James 2:21-24 (NLT)
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
What do I believe? Does it really matter what I believe is the truth all that matters? Deeply philosophical, maybe, but I think that as believers we say that we have faith or believe in God but do not have a clue what the Truth really is. My belief in most things is purely subjective because the determination is made from my perspective, vantage point or personal experience. Objectivity is for those who can step out of their circumstances and personal opinion stepping to a higher level of understanding. This is accomplished by the pursuit of knowledge intellectually and not emotionally. Not many are capable of such an assertion. We want to be fair and just in our dealings as believers but without a working knowledge of Truth it is impossible. My human weakness and sinful nature make it impossible for me to truly understand how God thinks and what perfection really is. I live within a body often led by impulse and emotion. I am certain I am the only one so please bear with me. I need to know what I believe in order to determine the direction of my life. I must decide who and what is relevant. I need to think about it seriously considering all the factors if I truly want things to change or improve. Will my life be driven according to the winds of change that whisk around the world with each new trend or idea? Or will I choose to submit my life to the One and Only Sovereign God and His Son, Jesus Christ? It all comes down to what I believe and such a revelation may even surprise me.
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Faith is confidence. To believe is to have confidence in the Truth, the existence, or the reliability of something without absolute proof that one is right in doing so. To believe and know are two different things. Faith is confidence that what we hope for will actually happen giving us assurance about what we cannot see. Faith and belief are partners who pursue Truth together. This is the unknown, unseen but totally credible belief in Jesus Christ as Lord which becomes a relative factor in the lives of those who truly believe. To know Jesus is not enough to release the miraculous in our life – we must believe.
Mark 6:4-6 (NLT)
Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Friends and family of Jesus Christ did not believe that He was the Messiah. Despite living with the Jesus and witnessing all the miracles and mysteries surrounding the man, they could not believe that this was the Messiah sent to save them and reign forever. He did not fit the mold that religion had built in the midst of society. So many times it is very difficult to perceive the Lord working in our life due to preconceived notions and popular opinion formed in advance by our way. We want what we want when we want it. When Jesus comes along with His Plan, we ignore Him because we are transfixed on human expectation and what society says makes a successful life. We are limited in the miraculous because we believe in mediocre things and remain attached to them.
Matthew 19:16-22 (NLT)
Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.” “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
We form attachments to those things that we believe in. Security is found in the comfort zones of life. More than fourteen years ago, we welcomed our fourth child into the world. Moments after giving birth, I looked at her daddy and said, “I cannot leave her.” He said, “Yes, you can.” We both had jobs with equal pay. For me to quit working would cut our household income in half, we had a family of six now. Stretching each dollar was already tough, but without my portion seemed impossible. We prayed for the duration of my “maternity” leave that never ended. We never have missed a payment, had our power turned off, went without or regretted the decision. The Lord had laid it heavily on my heart to be with her, He made a way to do so. But it took every ounce of faith and fiber of belief to let go of my position to step into God’s Plan for our life. It was not an easy decision. The rich young man came to Jesus. He thought himself ready to follow Jesus Christ. That is until it meant changing this life to be closer to the Lord. He couldn’t release his earthly attachments to achiever spiritual security. It doesn’t matter what you are willing to do for Jesus Christ unless you believe in the Truth of who He is and what He came to do. Mark my words. Listen carefully. The very thing that binds you to this life will be tested, tried and broken to release you to have the inheritance that God has for you.
Matthew 8:5-10 (NLT)
When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!
Do you believe in the Sovereignty of God? Do you believe that He is All-Powerful? Do you believe that His Word is the Truth? Do you think that His Way is perfect in all things? Do you trust that He is in complete and absolute control in every situation that we face? Wow, I struggle in these areas more often than not as demonstrated by my stress, worry and anxiety level. The Roman officer is one of my favorite faith examples in the Bible. He believed in the Power of God totally. He told Jesus that He didn’t have to come but just speak the Word. No begging or pleading just total and complete submission to the Word and Way of God. Jesus took note of this one man’s faith. He was not religious. He wasn’t even a Jew. He was a believer.
Matthew 16:15-19 (NLT)
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Did all the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ believe? John the Baptist who foretold His Coming struggled in his prison cell just before he was beheaded. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Hey, is it really you?” (Paraphrase) Philipp wasn’t sure. (John 14:8-10) Show us and we will be satisfied. Where is faith in such a thing? The very definition speaks of the unseen. Mary Magdalene thought someone had stolen the body of Jesus. What didn’t she believe that He was resurrected just like He said? (John 20:1-2) What about Thomas? He went into hiding and did not believe until he touched the holes in our Lord’s Hands. “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20:27-29) I want that to be me. I want to believe totally without seeing! I want genuine faith like Peter who knew in His Heart who Jesus was so that it didn’t matter what happened around Him, Peter believed. I want to expect Jesus. I want to suspect the Lord in every situation. I want to belief. Lord, help my unbelief today.
Mark 9:17-24 (NLT)
One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
In every situation, every participant has the opportunity to know the Lord. For example, in the account of the boy possessed by a demon, the crowd was disgruntled because the disciples didn’t have enough faith to do the Lord’s Work. Fair enough. When the dad came to Jesus, the man revealed his problem, too. “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can?” Who was the missing link here? Was it the lack of faith that kept the boy locked in bondage or was it the father’s unbelief? Both. Faith and belief are personal issues. Each and every single person who desires a place in God’s Kingdom must have faith that is demonstrated by belief in the sole Power and Authority of God given to Jesus Christ. We are to worship in Spirit (faith) and Truth (God’s Power and Authority). (John 4:21-24)
2 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NLT)
Although he was crucified in weakness, he now lives by the power of God. We, too, are weak, just as Christ was, but when we deal with you we will be alive with him and will have God’s power. Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
I believe in God the Father and Jesus His Son. I have faith. I have more today than I did in the past, but I still have a long way to go until my life demonstrates total trust in Jesus Christ and the Power and Authority of God in His Son. The tests and trials of life break the attachments that I have in this life that are manmade and unstable to affix me to God’s Will, Way and Word for my life. Change is uncomfortable. The transforming power of God and His Spirit living in us will produce change to be relevant and it will be worth it. I want my faith tested because I desire a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I want it. I desire it. I know that in asking for such a thing, I am requesting to be tested. I am surrendering to the fire. (I Peter 1:6-8) I want to believe…
I Peter 1:8 (NLT)
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.