Are you settled in to the New Year yet? No, me either. With the new year comes expectations of better things. So far it looks like the events around us are indicating the ride might not be coming to an end quite yet. Even in the midst of uncertainty we can have faith in God and His plan. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
As we have been welcoming in the New Year at Christian Life Chapel, we have begun a discussion of Faith and some of the unique characteristics it has. Faith is an interesting endeavor; when we step out on faith what gives us the comfort and security we need to forge ahead? Join me as we slow down a little during these winter weeks and spend some time in God’s Word.
Have you ever considered how much faith it takes to get into our car and drive? We need some degree of confidence that the car is capable of driving and is safe to operate. We need the assurance that we are capable of driving it. We also need some degree of faith that everyone else on the road is capable. That isn’t always the case. I remember a few months back watching a car cross the centerline a couple cars ahead of me and hit another car head on. The driver that was hit had faith that the oncoming car would stay in its own lane. I am sure it will be sometime before that driver puts his faith in the oncoming cars.
What happens when the faith we put into others fails? We are more cautious in trusting them the next time. When they fail over and over, we conclude they are not trustworthy. The opposite is also true. When we have faith in someone or something and the results confirm our faith was well placed, we gain confidence and our level of trust increases.
What is faith? Well Scripture reveals this definition;
Hebrews 11:1; Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Assurance and conviction are two words that complement one another, when we are sure, we move ahead with conviction, confident that we are moving in the right direction.
Now this doesn’t mean some of us move forward without being sure, we know the type; they go off with half the story, thinking they know the conclusion. Most times it comes back that they didn’t know the whole story and therefore they did some things that need to be corrected. That happens to all of us, no matter how much we try.
Walking in faith with God has its benefits. God knows what will happen tomorrow. God has the power and authority to change things. God loves us and has a plan for each of us to have hope and a future, not to be miserable and fail. If that is true, why would we move forward without first asking God for direction?
There are a few things that come to mind; pride, arrogance, ignorance, envy, rage, misunderstanding, all of these contribute to our downfall. These are the things that get in the way of true faith. These are the things that each of us battle with in our hearts and minds. They try to convince us that we know better than God and following Him means we are weak and need help. That is not true.
Do you remember that young man who faced the giant? Do you remember his answer when he took off the armor they had dressed him with for battle? He wasn’t used to it and it would be an obstacle, not a help. He claimed faith in God and His presence would go with him onto the battlefield to fight. The story is recorded for us in Scripture in Samuel 17.
Now David was a shepherd boy and faced many dangers to protect the sheep. He reasoned that if God delivered him there, he would deliver him in battle with the giant.
Samuel 17:37; The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”
Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!”
As David went out to face the giant and in response to the giant’s jeers, he replied;
Samuel 17:45-46; David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!
Samuel 17:48-51; As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.
So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head.
David stepped out on the battlefield with his faith in the Lord God of Israel. He faced the giant and defeated him. He wasn’t equipped with the armament or weapons one might go into battle with but he knew that God would be with him as he faced his enemy.
Faith in God will defeat the giants in our lives that keep us bound up, battling every day for survival. Walking with God in faith gives us the assurance and confidence that with God by our side we can defeat the obstacles that are before us. Whether it looks like we have the right equipment or not.
Now there is a qualification, we don’t get to decide the path we take. God has it worked out and planned for us. We need to seek him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. When we do, He will be found, He will reveal the steps to take and His plan will guide us down the road of life.
Here are a few scriptures that help reinforce this for us;
Jerimiah 29:11-13; For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Proverbs 3:5-6; Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
I invite you to join me on this journey as we learn how to engage with God and allow him to guide and direct our path.