Faith is a tough topic to talk about, at least if you take it from the theory to the practical. For some people faith means their brand of religion, while others think it has to do with believing in God, yet the devil also believes in God. (See James 2:19)
Faith puts options before you several times a day when you are faced with a choice whether to put our trust in God, or follow your instincts. And the more you mature spiritually, the tougher those choices become.
When life is smooth, and all is well, faith has but a small role to play. It is when you are faced with real danger that the power of true faith in God is revealed. When you stand with your back against a wall and there is no way out, your trust in God’s love and ability to save you, is put to the test. Faith’s greatest glory is seen in the day of adversity.
When dark clouds gather and you are faced with a tough decision, there will often be an easy way out of it. A compromise, breaking of a principle, yielding to the flesh, or following man’s wisdom can ease the pressure and bring relief. Modern life has done much to make life as easy as possible, but with all that is available, it left us with a weakness in our faith walk.
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Proverbs 24:10
Tough times are opportunities to take a stand and strengthen your faith. This is what Abraham, our father in the faith, did when he had to make some tough decisions. When God promised him a son with a barren wife in his old age, he had the choice to either believe it was too late and therefore impossible, or believe the absurd promise. As time went by and he became older, the possibility of that promise diminished. But he chose to believe God against all evidence to the contrary.
He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. Romans 4:20-21
While circumstances weighed down on him, Abraham chose to strengthen his faith in God’s ability to fulfill His promise. He already knew that it was humanly impossible for him to have a son with Sarah at that age, and that only God could make it happen. This is the point where faith in God has its greatest work.
This is the faith that God is developing in us as His children, and He takes each of us down a road of hard choices where we can grow unwavering faith in Him.
The apostle Paul and Daniel had their moments when they faced lions. Peter and John had to choose between the threats of the authorities or the call of the Lord. Joseph had a decision to make when his brothers threw him in a pit and left him for dead. Moses had to decide between life in Pharaoh’s palace, or return to his enslaved people and be their leader. Noah’s choice was between acceptance in a godless society, or be a fool that built an ark to protect him from a catastrophe that no one ever heard of. Joshua took a mountain inhabited by giants at the age of 85, because he believed God’s promise to him.
The line between faith and foolishness is very thin. A step of faith in adverse circumstances will always be criticized, even by fellow believers who stand on a lower rung of faith, and those who have become complacent as cultural Christians.
As happened with so many words in our day, the meaning of the word faith underwent a major change. Yet, the Bible teaches a faith in God that sees what the natural eye cannot see, a faith that looks beyond visible circumstances and the wisdom of carnal men, and sees God’s provision. This is the kind of faith that the world is looking for; something that works in the lives of ordinary people that they know and interact with.
If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5
Countless books have been written on faith. Religion glows when faith is mentioned. Definitions abound. Teachers of the faith can talk about it without end, but true faith can only be known where a stand is taken when faced with the impossible. The battle is won where others don’t see, when you go against the counsel of the wise because you know that you know God’s love will not fail you, and that you have nothing to hold on to, and nobody to look to, but Him.
Once the war is won, you don’t see yourself as an expert on the matter of faith; you don’t go around talking about your faith – you talk about Him and His unfailing love and endless ability. Unwavering faith never attracts attention to self, but instead gives glory to God only, as Abraham also did.
As the world descends into darkness, the time is ripe for men and women of proven faith to rise up. The world in its despair is looking for faith that passed some tests, because the image of God has been so distorted that they find it hard to put their trust in Him. The challenge is ours, but so is His strength.
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5