Without Faith it is Impossible to Please God

Understanding biblical faith is a pretty important topic for a follower of Christ. According to Hebrews 11:1, 6; without faith, defined as being sure of what we hoped for, and certain of what we cannot see, it is impossible to please God.

What we believe is proven not only by what we say, but more importantly, by what we do. Our choices, behaviors, and attitudes verbalize our faith. I do not mean “verbalize” as in speaking, but rather turning our faith from a noun-type faith into a verb-type faith.

Turning our noun-faith into a verb-faith sends a message of surrender to God. Turning our noun-faith into a verb-faith sends a message encouragement to other people. Turning our noun-faith into a verb-faith even sends a message of hope to our own hearts. Turning our noun-faith into a verb-faith even sends a message of defeat to our giant. The bottom line is that we will never rise to stay above our verbalized faith.

Life’s challenges come in all shapes and sizes, and God is always faithful to provide the faith to meet every challenge we face. At the same time, Satan will provide the excuse to forfeit every challenge. We get to choose our response to the challenge before us; do we respond with the faith God has provided or with the excuse Satan has provided.

Embracing the challenge before us means we choose to overcome our fear and excuses through faith and action. The challenge exists whether we embrace it or not. Not embracing the challenge through faith and action is like being in denial, hoping it “just goes away”.

Many time challenges stretch us, and force us to change or adapt ourselves to meet that challenge. There are negative-type challenges; relationship challenges, personal financial issues challenges, economic or employment challenges, health challenges, schedule challenges, spiritual challenges, and so on.

Those negative challenges intimated us and make us feel insecure or unsure of our future. Sometimes we just want to “stick our head in the sand” and “let it all blow over”. But the avoidance of life’s challenges is not a helpful strategy. Avoiding challenges tends to lead to negative outcomes too.

A better strategy is; take personal responsibility for the challenge before you, and your role in addressing that challenge head on. Then trust God, and choose obedience every time. The things that overwhelm us never intimidate God. He always has a plan; a plan to give us hope and a future, a plan to redeem us, to restore us, to heal us, and to reconcile us.

God always has a plan because He loves and values you. Many people feel unloved, unappreciated, and unvalued. Many of those who read this article, are feeling that way right now. Yes, you have been hurt, neglected, un-affirmed, etc, but God really does love you and value you; He never leaves you, or forsakes you, or fails you. Never. He is an amazing Dad filled with unconditional love for you.

What Message Does Your Faith Send?

There is an inseparable link between Christ-following and faith. According to Hebrews 11:1, 6; without faith, defined as being sure of what we hoped for, and certain of what we cannot see, it is impossible to please God. Therefore, understanding biblical faith is a pretty important topic for a follower of Christ.

What we believe is proven not only by what we say, but more importantly, by what we do. Our choices, behaviors, and attitudes verbalize our faith. I do not mean “verbalize” as in speaking, but rather turning our faith from a noun-type faith into a verb-type faith.

Here is a reality; verbalized faith can be either positive or negative. For many people who claim to know Christ as their personal Savior, the faith they choose to put into action is actually the lack of faith. They choose fear and comfort over trust and surrender. For the purpose of this article, I am only talking about verbalizing a positive faith that demonstrates obedience, love, and surrender.

Turning our noun-faith into a verb-faith sends a message to God. To God, it says we are sincere. It says we are willing to demonstrate our love for him by our obedience to him. It sends a message to God that says, “you can depend on me” to follow-through with the task you have assigned me. It says I want to partner with you to accomplish the plans you have for my life.

Turning our noun-faith into a verb-faith sends a message encouragement to other people. People are watching you. When you rise above conforming to the culture around you and chase after the heart of God, it will always encourage true followers of Christ. As an aside, it will also irritate religious people… I’m just saying.

Turning our noun-faith into a verb-faith even sends a message of hope to our own hearts. Making a choice to chase after the heart of God, even when you don’t feel like it, will transform your heart, and therefore, transform you. Don’t wait to you “feel like it”. Even when you don’t feel like it, making a choice to turn your noun-faith into a verbalize faith will result in renewing your hope and spiritual energy.

Turning our noun-faith into a verb-faith even sends a message of defeat to our giant. Choosing to override your fears and insecurity by demonstrating active obedience sends a message to the giant of your life that says, “I’m not stopping. I’m not giving up. I’m not going to be intimidated. I may fail, but I will get back up and keep coming.” Its just like the story of David and Goliath, David comes across the valley speaking to his giant. Our verbalized faith does the same thing.

