Faith

Last Sunday, we were challenge to commit to know God as our faithful Rock.

Tonight, we’re going to dive into the area that exists in all of our lives.  This area of life can be a point of frustration, anger, bitterness, doubt, and discouragement.  However this can also be an area of excitement, peace, joy, faith, and encouragement.  The difference between how this area affects us lies solely in our perspective.  This area of life is the area that exists where there is a discrepancy between our current facts and God’s truth.
God has a divine purpose for these discrepancies.  This purpose varies from person to person and circumstance to circumstance.  It could be that God is training our fingers for battle.  It could be that God is testing our faith.  It could be that God is trying to grow the fruits of the Spirit in us.  It could be that God wants to reveal Himself to us in a new way.  It could be that God is revealing something in our lives that we need to change.
Whatever God’s divine purpose might be, there are constants and variables that impact the way we navigate through these discrepancies.
The constant is God.  God is our faithful Rock who never changes.  His love endures forever and His faithfulness through all generations.  Because this is His nature, this implies that His promises and His word also are constant, faithful, and trustworthy.  If an area of my life is in disagreement with God’s character, word, or promises, it is not God who needs to change, it is me.
Our lives come into agreement with God’s word through one single channel.  This channel has also remained constant from the beginning of mankind until now and will remain constant until the end.  This channel is faith.  Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Faith, by its nature, acknowledges the facts of our life, but simultaneously acknowledges that our facts must change to align with God’s truth.  God’s sovereign truth trumps and supersedes all facts.
Faith is all about trusting God and us permitting God’s will to be done in our lives.  God is the constant, but we are the variable.  One of the best examples found in the scriptures of a person enduring this season of discrepancy was Abraham.  Abraham received a promise to be the father of nations decades before he had children.  In fact, God’s promise came to pass long after Abraham and Sarah’s childbearing years during an impossible season of life.
Romans 4:16-22
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Since we are the variable, how should we respond?  How do we practically live with this discrepancy, yet practice our faith?
Abraham gave us a few examples here.  First of all, we choose to believe God’s word more than our circumstances.  This isn’t foolishness or stupidity.  We honestly acknowledge the facts regarding our current circumstances.  However, we believe that our circumstances are variable and they can be changed to agree with God’s word.  We believe the promises of God.
Secondly, Abraham gave glory to God.  While we are waiting in faith for our circumstances to change, we choose to worship God.  We should never cease to give thanks to Him and to live our lives fully committed to Him.  My circumstances may not be good, but God still is.  My faith may be wavering, but God is still faithful.  My hope may be running low, but God is still the God of all hope.  God’s plans are not to harm me, but to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
We are the variable and my part is to seek after Him will all of my heart (Jeremiah 29:13), all of my soul, all of my mind, and all of my strength (Mark 12:30).  God’s part is to fulfill His promises in my life.  I can’t do God’s part or force God to do anything.  I can only be faithful to do my part and trust God for His part.
Jesus also acknowledged this season of discrepancy and how we should respond to it in the form of a parable:
Luke 18:1-8
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The greatest faith that we can possess is not revealed through instant gratification.  The greatest faith that we can possess is a faith that perseveres and never gives up.  The greatest faith that we can possess is faith that is revealed through the refining fire of perseverance that boldly bursts into the presence of God before the very throne of Jesus day and night always believing that God is the rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him and always believing His truth despite the facts of their circumstances.
Many times, God’s word reminds us that it is those who confidently persevere who receive the promises of God.
Hebrews 10:35-39
35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,
“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”
38 And,
“But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
Tonight, we’re being challenged.  Everyone has an area of their lives that exists as a discrepancy between the facts and God’s truth.  Our response tonight, and every day and night following, will be to:
1. Believe (God’s word over our facts)
2. Worship (God is still good, even if our circumstances are not)
3. Pray (God hears us and will respond to us)
4. Never Give Up (It is those who persevere who receive the promise!)