Summary: What does faith look like and why is it important?
It’s been said that, “God loves us as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way.” In so doing, God will call us to take new steps of faith in our walk with Christ.
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” - Colossians 2:6 (NASB)
How did we receive Christ as Savior and Lord? By faith.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith . . .” - Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)
How are we to walk in Him? By faith.
Last week, as we talked about how we need to live under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we looked at John 7:37-39, where Jesus described the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives as being like “rivers of living water.” The Holy Spirit will work in our lives to expand His influence in us; and often the way He works in our lives is to call us to take steps of faith. There are primarily two ways God’s Spirit calls us to take steps of faith:
A. We are called to meet a challenge; or
B. We are called to endure a trial.
Faith has been defined as Forsaking All, I Trust Him. Whether it is an occasion where we are called to meet a challenge or an occasion where we are called to endure a trial, God will use these occasions to call us to a place where we have to trust in Him if we are to meet that challenge or endure that trial.
The committed Christian understands that God will grow him by growing his faith; and that God will grow his faith through putting him in circumstances where he is “in over his head.”
“The believer should not shrink from situations, positions, or circumstances in which his faith may be tried, but he should cheerfully embrace them as opportunities to see the hand of God stretched out in help and deliverance. Thus his faith will be strengthened.” - George Muller
What we’re talking about today is exactly what Paul was speaking of in Romans 8:28-29:
“We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. These are the people God chose, because that was his plan. God knew them before he made the world. And he decided that they would be like his Son.” - Romans 8:28-29 (Easy to Read)
The committed Christian understands that God will work in his life through circumstances to stretch and shape his faith. Therefore, he has an attitude of faith in God regardless of what he may be facing in life, whether it is a challenge to meet or a trial to endure.
Joshua was called of God to meet a challenge. Specifically, it was the challenge of leading the children of Israel into the land of promise. From what the Lord says to him, we can learn some valuable lessons about faith.
1. The center of faith – v. 9a
The center of our faith is the Word of God.
“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” - Numbers 23:19 (NLT)
“Those who know God know that He is bound by his own promises and integrity, not by our wishes. Moreover, unlike us, God never finds himself in the uncomfortable situation of having made a promise He no longer wants to or is able to keep. God is never caught by surprise. God's promises are made in his infinite wisdom as part of His eternal plan and are backed by His matchless power. What God says, He does. God, because He is God, is a promise keeper.” - Scott Hafemann
2. The characteristics of faith – v. 9b
We see from what Joshua is told here that faith is characterized by . . .
A. Steadfast Obedience - “Be strong”
When one has an attitude of faith, it is revealed by their faithfulness.
B. Courageous Action - “Be courageous”
C. Confident Outlook - “do not be terrified”
“Faith is a refusal to panic.” - Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The reason for this is that fear and faith are opposites. To be fearful is to be faithless; but to be faithful is to be fearless.
D. Positive Perspective - “do not be discouraged”
Adoniram Judson, and his wife, Ann, were the first missionaries to the country of Burma. They went there in 1812. It was tough.
There was not one known Christian that land of millions. And there were no friends for them there, either.
A baby was born to alleviate their loneliness, but eight months later, Roger William Judson was buried under a mango tree.