The bottom line is that we will never rise to stay above our verbalized faith. As the saying goes, “whether you think you can or you can’t, either way, you are right”. You can experience warm fuzzy moments with God, but you will never be able to maintain a level of faith higher than the faith you are willing to prove through follow-through obedience. Turning your noun-faith into a verb-faith will release the power of God

Our Lack of Faith Frustrates Jesus

Faith and Christ-following are inseparably linked. My post from yesterday began with two classic verses on faith from Hebrews: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6), and, “Faith is being sure of what we hoped for, and certain of what we cannot see” (Heb 11:1). Then I asked a simple, yet troubling question; “Does your level of faith match that expectation?”

The high points from yesterday’s article are; biblical faith will stretch us out of our comfort zone, which is why we resist it so often. The average church-attender has grieved (Eph 4:30) and quenched (1 Thess 5:19) the Holy Spirit so often that they cannot remember the last time they experienced the flow of the Holy Spirit in and through them. Having sincere faith does not make faith real. Having great faith does not mean everything happens on our perceived timetable. Faith is messy

Our lack of faith frustrates Jesus. In Matthew 17 we find a story of a Dad bringing his son to Jesus for healing because the disciples could not help the son. The Dad says, “I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him” (Matt 17:16). Then from Jesus comes a response out of deep frustration; “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you?” How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” (Matt 17:17)

Later the disciples asked Jesus, “Why couldn’t we heal the boy?” (Matt 17:19) Jesus responded with “Because of your lack of faith.” (Matt 17:20) Wow! What an amazing exchange… makes you wonder what Jesus would say to our churches and individual Christ-followers today.

Great faith isn’t so much about being great in quantity, as it is about quality. Jesus went on to say, “If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain. ‘move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 17:20-21) The phrase “of a mustard seed” indicates small, but quality verses large, but weak.

Jesus’s frustration was because he knew that our absence of faith forfeits the power of God flowing in and through us, which is exactly what happened in the story I am referencing from Matthew 17. The disciples were unable to heal the boy due to their lack of faith. I wonder what have we have been unable to do due to our lack of faith?

Biblical faith begins and ends with God. God does not need you and I to make up stuff for Him to do. Biblical faith is us choosing to believe in Him and what He wants to accomplish, then aligning our hearts, minds, and actions to walk in agreement with His purposes and plans. Biblical faith is always in agreement with God. No word from God is without power… but neither does He need us to “speak” for Him.

The average christian has traded a messy, uncomfortable, stretching faith, for a tame, comfortable, set of facts. But they have also traded off the very power that God promised to transform their lives, their churches, and their communities. But God has a better way. He wants us to choose to receive His gift of faith though the Holy Spirit so He can transform us, then use us as His agents of hope and restoration.

Faith is Messy

“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6). Obviously, from God’s perspective, faith, defined as, “being sure of what we hoped for, and certain of what we cannot see” (Heb 11:1) is a requirement to please God. Does your level of faith match that expectation?

There is what I can noun faith; believing in God, heaven, hell, Jesus’ resurrection, etc. Noun faith simply believes in the facts. But then there is a verb type of faith or an operational faith. Operational faith is a spiritual gift that the Holy Spirit gives you to accomplish the work God ha assigned you (1 Cor 12:7-11). But it is also a choice on our part.

We can choice to accept or reject that gift of faith. Operational or verb faith is exactly that; its about doing something or allowing God to do something in and through us. Operational faith will stretch us out of our comfort zone, which is why we resist it so often. The average church-attender has grieved (Eph 4:30) and quenched (1 Thess 5:19) the Holy Spirit so often that they cannot remember the last time they experienced the flow of the Holy Spirit in and through them.

Having sincere faith does not make faith real. Real, authentic, biblical faith is more than being assured of the facts and being assured you will spend eternity in heaven. The average church is in a state of decline or plateau because simply there is a lack of faith and follow-through. There are lots of “sincere” believers, but most are not willing to step out of their comfort zones and chase after the heart of God.

Having great faith does not mean everything happens on our perceived timetable. We can chase after God, but it is so easy to assume we know the plan or the timetable. The process or the journey is more important to God than the outcome or result we are after. We think result. God thinks journey. The end result alone tends to leave us unchanged, and even creates a pressure to perform to try to earn God’s approval. The journey transforms us into the person God wants us to be.

Faith is messy. Proverbs 14:4 is an interesting verse; “Where there are no oxen, the stable will be empty and clean, but neither will there be the abundant harvest that comes from the working strength of the ox”. Having a sincere noun type faith is clean, and it does not stretch you or make you feel uncomfortable, but neither will there be the powerful working of the Holy Spirit that brings an abundant harvest.

The average christian has traded a messy, uncomfortable, stretching faith, for a tame, comfortable, set of facts. But they have also traded off the very power that God promised to transform their lives, their churches, and their communities. But God has a better way. He wants us to choose to receive His gift of faith though the Holy Spirit so He can transform us, then use us as His agents of hope and restoration.

