Week 1 - May 12th 2019

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Week 1 - May 12th 2019

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

Day 1: Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for…”

At first glance, we might think that this verse is telling us that if we hope for something enough, and really have faith it will happen, we are assured of that thing. However, Biblical faith is the assurance, the certainty, of things promised by God to us that we haven’t yet received. This kind of faith is rational and certain because we hope for these things with the surety of the word of God. Faith is believing whole-heartedly that what God says is absolutely true and just as real as the concrete things we experience daily.

So, what are these things we are promised? As believers, those with faith, we are promised resurrection after death and eternal life with Him (John 3:15-16, 1 John 2:25, Titus 1:2, John 11:25-26, 1 Corinthians 15:21). Our justification by faith, and gradual sanctification throughout this life will become completed sanctification and glorification either when we die or when Jesus returns. We also know that the sufferings of this life aren’t worth comparing to the glory of Heaven and an eternity with God. This future reality that is ours in Christ Jesus should be as tangible to us as our daily life.

 The question is: Do we actually believe that these are as much our realities as the daily events around us? How would it change our lives to truly believe and have this certainty be a part of the way we live our lives? Would we fret and worry over our daily troubles, complain about trivial inconveniences, or protect our personal rights to the detriment of others? Would we slander our neighbor, spread gossip, revel in petty sins? This hope, this surety, is the rock on which we build our lives; may we live as if it were so.

Lord, help us cling to these truths above all else. Help us to be men and women of faith who though the earth gives way, though the storms rage, though the mountains crumble into the heart of the sea, cannot be shaken from this steadfast hope You have given us. Help us to believe Your promises and to operate daily under the assurance of what is ours in Christ Jesus.

In His name we pray, Amen.

Day 2: Hebrews 11:1 “…the conviction of things not seen.”

Biblical faith is certainty in not only our future reality, but also our unseen present reality. We must trust that God is working right now, even though we can’t see the whole picture of what He’s doing. In the face of suffering, pain, confusion, fear, poverty, sickness, betrayal, even death, we must stand firm and say, “My Lord is working for His glory and my good.” This is like looking at the tangled mass of threads on the back of a tapestry. From our perspective, we see chaos, disarray, arbitrariness even. We can’t see the other side where this snarled, jumbled mess is forming a beautiful pattern, or image. We have to trust that it’s there.

When life is painful, we must lift our eyes to the only One who we know can make sense of it. When we don’t understand, when things go wrong, when we don’t get our way, we have to cling to the truth that God is working, and that it is not for nothing. We have to have faith that there is an unseen reality playing out in our lives, even if we never know the why on this side of the grave. Faith is being able to live in perfect peace knowing that God is weaving the tapestry.

Another aspect of this unseen present reality is the spiritual realm that exists all around us, unseen by our human eyes. Ephesians 6:11-12 says to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but… against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,” and 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” We can’t see this happening. We have to have faith, conviction, that these very real events are going on around us and affecting us in ways invisible to us.

Father, help us to trust Your work in our daily lives. Help us to release our pain, our confusion, and our distrust to You. You are the One writing our story, and the end has already been written. Help us to fight for a peace beyond comprehension, in a sinful world full of battles unseen. Thank you for your grace in the midst of our uncertainty.

In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Day 3: Hebrews 11:2 “For by it the people of old received their commendation.”

At first thought, it may seem strange that faith is what is pointed to for “commendation,” or approval, from God. Initially, obedience might be our first thought when it comes to what pleases God. He has told us how we are to live and obeying Him seems to clearly be what would please Him, in our rationale. But here, and fleshed out through the entire chapter, is the idea that faith is more than obedience. While obedience is external, faith deals with the internal reality that drives true obedience. God wants your heart much more than He wants vain, empty actions.

Looking through the rest of the chapter, many of these “heroes” were not marked by their obedience. There are murderers, drunks, liars, cheats, prostitutes, adulterers, and more included on this list. But what prevailed over these sins is their overwhelming faith in God and His promises. These men and women left homes, built boats, defied authorities, chose to be mistreated, made sacrifices, and endured all kinds of ridicule because they believed to their core that what God told them was true. Their faith is what defined them and their decisions, and for it they were blessed by God.

Would the decisions we make on a daily basis be different if we lived every day in whole-hearted belief that what God says is true? Are our actions based on the hope we have for the future, and the belief that God is actively working in our daily lives? Do we believe Him when He tells us that our performance alone is not what is pleasing to Him? Are you willing to trust Him?

Lord Jesus, change our hearts to want nothing more than to please You. Help us to seek faith in You above all, and let this faith become obedience that flows from a heart completely in love with You. Impress on us the reality of this faith we have claimed and make us daily into Your image. Help us relinquish our tight-fisted grip of control over our lives and help us to offer it with open hands as a living sacrifice to You. 

In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.