Faith is something that is talked about a lot amongst Christians. We tend to say things like,
“Hold onto your faith.”
What does it really mean to have faith, and how can we practically hold onto our faith in all seasons?
Recently I’ve been reading through Romans and studying a few verses a day. A topic that is very present in this book so far is our salvation by faith and not by the law or any works we could do.
In chapter four, Paul talks about the faith of Abraham, and it is very inspiring. Abraham was a man who lived in the Old Testament days. (You can read his story in Genesis!) When he was about 100 years old, he and his wife Sarah had not borne any children. One day, God told them they would have a child and that they would have many descendants after them.
Genesis 15:5-7 says: Yahweh brought him outside, and said, “Look now toward the sky, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He said to Abram, “So will your offspring be.” He believed in Yahweh, who credited it to him for righteousness. He said to Abram, “I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it.”
This seems like a crazy promise, and one that we could easily laugh at and say “Really, God?” However, Abraham had a different reaction.
Romans 4:17-22 says: As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” This is in the presence of him whom he believed: God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were. Besides hope, Abraham in hope believed, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, “So will your offspring be.” Without being weakened in faith, he didn’t consider his own body, already having been worn out, (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Yet, looking to the promise of God, he didn’t waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was also able to perform. Therefore it also was “credited to him for righteousness.” (emphasis added)
Abraham didn’t look at what was seen, his old body and the deadness of his wife’s womb. Rather, this passage says that he looked to the promise of God and BELIEVED. He grew strong in his faith and glorified God. He was fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to carry out.
WOW. That is what you call true faith. While Abraham could have focused on doubt and all the reasons why it was likely that he and his wife couldn’t have children, he chose to look at God’s promises and believe.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says: For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
This verse reminds us, specifically for affliction, but this can apply to other areas, to look to what is unseen, for that is eternal. I believe that this is what Abraham did. He focused on God’s promises and His ability to do what He said He would.
How often do we take God at His Word and believe He is who He says He is?
How often do we look to God’s promises and are fully assured that they are true?
Abraham models what true faith is. It’s holding fast to God’s promises and having assurance that He is who He says He is and will do what He said He will do. THIS is faith.
When you go through trials and times that are tough, even in the littlest ways, it can be easy to forget about or doubt God’s promises. In those times, and in every single day, I encourage you to remember God’s promises and believe. Remember what He has done for you in the past, for people you know, and the amazing works He performed in the Bible!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger and higher than all things in this world. His promises are true, it’s up to us if we will choose to have faith in His promises.
The key to faith is believing God’s promises and that He is who He says He is. Don’t just take my word for it though! Read these passages on faith:
Hebrews 11:1 // Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:6 // Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him [God], for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. (things in brackets added by me)
2 Corinthians 5:7 // Therefore we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Faith is all about believing in our unseen God. It’s being assured that He is real, that He’s there, and that His promises are true. That is the key to faith. Belief and trust is all it takes. No, it’s not easy to have faith. There will be times when it feels unbearably tough and like your faith is being tested.
That is why, in all times, we look to God. We persevere. We seek Him and trust Him wholeheartedly, for He is a forever faithful God.
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