Saturday, October 26, 2013

Faith; It's Not About You

"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, NIV84)

Faith is not merely confidence that you can do what you want or have what you desire.  Faith is not about God making it possible to do what you want or giving you what you ask for.  When people don't understand this, they may get angry with God.  A young girl may get angry with God when she prays and prays that God will help her get all A's on her report card, but she gets a C in one class.  A boy may even question whether there is a God after he has prayed that God won't let his parents get a divorce, but then his dad files for divorce and leaves.  But faith is not about you.

Faith is about being able to do the things that please God.  Without faith, you cannot please God.  It is impossible to please Him without faith.  But you may ask, "Why would I want to please God?  What is in it for me?"  That is a little like asking, "Why would I want to please my father?  What's in it for me?"

We love our fathers, assuming they are not negligent dope heads or abusive drunkards, because they loved us even before we knew to love them.  They protect us from danger.  Sometimes they may even refuse to let us do or have something we want because they know it is dangerous.  If we have not yet learned that it is dangerous, we might become angry with them, but they don't change their minds because they know what is best for us.  Fathers also comfort us and fix our wounds when things go wrong.  We may not understand why they can't or don't prevent what goes wrong, but they are always there to help us.
When we understand that our fathers love us, protect us from danger, and help us when things go wrong, our faith in them grows and we can please them.  In the same way, when we understand that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants the best for us, our faith in him grows and we can please him.  Here are some ways you can put faith in your Heavenly Father.

Put more faith in His purposes than your own

Paul was very zealous for God and had plans to arrest and to persecute all who called on the name of Jesus.  He thought his plans were good, but God had different plans.  God planned that Paul would suffer much for the name of Jesus and proclaim salvation to the nations in his name.
You may have plans that you think are good.  You may want to go to college, play football, become a doctor, take the gospel to a foreign land, or build a business.  You may pray and ask God's blessing on your plans.  God may bless your plans, but if he doesn't, don't become angry with God.  If God has different plans for you, you must put more confidence, more trust, in what He gives you to do than in what you wanted to do.  Faith is all about trusting God.

Put more faith in His promises than your desires

You may want popularity and fame.  You may want your name in record books or your picture on the front cover of Sports Illustrated, but God doesn't promise you those things.  You may want riches.  You may want a big house, an SUV in the drive, and a boat and cabin on the lake, but God doesn't promise those things either.  Instead, He promises you victory over sin, opportunities to let your light shine for him, the food and clothing necessary for life, and a dwelling with Him in the New Jerusalem for eternity.

You may think what you want is good, and you may ask God to give you what you want.  God may give you some of what you want, but he may withhold that which merely satisfies selfish desires or does not accomplish his purposes for you.  If he withholds something, don't get angry or question God's existence.  Put your trust in God's promises, in the things that He has promised to give you.  Faith is not about you; it is about trusting God.

Put more faith in His power than your own

When Moses saw Israel's cruel slavery in Egypt, he tried to free his people by his own power.  However, when he killed an Egyptian slave master, he had to flee Egypt.  Forty years later when Moses was eighty years old, God sent Moses back with only a shepherd's staff in his hand and words in his mouth.  God humbled the Egyptians with ten plagues, and destroyed the Egyptian army in the sea without Moses lifting a sword.  God's power was greater than the power of Moses.

You may think you are young and strong.  You may think that you can do anything you want to do, but eventually you will fail.  Someone will defeat you, someone will rob you, disaster will overtake you, or you will die and leave it all behind.  Your power is nothing compared to the power of God.  Put your faith in His power.  Faith is not about you; it is about trusting God.

God does care about you, and when you seek him diligently in faith trusting him in all things, he will reward you. Scripture says, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV84). Trust God completely.  Faith is not about you; it's about trusting God.