So I was actually planning on giving a different challenge today but I just heard Gloria Copeland say that many people have no idea how to live after salvation until they learn to live in faith. I thought about that statement and I believe it's probably true. So I believe it's only right for me to address this today. When I first began my spiritual walk, I thought that faith meant I was supposed to believe in God and believe in Jesus. That seemed easy enough. But as I've grown I've realized that faith is much more than that. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Example: When I was little I was a bit spoiled and I just knew that when I woke up Christmas morning there would be lots of presents under the tree. I had faith in that Christmas morning miracle. And because I had faith I made sure to go to bed early Christmas eve and wake up early Christmas morn. My sleeping habits were the substance or the evidence of the miracle I hoped for.
The bible says that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord, and that all things work for the good of the children of God. If we have faith in these statements then we live a life of thankfulness, expectancy, and peace. Our lifestyle is the substance of the rewards we hope to receive. Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him (God), for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
Another issue with our faith walk is that we tend to base our faith on our own willpower and not the will of the Spirit that lives within us. We love to tell God what we can't do. Lord I can't fast, I can't pray, I can't give up smoking, I can't give up sex, etc. We want to give the Lord excuses like He didn't create us and doesn't know who we are. The Lord already knows our willpower is subpar. The bible says the spirit is willing, but the flesh weak (Matthew 26:41). We make our spirits stronger than our flesh through prayer and bible study. By these things we solidify to ourselves who God is, what He did, and what He will do. We increase our faith, and we are able to confidently say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
And finally and perhaps the most difficult to grasp is the idea that Christ is with us always. The bible says, "Never will I (Jesus) leave you, never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)." This is a nice thought, but how do we know that it's true? We can't see Him. Most of us can't hear Him or even feel that He's there. It is especially hard to believe that statement when we are going through an intense trial. But that is the epitome of faith. We must believe without confirmation or validation that Jesus is with us, simply because His Word said He would be.
Biblical Reference: In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar made a decree that whenever the symphony sounded, all the citizens had to bow down and worship the idol he created. Whoever refused to bow down would be thrown into the fiery furnace. Three Hebrew boys refused to bow to the idol and when questioned and threatened with the furnace they responded as follows,
O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown
into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us
from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you,
Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have
set up. Daniel 3:16-18 (NLT)
This is a great example of unyielding faith. These boys believed that God would be with them in their trouble, but their faith went beyond their situation. They believed that even if God did not deliver them from the furnace, He was still in control and even in death they would glorify Him.