As I was recently reflecting on Hebrews 11 (the “faith chapter”), I enjoyed viewing it from 3 different angles:
- What Is Faith? (click here to read)
- What Does It Look Like To Step Out In Faith? (this post)
- What Should I Expect When I Step Out In Faith? (click here to read)
And so, we continue…
What Does It Look Like To Step Out In Faith?
If you remember last week’s “What Is Faith?” we summarized that faith is essentially living right now in light of what is promised but not yet.
The standard definition from the beginning of the chapter is that faith is the “Assurance of things hoped for, the conviction (or “substance”) of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
And, so the easy way to tell if something you’re doing isn’t faith is that…
It’s not faith if…
the only reason for what you’re doing
is based off what you can see and know right now.
Faith In… What?
This brings us to something important: what, or who is your faith in?
Because you can have faith in a person to fulfill a promise…
Or faith in a thing or system to fulfill it’s “vending machine” type promise (you do “X”, you get “Y”)…
Or faith that things will just work out because of karma or good vibes…
And so on…
But these “faiths” are imperfect because they either rely on things that aren’t true, or people/situations that are imperfect and will sometimes let us down.
God, on the other hand, tells us that we can have faith in Him
A perfect God Whose track record is completely perfect since the beginning of time.
Things don’t always work out the way we expect, want or hope, but He promises that He will work out all things for good according to His purposes.
What Does It Look Like To Have Faith In God?
So, you want to have live out faith in God.
The difficulty is that there’s no specific action step you can take to make that happen.
Having faith in God isn’t a specific process to follow or actions to take, otherwise we would begin to have faith in that system instead of God Himself.
You can, and should…
- Pray for wisdom and grace in your decisions…
- Do your best with what is in front of you…
- Seek godly wisdom and counsel from other Christians…
- Sometimes even fast before a big decision…
But the overall thing we have to do is simply stay connected to God.
You can’t trust in Someone Who you don’t know. And you can’t know Someone Who you don’t spend time with.
And that reminds us of God’s ultimate goal for us: a relationship with Him.
He wants you to walk through life listening to Him, seeking His will, and desiring to follow Him in the decisions you make. To put your trust, your faith, in Him.
The Will Of God
Some things are clear. The Bible says things such as: do not sin, grow in holiness, stay sexually pure, etc, but there are many decisions in life that don’t fit in these easy categories.
And God wants you to seek His will for your life,
Accept wisdom and input from others
And to ultimately move forward in whatever way you feel glorifies Him the most,
In faith that He is with you.
What Faith Looks Like In Real Life
One of the interesting things about the times people had to step out in faith in the Bible is that there are so many different ways.
Some were simply offering the usual sacrifices to God, while others were great steps of faith against all odds and logic.
The important thing is that all of these people had an ongoing relationship with God and took these steps because they felt it was what God wanted them to do next, and it didn’t contradict something God had previously said not to do.
Below are the examples found in Hebrews 11 of people taking steps of faith to follow God. There are many more throughout scripture, but it’s interesting seeing the list that the writer has collected for us to reflect on.
Abel offered a sacrifice of his things (Hebrews 11:4)
Sometimes, simply obeying what God has told us to do is a simple act of faith. Faith in that what He has said is what we ought to do, even when it seems boring, unfruitful, or a waste of time.
Enoch walked with and pleased God (Hebrews 11:5)
Such a simple story. His relationship with God was one that God enjoyed so much that He considered it faith to live such a way.
Noah constructed an ark, in spite of never having seen or experienced rain (Hebrews 11:7)
In the face of opposition and ridicule, Noah had to have great faith, for multiple years, in order to continue the work that God had told him to do.
Abraham moved far away from family and into a new land because God told him to (Hebrews 11:8)
Abraham didn’t know where he was going, but because He trusted in God, He obeyed Him and took the difficult road away from family, friends and the security of home.
Abraham offered Isaac up to God in spite of him being his only son (Hebrews 11:17-19)
After years of desiring a son, Abraham was finally given one in His old age. But then God told Him to sacrifice him, and he showed that was willing to, by obeying until God told him to stop and that He would make another way. Through it all, Abraham showed that he was willing to give up even his most precious son for God.
Isaac proclaimed prophetic blessing on his sons (Hebrews 11:20)
He trusted the words that God gave him to speak that would predict the future of the lives and descendants of his sons.
Jacob also proclaimed prophetic blessings on his sons (Hebrews 11:21)
Just like Isaac…
Joseph prophesied the exiting of Egypt (Hebrews 11:22)
Just like Isaac and Jacob…
Moses parents rejected the order to kill their son (Hebrews 11:23)
Moses parents went against the law of Egypt in order to keep the law of God and not murder. The 10 commandments were not written yet, but it was clear from Cain and Able that murder was not right.
Moses refused to remain as Pharaoh’s grandson in order to free the Children of Israel (Hebrews 11:24-28)
Instead of enjoying the wealth, power, influence and prestige as the Pharaoh’s grandson, Moses chose to do what was right and what God had called him to do.
Moses and the Children of Israel sprinkled blood over their doors during Passover (Hebrews 11:28)
As weird of an action as it was, they chose to trust God’s at His word and do what He said.
The Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry land (Hebrews 11:29)
Although they had just witnessed a miracle, I bet it was a little difficult to walk across the Red Sea with walls of water on either side. They had to trust that God was going to keep the water from crashing down on them.
Marched around enemy walls for seven days with no intention of attacking (Hebrews 11:30)
One of the oddest battle plans ever. And yet, they took God at His word and sought to bring down the wall of a massive and fortified city without a single weapon. Just imagine what days 5, 6 and 7 must have felt like.
Rahab hid the Isrealite spies in her city (Hebrews 11:31)
Had she been caught, she could have been killed as a traitor. Instead, she got to become part of Israel and even part of the bloodline of Jesus.
Enforced justice (Hebrews 11:33)
Sometimes, having faith in God is being willing to stand and do what’s right.
Refusing to accept release (by dropping their faith in God or by disobeying Him) (Hebrews 11:35)
So often, we’re given the opportunity to be released from ridicule, contempt, or in some places, even jail or death, by simply renouncing our faith in God. But many in scripture and all around the world today have chosen to keep their faith in Him to the very end through extremely difficult circumstances.
After reading those great steps of faith, consider what God might be calling you to do.
And be ready for next week when we cover what to expect when you step out in faith.
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