Amen.