What is the faith we live by?
As Christians we are told in Hebrews 11 v 1-2 the following:
1)Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2) This is what the ancients were commended for.
There then follows a long list of ‘the ancients’, the people of God in the old testament who are commended for living by this faith.
Chapter 12 of the book of Hebrews starts with:
1) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2) fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3) Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
So, faith helps us, like the ancients, to run the race marked out for us. How is your race? What are you running against? Sin, sickness, trouble, conflict, poverty? Consider the things in your life right now, and the many hurdles you have had to jump, the times when you fell, got up and kept on running? Why do you persevere with the race you have been given to run? Do you look and say I’d rather do the 100 meter sprint than this marathon?' Or maybe just a gentle park run instead of the mountainous terrain you find yourself on.
Well...consider Him. He who was spat on, who was flogged, who endured the cross v3 so that you would not grow weary and lose heart.
Christian, what heights have you been given. We no longer have to battle through life trying to make sense of all our trials, Jesus will make, has made, faith perfect.
Do you have a heavenly perspective on your trials...? Are you looking at Jesus? Elsewhere we read from the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor 1 when he speaks of the many trials he had been through of how he ran his race:
9) Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10) He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11) as you help us by your prayers.
You see, our wonderful God is in the business of saving his people, the people who have set their hope on Him. What a tragedy that some only hope for better weather, or a ‘happy new year’, or their football team to win a major trophy. What sad and hopeless hopes, no lasting joy, not like Jesus’s joy to have a people, a bride for His Kingdom.
So, what joy does your faith bring you today as you run the race marked out for you? From my own experience, like Paul, as I run the race mapped out for me, by God’s grace, I remember this acronym for the word Faith:
Forsaking All I Trust Him.
I trust Him to deliver me again and again, and each time faith grows stronger and I grow less weary and my heart is strengthened towards my Saviour...and as Paul says, we don’t run the race on our own, we need the prayers of our God given family to help us because we are all running towards the same goal...to be made perfect. Heb 11v40.
Why can we have this assurance about what we do not see? Because as we read in Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
We often speak about ‘our faith’, or ‘my faith’, but my faith will fail me for it isn’t built on the right foundation...I need God’s faith. This is the Faith that Jesus had, that took Him to Calvary, through the garden of Gethsemane, through the spitting, and pain and shame of the cross, and on up into Glory. You cannot get this faith from within yourself, Jesus put His faith in God to raise Him from the dead, as we read in Romans 6:10-11. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Come to the cross, seek forgiveness for your guilt before a holy God and receive His free gift of faith and He will keep you in the race, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil 3.13-14).
What is our prize? Jesus, the bridegroom, the lover of our soul.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:12-13