Summary: You just can’t get by on borrowed faith. In order to please God we need a personal faith... but how do we attain that? The story of Naaman has some interesting insights.
OPEN: Two engineers applied for one job at a computer company. They had identical qualifications, so to determine which one to hire, the firm gave them a test. Each did well, except they both missed the same question.
The manager called the first candidate, explained the results of the test and then said, "I’m afraid we’re going to hire the other applicant."
"Why? We both got nine questions right," said the reject.
"Our choice isn’t based on the correct answers, but on the question you both missed."
"But if we both missed the same question, why would you choose him over me?"
"Well, in answer to question 5 on the test, the other guy put down ’I don’t know.’ You wrote: ’Neither do I.’"
APPLY: That 1st candidate didn’t have enough knowledge to answer the questions on the test and so he sought to get by - by relying on another man’s learning.
Sometimes you can get away with that.
Sometimes you can get by on someone else’s knowledge or experience.
But there are times when there is NO substitute for having personal knowledge of the things that are critical in your life… like your job for example.
Likewise, it’s hard to get very far in our Christianity if we don’t have a personal faith in a living caring God. We can only lean on someone else’s faith and experience in Christ for so long, and then it must be OUR faith that carries us from there. Because, you see – OUR faith is critical to our relationship with God.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists (an intellectual belief) and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Real faith, personal faith – goes beyond an intellectual belief that God exists.
ILLUS: For example:
When I say, “I believe in my wife,” I’m saying something different from “I believe that I HAVE a wife.”
When I say “I believe that I have a wife” – I can verify that. Diana was away to Florida this past week, and I could have proved I had a wife by simply getting on the phone and calling her.
But if I say “I believe in my wife” I am saying that I trust her. That she won’t hurt me. In fact, when I say I believe in my wife, I am saying that I would be willing to bet my life on her.”
And that’s pretty much what the author of Hebrews is trying to tell us about faith in God. If you look down thru the stories of the great heroes and heroines of the faith in Heb. 11 you’ll find people who “bet their lives” on God.
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8) He didn’t know where he was going, but he was willing to “bet his life” on God’s faithfulness.
“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen (Noah had never seen anything like the flood God spoke about, or the need for a boat the size he was required to build, but) in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” (Hebrews 11:7)
These men bet their lives on God. You could say – theirs was a “more than enough” kind of faith. A personal faith, a real faith.
That’s the kind of faith I want in my life!
But, how do I get that kind of faith? II King 5 tells us of the Spiritual journey of a man who started out with little or no faith and became a devout follower of God.
I. The 5th chapter of II Kings gives us the spiritual journey of a man named Naaman.
In his day Naaman was a success story. If he lived today, his fame would have been the equivalent of a sports star or a famous actor. He was a man who was going places. A leader of men, capable, well-liked.
But, Naaman had a problem… Naaman had come down with leprosy.
Now, if you had leprosy, they could heal could heal you with medicine. But back then, when you got leprosy… you had it till you died. And it wasn’t a pretty death.
Now, in Naaman’s household there was a slave girl who’d been taken captive as a young girl. Apparently, she liked Naaman (just like everyone else did) and she wanted to help. So she told her witnessed to Naaman’s wife – “you gotta go see my preacher – Elisha.” He could heal Naaman of his disease.
You see, this slave girl knew that God existed and she believed that if Naaman earnestly sought Him, God would heal him.