As I continue to look at my word for the year, faith, I’m seeking to dig deeper into the aspects of what faith really is. Hebrews 11:6 admonishes us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” This verse appears in a chapter where the author is speaking of the great heroes of the faith, those who demonstrated true, lasting faith in God. The Message translation includes verse 5 with 6. “By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. “They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him.” We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken “he pleased God.” It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.” Let’s combine this verse with Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” and 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.”
These verses show us that we need to believe that God is real and alive even though we cannot physically see Him. Our faith in His existence is pleasing to God. It means we realize as truth that we can seek know God and that He will reward our faith in Him. This concept of faith is huge. It establishes a foundation for our beliefs, trust, hope and assurances in God. It gives us reason to pursue a relationship with God through Jesus so that we can be the beneficiaries of a walk in life that pleases God. It means we do not need to physically see God to know He is real and to live a life filled with faith. We can know that our faith, belief in Him is going to be pleasing to God.
One other aspect of this faith that we need to consider is Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” This to me is one of God’s mysteries. He gives us faith, in Him, freely as a gift. We do not have to earn it or do anything but believe! How amazing this that!! God is gracious and loves us so much He gifts us with faith to believe. Paul expressed this thanks this way in 2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for his indescribablegift!” This gift is: grace, His unmerited favor, Jesus, who died to redeem us from our sin-filled state and faith and the ability to believe and put our trust in our unseen God. It is not just one gift but many made possible by Jesus.
Where do you put your faith today? Is it in the unseen, all-knowing Creator God or is it in the things of this world that you can see? If you do not believe, you can in sincerity ask God for the faith to believe and He will give it to you! Faith is a gift, a precious gift, from God. Do you spend time seeking to know God more fully? Do you look into His Word daily for guidance? Do you spend time talking and communing with God in prayer? All of these are an outgrowth of believing in Him. Will you seek Him today in faith? Thereby, pleasing God with your heart-filled actions and attitude.
What is your response when someone gives you a gift? Usually people say Thank you. Have you said Thank you to Jesus for the most precious of gift He and the Father have given you? FaithHebrews 11:1 describes faith this way, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is knowing God exists and has the world now and in the future in His hands. It is the knowing in our heart, mind and soul that God is who He says He is and that He exists now and forever.
Here are some scriptures about faith to meditate on. Let them create in you greater thankfulness. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” Know that God desires all to come to Him in faith and He is waiting for those who still do not believe, or have faith in Him, to come. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
How did you come to faith in Jesus? How do you know for sure that He died for your sins, rose from the dead and now has His Holy Spirit indwelling you? Here is the truth, plain and simple, faith is a gift from God. We can’t make ourselves believe, work or learn to believe, nor can we ask someone else to give us their faith. Each person comes to Faith by answering God’s call upon their life by accepting His gift of faith. He gives it to us. For this we should be eternally thankful. The gift of faith is special and shows God’s love and favor towards us.
Thank God for your gift of faith. It is so easy to take it for granted or wrongly assume it is because of something I have done for God. No, it is a gift pure and simple. Let God know how much you love and appreciate His gift of faith.
Ephesians 4:4-7 is a beautiful passage to be cherished by believers. We are all called to be a part of God’s family and share in what we have in Christ, and yet God sees us as individuals with different needs.
“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. 7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.”
God, the creator, who is Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient is our Heavenly Father. He is in everything we do, everywhere we go and in every action we take. We are to be in His presence daily, walking with Him and letting His Holy Spirit guide and direct us. I love the fact that we are individuals before God. He gave us special gifts through Christ when we became believers. Each one of us is seen as useful and productive for the kingdom and are given gifts so we can successfully work and live for Him.
Do you feel isolated or a part of the body of Christ? Are you connected in meaningful ways to other believers? What about your gifts? Are you using your God given talents to accomplish work for the Lord? Lent is a time of reflection. Ponder what your gifts may be, read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11to seek clarity about gifts, think about the things you do for others in Jesus’ name- what brings you the most joy and peace? Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead,we are one in Christ, specially gifted through His grace.
May you be lifted up as you pray and meditate on the power of God’s family in your life and your gifts. Be encouraged as God has special gifts for each of us though the grace of Christ!
What is Grace? It is defined as God’s unmerited favor towards us. We did nothing and can do nothing to deserve His favor. It is something that God gives us freely by faith in Jesus from the depth of His love for us. Scripture teaches us that God’s grace is always sufficient and because God is omnipotent He will never run out of grace. 2 Corinthians 12:9 is one of my go to verses for power, strength and assurance about God’s grace. Paul recalls the words of Christ to him, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” God graciously gives us what we need in our weakness and brings glory to Himself by showing His power in our lives. I cling to the sufficiency of His grace.
Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We are saved by His grace, certainly not by anything we have done or will do. We cannot be good enough, clean enough or pure enough on our own. Salvation is a gracious gift of God given to us through our faith in Jesus. He saves us by grace and graciously uses us to do His good works. He could do everything himself, but He graciously allows us to participate for our good and His glory.
Hebrews 4:16 adds one other dimension to His grace towards us. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Because of our faith in Jesus, our high priest, and His work on the cross, we have access to God and can approach Him in prayer. When we do, we are assured that we will find grace and mercy in our times of need. There is never a time that God is not with me and I can always know that He will meet my needs with grace and mercy. What a blessed hope!
May you grow to trust in His grace, lean into and depend upon His grace and let His grace give you Hope as you draw near to Him with a heart of love and devotion.
I pray you have been blessed as much as I have by going through these 9 practical ways to show our loyalty and devotion to God. We can practice devotion to God by: recalling His attributes, remembering His good works towards us, relating to Him in prayer, reading and meditating on His Word, resting in our identity in Christ, repenting regularly, responding to the world biblically, remembering our Savior and relying upon His grace. May you remember to incorporate these into your life on a daily basis and receive His blessings!