We live at a time when, in my opinion, the majority of the followers have no idea what faith is. We talk about it, claim it, write about it, but seldom walk in it.The sad thing is that we think we are living by faith. Perhaps it was due to such times ahead that Jesus posed the question. "However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) One of Jesus' more common phrases was "O you of little faith". The moments Jesus would get excited were the moments when people showed such great faith, such as with the Centurion, but most of the time these were people outside of the Jewish religion. I wonder 2000 years later if we have become like the Jews, satisfied with our traditions but empty of faith? The writer of Hebrews stated:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (Hebrews 11:1-2)
Hope in this context is not used in our modern meaning of "to wish for" but instead the ancient sense of the word, "to trust, to have confidence in". Faith is being sure of who we trust in, that we are confident in the promises of Jesus. It is the attitude that because Jesus said it, it is. Even in the Church today we live by the axiom "seeing is believing". We have turned our "certain of what we do not see" into "let me see the miracles and I will believe". Either that or we have no expectations of fulfilled promises, we are just happy to have fellowship with "good living" people. But here is the kicker:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Obviously the first part of this definition is a given or there is no sense even having this conversation. The second part is not all that sure because God's rewards are not always something that is given in hand immediately. In our current age this is a difficult thing to understand. At one time a person would have to work for years to save up for a car or a house. Women use to start setting aside things for their future home when they were still young girls. For the last 20 years or so we have moved into a society that demands or expects instant gratification. How does this translate to a faith like Abraham's, who was given a promise but was only permitted to see the seed of it?
There is also the other part of faith where we are told to act on the instructions of God with no proof. This was the faith of Noah. He trusted what God told him was going to happen without demanding any proof. There were no examples from the past for him to trust; there was only God's word. Noah trusted and just like what would happen later with Abraham, that trust was credited to him as righteousness; he had a right, correct, proper relationship with God. Is that not what we are all seeking, a proper relationship with God? I believe it is what we all desire, long for, try to achieve, an intimate relationship with our Creator; one that is vibrant and real. Well, it won't happen without a real faith, not the plastic kind we peddle today. Consider this:
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Where we consider our home to be says a lot about who we consider ourselves to be. It shapes our attitude toward this place and our relationship with God. Understanding that our home is with Jesus allows us to live the faith that Jesus expects from us; a faith that is satisfied with seeing in this place the promises at a distance when we fall asleep knowing that we will wake up with them in hand. The fact is that our Father lavishes his children with blessings because we earnestly seek him. He delights in fellowship with us and in our obedience to him. What father does not feel blessed by the obedience of his children? Such obedience to our heavenly Father allows for his blessings to freely flow. Even if it is dark for a time and he seems to be at a distance, we have faith that he is actually close to us and the darkness will not last for long.
And without faith it is impossible to please God.