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? (click here to read)
- What Should I Expect When I Step Out In Faith? (this post)
And so, we continue…
What Should I Expect When I Step Out In Faith?
Similar to, “It’s about the journey, not the destination” stepping out in faith isn’t about the results you get.
Instead, stepping out in faith towards God is about the relationship with God, not the results.
This is very important for us to remember.
All throughout Scripture and history, we see a mixed bag of “results” when it comes to stepping out in faith.
Because it’s not about the result, it’s about nearness to God, and transforming you more into His likeness.
Warning: Difficulties Ahead
Rather than expecting an easy path ahead, it’s necessary to recognize that putting your faith in God pretty much guarantees a difficult life ahead.
- We’re told to expect difficult situations and trials that God will use to help make us more like Him (Romans 5:3-5, Romans 8:28, James 1:1-13, 1 Peter 4:12–13)
- Realize that Satan (and even your own sinful self) does not want you to put your life in active obedience and faith towards God and will do anything he can to make that more difficult and undesirable. (Luke 22:31, Romans 8:7, 1 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 2:11, Galatians 5:16–18, Ephesians 6:11, 1 Peter 5:8, Revelation 2:10)
- If we are to ever experience miracles and God working in our lives in supernatural ways and in ways that we couldn’t have done on our own… that means we first have to be put in difficult and even heartbreaking situations that require us to rely on God and be at the end of our rope.
Mixed Results, And That’s Ok
I hope I’ve been clear that putting faith in God will not always result in an easy life.
Furthermore, God promises a good END, but does not promise specific results here on earth.
The examples at the end of this post from Hebrews 11 show an extremely mixed bag of God “coming through” in a dramatic way, while others suffered great difficulty, some even to the very end of their life.
But that is NOT the end.
The “end” is eternity.
And God promises a good final end for those who put their faith in Him.
He doesn’t promise good things on earth
But He does promise to work all things out for our ultimate good.
Not Everyone Gets A Miracle
I recently read a book on Miracles by Lee Strobel; and in the mist of telling stories and defending the reality of miracles, he dedicates a chapter to what happens if a miracle doesn’t come.
And in that section, he quotes from two other authors who I feel nail this issue.
Here’s what they said:
“Some claim that strong faith is defined by throwing our energies into begging God for a miracle that will take away our suffering and then believing without doubt that He will do it. But faith is not measured by our ability to manipulate God to get what we want; it is measured by our willingness to submit to what He wants.”Nancy Guthrie
“There’s no formula we can count on for when Jesus says yes and when He says no. That’s the catch with sovereignty: He gets to decide yes, no, if, when, and how. We can’t figure out what He’ll decide, and we can’t base our own confidence on His favor. We can, however, base our confidence on His faithfulness. Miracles are temporary, but the Word of Jesus, His teachings – they bring eternal life. Real life. Your faith in Him, your belief that He is real, even when the miracle isn’t yours, even when He doesn’t say yes to you – this is what brings eternal life.”Tricia Williford
Part of what allows our faith to truly be faith is the fact we’re willing to continue to trust, even if it doesn’t work out.
As I mentioned in my last post, [“What Does It Look Like To Step Out In Faith?”][https://travissinks.com/what-does-it-look-like-to-step-out-in-faith-hebrews-11-part-2/], faith is not a vending machine to get what we want. Faith is a relationship building experience with God.
Trusting God In The Results
Hebrews 12 begins with a call for us to stay strong in our own faith. The examples we’ve been reading in the other two posts, and the examples you’ll see below are real people who really experienced God and put their faith in Him to the very end. And if they were alive today, they would tell you to do the same. Active and daily faith in God is worth it.
Here’s how it reads:
“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”Hebrews 12:1
Since we have so many examples of people who put their faith in Jesus
Since they would all agree and tell us it’s worth it
Let us also set everything else aside
Anything that is keeping us from following God in faith
And run with endurance
Live life fully devoted
And follow God
Wholly and completely
In faith in Him.
Examples of Faith In Hebrews 11
Below are the results of faith we see in Hebrews 11. Some are incredible and encouraging, while others are difficult to even read and we all secretly hope isn’t what God has for us as well.
But rest assured that all of these people would agree on one thing:
It is worth it.
Abel’s sacrifice was accepted (Hebrews 11:4)
If you’re familiar with Abel’s story, he was shortly after murdered because from his brother’s jealousy, and so although his faith led towards a close relationship with God, it caused a rift in other relationships and even a horrible end to his life.
Enoch was taken up to be with God (Hebrews 11:5)
Such an encouraging and beautiful result of faith!
Noah and his family was saved (Hebrews 11:7)
Yet another incredible blessing of faith. Though, consider the many friends they lost and difficulty having to start completely over from scratch after the flood.
Abraham was given the land he was promised (Hebrews 11:8-9)
Again, his faith required much sacrifice, but he was blessed for it, even to be eventually be given the title “the father of faith.”
Sarah received a child (Hebrews 11:11)
After a life of difficulty and wondering how God would provide what was promised, she and Abraham received the promise by continuing to trust and follow God.
Abraham received his son “back” (Hebrews 11:17-19)
Again, after much testing of their faith, God continued to show Himself faithful to His promise.
Moses got to see the Children of Israel saved from Egypt (Hebrews 11:23-29)
It was a long road: 40 years in Egypt and then 40 years as an outcast, shepherd and in the wilderness… Moses got to see God rescue the children of Israel; and he was given the blessing of being used by God in such a miraculous way.
Rahab got to join the Children of Israel, and [even became part of Jesus’ family tree (read more on that at this link)][https://travissinks.com/jesus-family-tree/] (Hebrews 11:31)
What an incredible honor to be part of Jesus’ family tree!
Many others… Conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight, received back those who had died (Hebrews 11:32-35)
There are so many historical accounts of God rescuing and blessing those who put their faith in Him.
Many others… Were tortured, refused to accept release, suffered mocking and flogging, even chains and imprisonment, were stoned, sawn in two, and killed with the sword. They were destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. Wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (Hebrews 11:35-38)
In comparison to the many people who saw blessings on earth when they stepped out in faith, there are arguably even more who suffered much because of their faith in God.
But as Jesus said, we ought to lay up treasures in heaven, not on earth (Matthew 6:19–20) and there is no better way to do that than to put daily and practical faith in God.
May we have the same mindset as Paul who wrote:
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 3:13-14
May you put aside what keeps you from putting daily and practical faith in Jesus.
And may you receive the life and nearness to God that He created you for.