Summary: Lessons for living by faith
Faith – The True Source of Our Confidence
Lessons for Living by Faith
There are two lessons and one corollary I want you to take away, as you live by faith:
1) Living by faith means trusting in nothing in this world
Let’s consider some of the things of this world that we are tempted to trust:
1 Timothy 6:17 reads:
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
The point is not: “Don’t plan! Don’t make good investments!” Rather, the point is, What do we say to God? Do we say, “Oh, Lord, I’ve worked hard to gain some confidence – please, please, please don’t ask me to give it up!” If we say that, we’ve made money our confidence, and we are like the proud one – even if we made the money honestly. By grasping for it, holding on to it tightly, treating it as if we “earned” it by our own power and strength, we ourselves are sinning, are committing evil.
What can we say instead? “Lord, you have blessed me beyond what I could have imagined, and far more than I deserve! You are the source of all that I have. Show me how I can best use these resources for your glory!”
Can you say that to God?
In Luke 12 Jesus tells of a rich fool who has an abundant harvest. He says to himself,
19 ’And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."’ 20 "But God said to him, ’You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’
We frequently think of this parable as a story about not putting our trust in money. That is certainly one of the points, but Jesus also is emphasizing that we have no control over our health. As most of us here this morning know from personal experience, our health can change suddenly and seriously. Yet, although we all would acknowledge this intellectually, we most often act as if our health were guaranteed indefinitely. This carries over to the next point:
We cannot trust in others – a husband, a wife, our children, our parents, our friends. For they may die at any moment, or their faithfulness might wane. Proverbs 25:19 says,
Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.
If you have a knee that buckles occasionally, you don’t try to walk across a narrow bridge over a raging river. Others are like that buckling knee – even the best person cannot be the source of true confidence.
2) Living by faith means finding confidence in God alone.
Throughout the Bible, hundreds and hundreds of times, God tells us to trust in Him and in nothing else. He reveals Himself to us as our Rock, our Fortress, our Shield, our Shade, our Helper, our Shepherd; He shows that He is all-loving and all-powerful.
Our family recently memorized Psalm 121, which presents God as our confidence in a strikingly complete way:
1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. 8 The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever.
The Psalmist looks around in fear at the surrounding mountains; will his enemies suddenly appear in force, descend upon him and destroy his loved ones? Where can he turn for help? His helper is Yahweh, the very one who made those mountains! Surely He is more powerful than any creature He made!
Furthermore, not only will He guard us from the terrors of complete destruction, He even cares about the minor slips of our life – He will guard all the details, so that we don’t slip. Even if we put our foot in the wrong place, God is there, superintending us.
Corollary: With God as our confidence, we are free to live lives of faith – that is, lives of radical obedience as we follow Him.