Summary: When we choose to trust God enough to walk by faith rather than by sight, we exercise our faith and its capacity grows. Our spiritual lives are strengthened and we can live life to its fullest.
All of us want to be remembered after we die, but I'm sure most of us would not like to be remembered like these people, who had these supposed real epitaphs on their tombstones:
1. Here lies Johnny Yeast. Pardon me for not rising.
2. Here lies Butch. We planted him raw. He was quick on the trigger, but slow on the draw.
3. The children of Israel wanted bread, and the Lord sent them manna. Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, and the Devil sent him Anna.
4. She always said her feet were killing her, but nobody believed her.
5. Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down. It was.
6. Here lies the body of our Anna. Done to death by a banana. It wasn't the fruit that laid her low, but the skin of the thing that made her go.
7. Here lies one Wood, enclosed in wood. One Wood within another. The outer wood is very good: We cannot praise the other.
Every single person we regard as "great" in the Bible was a man or woman of faith. That faith made a difference in the way they lived and responded to God. That's why we remember them.
First, we need to define exactly what faith is. According to the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews, faith is the assurance that something we want is going to happen even though we can't see it. When God makes a promise, he keeps it-unlike people such as politicians. We have to trust God for more than what our natural abilities can accomplish. We have to trust God with our future because we can't see the future-only God can.
We can determine if we are in or out of faith by asking these questions:
1. Am I doing what God told me to do?
2. Am I fulfilling the assignment God gave me for my life?
3. Am I living in obedience to His Word and to the revelation He has given to me?
4. Am I sticking with the plan Jesus asked me to execute?
Hebrews 11 is about men and women who lived in faith. They each received a word from God for their lives or for their generation. They held on to their mandate from God even though it was difficult to do. As a result, they changed their generations and pleased God.
Faith is conviction from evidence. It is simply believing in God's goodness and believing that he rewards the people who seek after him. Faith makes the invisible real. It makes something out of nothing. Faith allows us to be everything that God wants us to be, but we will never be the blessing God wants us to be unless we fulfill God's purpose for our lives. Faith is a gift from God. We can accept it or reject it. If we accept it, we will see things through the eyes of faith, especially when we read and study God's Word.
We can choose to trust in ourselves and in our own efforts in order to earn God's pleasure, or we can choose to trust in Christ and let him live his life through us to enable us to live a life that is pleasing to God. Abraham obeyed God by faith. He did not question God's orders. It was very difficult for him to leave his homeland because of the patriarchical culture. He had to leave his extended family. He had to let go of his "security blanket". I'm sure he felt a sense of anxiety, but his faith in God helped him to overcome his fears. We would be wise to remember that only faith in God can save us from our worries.
Abraham was rewarded for his faith by being made the father of the Jewish nation. God rewards faith. God blesses us and makes us a blessing, as the late Pastor Perry F. Rockwood would say every time he ended his radio broadcasts. Abraham set the gold standard for faithfulness, obedience and discipleship. Not everyone can reach that standard, but Abraham reminds us of what is possible.
When God speaks about blessing someone, it's a promise to intervene in that person's life in a powerful way. That blessing could be financial, family, emotional or spiritual in nature, but in order to receive that blessing, two conditions have to be met--- obedience and faith.
Abraham stepped out in faith to follow God, and he became identified with Christ. Everyone who follows Christ in faith also becomes identified with Christ. God's enemies become our enemies, and God's friends become our friends. When we trust God, we can truly walk with him in faith. If we have faith in God, we will do whatever he asks us to do. This can be hard to do. Most of us don't want to be told what to do. We want to be in charge of our own lives, instead of following the old advice to "let go and let God". In order for us to make it as Christians, we have to live life by faith in Christ in every area of our lives. God's dreams for us are worth giving up our lives for, but only if we believe in him in faith. God calls us to a faith that sets us free to be guided by him in our Christian walk of faith.