Belief Beyond Words
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Do we believe what we say we believe? Do the words transcend the pages of the Bible and enter into our lives to help us in our times of need? Or is our faith strong only in theory, for the other person, for another time. Do we believe what we say we believe? Do the words transcend the pages of the Bible to provide us with the strength and hope we need in times when the world says give up? Or are our feelings stronger than our faith?
Faith is always easier in theory. It is always easier to read or hear what we should believe than to actually live it. But the Bible warns us that merely hearing the Word is deceiving ourselves:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does. - James 1: 22-25
Do what it says. We can listen to the Word for years in our walk before being confronted with a test of our faith. We can know the Word and hide it in our heart but until we actually have to believe it in our lives we may not know the depth of that faith. God does not want weak faith. He does not want lukewarm faith:
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3: 15-16
The Bible actually says that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). When Jesus was speaking about faith, He did not compare people who heard the Word versus those who did not. He spoke about those who applied His words to their lives:
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." Matthew 7: 24 - 27
Hearing the Word is not enough beloved. Reading the Word is not enough. We must put God's Word into practice. Then when the storms of life beat against the house of our lives, we will find ourselves on the Rock, not the shifting sands of the world. It is the world that wants us looking at our circumstances and not the promises of God. When the world says impossible God says all things are possible. The Bible tells a story of a boy suffering from demon possession. The child's father says to Jesus "If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
That can be us today as well. We get the report from the doctor and say to God, "If you can..." We are facing loneliness or relationship problems and say to God, "If you can..." We are facing unemployment, mounting bills or maybe surgery and say to God, "If you can..." when faced with these moments to believe the report of man or the report of the Lord we should keep in mind the response of Jesus to that boy's father:
"'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." Mark 9:23
For who? For him who believes. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, the Lord performed many miracles. Many were healed. Here are some of the observations from our Lord after those miracles were delivered:
Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour. Matthew 8:13
Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment. Matthew 9:22
Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; - Matthew 9:29