Right now, God knows you; where you are, your circumstances, your victories, your failures, etc. He loves you, and wants to empower you to walk the journey you are currently on in the power of the Holy Spirit. He really can transform you. Are you feeling unsettled, or empty, or like there just has to be more? I’ve been there too. There are many distractions and short-term warm-fuzzies, but there is only one lasting path of hope.

 

Perseverance is the Key to Faith

I have been writing about the inseparable link between Christ-following and faith. According to Hebrews 11:1, 6; without faith, defined as being sure of what we hoped for, and certain of what we cannot see, it is impossible to please God. Therefore, understanding biblical faith is a pretty important topic for a follow of Christ.

Previously I wrote; “Biblical faith is messy because it stretches us out of our comfort zone, which is why we resist it so often. The average church-attender has grieved (Eph 4:30) and quenched (1 Thess 5:19) the Holy Spirit so often that they cannot remember the last time they experienced the flow of the Holy Spirit in and through them.”

“Our lack of faith frustrates Jesus (Matt 17:17-20) Great faith isn’t so much about being great in quantity, as it is about quality. Biblical faith begins and ends with God. Biblical faith is always in agreement with God. No word from God is without power. The average Christian has traded a messy, uncomfortable, stretching faith, for a tame, comfortable, set of facts.”

Perseverance is a key component to the spiritual development process; “Perseverance must finish its work so we become mature, complete, and lack nothing” (James 1:2-4). A call to perseverance is really a call to faith. The process of perseverance requires that we “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful ((Heb 10:19-25).

There are three basic stages of faith; first, is the “See It” stage. At the “See It” stage, we see the opportunity of faith. Then there is the “Say It” stage.   At the “Say It” stage, we begin to verbalize our faith that the opportunity we are seeing might become reality. The finally, there is the “Seize It” stage. In the “Seize It” stage, we choose the actions, attitude, and mindset required to make the opportunity truly become reality.

Before we can seize the result of faith we must be able to walk the journey of faith by recognizing and speaking about the opportunity before us. Most people, probably everyone even, can see the opportunity before them if they would just choose to walk in faith. Many of us will even so as far as allowing ourselves to talk about what we believe God is going to do. But the journey of faith tends to breakdown in the “seize it” stage due our lack of follow-through.

God is prepared to do much more than you currently experience if you will just choose to consistently walk out your journey of faith with Him. There is no way around it; all three stages (see it, say it, seize it) are requirements to experience the flow of the Holy Spirit’s power in and through you. If you will choose to follow-through, even when it is tough, God will do more than you can ever imagine!

Since we “cannot please God without faith (Heb 11:1), it becomes a very critical step in our spiritual development process. Faith is the fuel that powers the immeasurably more of God (Eph 3:20). As you can hopefully see, it is imperative that we get the faith issue right. Others are watching, but more importantly, God is watching.

The Three Root System of Faith

Faith is a very critical step in our spiritual development process. Faith is biblically defined as “being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see” (Heb 11:1). Scripture even pushes a little further a few verses later, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6). Faith, or the lack of it, is serious business to God.

Faith is also a gift of the Holy Spirit (Rom 12:6-8, 1 Cor 12:7-11, Phil 2:13) that fuelsthe immeasurably more power of God (Eph 3:20). Faith releases the power of God, just as the absence of faith forfeits the power of God. Let me repeat myself, “Faith, or the lack of it, is serious business with God”.

Faith grows out of three basic root systems. First, there are the “figurers”; they say, “I think”. Their faith tends to be based in, and limited by logic, experiences, and opinions, which sounds right, until you realize that God loves to do the impossible and the unlikely, so He alone gets the glory.

Since our ways and thoughts are not the same as God’s, people in the thinkers group, tend to be misled by doubt and fearful thinking. The problem with basing your faith on your thinking is that your thinking is flawed.

Second, there are the “feelers”; they say, “I feel”. Their faith tends to be based in, and limited by their own emotional roller coaster. If they feel positive, then all is right with the world, if they feel down, then all is wrong with the world.

Faith should not be based on our emotions. Emotions waver, but biblical faith is stable, steady, and unwavering. People who tend to base their faith on their feelings tend to be misled by those very same fickle emotions.

Then there are the “believers”; they say, “I believe God”. Believing God is not based on logic, or emotions. It is not based on our opinions, or our changing feelings. Faith that is rooted in believing God is based on the unchanging, unwavering, nature and character of God.

Our thinking will deceive us. Our emotions will deceive us. But faith that is rooted in the nature and character of God is stable and dependable. Hebrews 10:23 says it this way, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful.”

Faith is God’s invitation to partner with Him. It is a tremendous gift (1 Cor 12:9). What we believe is proven not by what we say, but more so, by what we do. Biblical faith is active and powerful. Active faith releases the power of God, just as the absence of faith forfeits the power of God. Think that last sentence through for a few minutes today, there is tremendous truth contained in those eighteen words.