In Faith or Experiencing Doubt?
The characteristic of a godly man or woman that pleases God the most is faith. For by faith a person hears the testimony of truth, God’s Word, and receives it into their heart. How faith is tested is not by the hearing of God’s Word, but by believing the testimony, which ultimately manifests into action.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
As we read the report outlined in Hebrews 11 of the men and women who have gone before us, we see their holy obedience, godly exploits and patient suffering is recorded here. Of course when we read the Old Testament in detail and examine the extent of their lives and servanthood, we see their experience is not without its flaws. But here, what is celebrated is the big picture, the enduring faith they had in God that He would lead them to victory (Hebrews 11:3).
We have all heard the saying, ‘blind faith’, but our faith is not a walk of blindness as some would have it. As a believer, the Holy Spirit witnesses to the truth and our soul is fully persuaded with firm belief and excited expectation that the Lord, who is faithful, has all things in His hands. The Bible encourages us to taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Our faith is anything but blind because we are invited to taste and see that He is who He says He is.
Even in a practical sense we learn to place our trust in certain brands; whether it be a car, white goods, internet company or other, because they have the scores on the board. We have learnt their product is trustworthy because it has been revealed by their history that they are trustworthy. When the latest Apple iPhone comes out, people aren’t lining up in the streets for days prior to the release date just because they want to test the product before they buy it. They will buy it without testing it because it has already been tested over time. Just as it would be insulting to Apple representatives for you to put them to the test, it is all the more insulting to put God to the test because He has proven Himself to be faithful and trustworthy already.
Unfortunately, many today are placing their trust in a brand name church or pastor who are misrepresenting God and preaching lies. This is misplaced faith because their words and deeds do not line up with the word and testimony of the character of Christ. Faith is then put in the fame and fortune of the church or preacher, falsely believing that these are evidences of God’s hand, yet it is clearly out of sync with the truth. Placing your faith in a fraudulent image of God is a hopeless pursuit and will ultimately lead to death and destruction if repentance fails to produce. Most in the church blindly follow others, not ever working out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
It is permissible to see that the hand of the Lord is like the wind.
‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’
You cannot see it, but you may see the evidence of the dust moving along the road with it and the howling sound as it passes through the trees. We see and hear the objects that have been touched by the wind, so therefore we can trust that the wind exists and has a character of its own yet we cannot see the wind itself. When we ponder the earth in all its intricate splendour, we trust that there is One who created it. When we see the light of Christ in a godly man or woman, we see the Lord Jesus as if it were the wind swaying a tree. Trees cannot move without the wind, just as a man cannot be good, in and of himself, without the One who is good (Mark 10:18, Romans 3:10). Therefore he is a witness of Christ who is in him and all will see the character of God.
But what if the man ever fails like all those listed in Hebrews 11 and others we read about in the Bible? Like Apostle Peter, there is nothing more beautiful and awesome than seeing the Lord raise one up from the ashes. Who else can raise one up from death? Who can make the broken whole again? The Lord can even resurrect the long forgotten dry bones in the desert just as the Lord welcomes home the wayward son or daughter (Luke 15: 11-32). In fact when we look back to all those mentioned in Hebrews 11, we see a pattern of man going off track and God, through His mercy and grace, leading them back to Him again. He rewards their faith as they bend their knee, believing that He will do this. God delights in showing His great love and kindness.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy…
The Lord loves faith from His children -- it pleases Him.
‘And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.’
Faith should lead us not only to believing that He exists, for even demons believe there is one God and tremble (James 2:19), but faith-filled children will seek and draw near to Him, believing that their reward is in Him alone.
We see examples like Noah, who believed God and His Word about the coming flood, even though the flood was unseen. He trusted in God and because he knew the Lord, he also had a reverential fear of Him that His Word will come to pass.
He heard the Word, believed it and then acted upon it in obedience.
James (chapter 2 verse 14-26) deals with the fact that true faith produces actions. Faith without action is dead. In other words, if you truly do have faith like Noah, you will obediently act upon it. Faith comes at a cost. For Noah, it was decades of hard labour despite not seeing any sign of a flood coming. It was his trust in God’s character; that He is holy, just and good that kept him going through any hard days that he would face as a result of his obedience. Noah was putting all his trust in God, like one who puts all their eggs in one basket, as the saying goes. Waiting to see the rain come before taking action would have resulted in his death and that of his family. Instead, he listened, believed and acted upon God’s Word.
Doubters will always exist to distract or cause injury to a faith-filled saint, but when we keep our eyes upon Him who is faithful, we will surely endure the trials and tribulations that come our way.
This journey of life is filled with many unexpected turns, with difficult plot twists we never saw coming. But our faith reminds us that He did see them coming and remains faithful through it all.
Even if we experience struggles at times....
‘The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.’
2 Timothy 2:13
Thank you Jesus, the One who is faithful and true.
-- By Judah Ayling