Friday, January 6

Discussing and Defining Faith: Part II

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. --Hebrews 11:6

(to read Discussing and Defining Faith: Part I, click here)

Faith comes by hearing of the message of Christ. Faith is that which enables us to believe in the reality and truth of something or Someone we have not seen. Faith in God, fear of Him, and a desire to come to Him to be blessed by Him are what drive us to adhere to His commandments, thereby living a pleasing and obedient life.

What is it about a lack of faith that displeases God?

Paul Rosenfels, in his work entitled "“Psychoanalysis and Civilization" states "“Faith bridges the gap when understanding fails; when understanding has grown to a necessary point, faith disappears, its work done, and insight is born."” I believe Rosenfels' definition helps point to a reason why a lack of faith is displeasing to God. If faith does in fact only serve a purpose to aid in reaching a point of understanding, then the disappearance of that faith indicates a self-righteous supposition that we understand God. This truly, is an arrogant attitude and displeasing to God.

The world would like to convince us that it has the answers and explanation for just about everything. Many of us buy into the belief (or is it misapplied hope and faith?) that if we were to obtain just enough information about something, we will be given a measure of great contentment. Like Job'’s friends, we are bombarded with reasons and excuses for why things happen, and it can be tempting to think that faith in God is foolish.

In the book of Job, we are given an account of a man who had great faith in God. He was forced to endure unjust hardship at the hands of the enemy. Before Job could be convinced by his faithless friends that belief in God was of no value, God spoke to Job out of a storm. Job was admonished and reminded that even the most far reaching human understanding of God is nothing because He is Sovereign. In Job, Chapter 38, we read God'’s words as He questions Job about his knowledge, and shows him that words without knowledge "“darken his counsel"” (Job 38:2).

Like Job, we must have faith that God is in control, even when the wickedness of the world is heaped upon us. It pleases God to hear us say that we trust Him completely, even when it looks for all intents and purposes, like we can gain nothing by saying so. Our faith pleases God the most when it draws us into a relationship with Him regardless of the possibility of being blessed. God could win us all over in an instant if He wanted to, but God is not interested in winning a popularity contest. Those who earnestly seek Him do so knowing that to come near to God is to stand in the presence of righteousness so powerful that we dare not look it in the face.

Only God can determine the sincerity of our faith, but it is not impossible for us to have a reasonable understanding of what it means to possess faith. Because of my faith in Christ, I am assured of my salvation, and I know that I never have to doubt whether my faith is strong enough to merit God'’s favor. I have come to Him believing that He exists and that He rewards me with the gift of eternal life for earnestly seeking Him.



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