“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life…” (1 Timothy 6:11,12).
This is the verse I have picked to give us a good “attitude adjuster” for the New Year. To pursue means to follow, to chase, to hunt, to practice… in other words, it’s not something that comes easy. You have to work on it. With God’s help it’s possible. Today the subject is faith. There are so many angles to write about faith, the most important being the saving faith, to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved.
I chose to go to the Faith Chapter of the Bible—Hebrews 11. We will just make a quick review, because we could spend days on end going over this amazing subject of pursuing faith.
- “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” NIV
- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” NKJV
- “Now faith is assurance of (things) hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.” ASV
- “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.” NLT
“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.”
The following statement about the people of faith has always amazed me:
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (vs. 13-16)
God was not ashamed of them! I wish to be that kind of person. I want to make God proud, kind of the way we as parents are proud of our children.
Some of the faithful men and woman mentioned in this chapter:
ABEL—offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.
ENOCH—he walked with God. He’s the man who didn’t die. God just too him away (see Genesis 5:21-24). “Before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”
NOAH—120 years he worked on building the ark, thus he saved his family and all the animals.
ABRAHAM—I’ve always admired this man because “when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
- By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country
- By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-and Sarah herself was barren-was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
- By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. (Read the story in Genesis 22.)
MOSES—chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time
- By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
- By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
- By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
JOSHUA—By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
GIDEON—Won a great victory with 300 men (see Judges 6 & 7).
DAVID—As a brave teenager he fought and won over the giant Goliath (see 1 Samuel 17).
DANIEL—The brave man who kept praying even when faced with lions (see Daniel 6).
There were so many people of faith who…
- conquered kingdoms
- administered justice
- gained what was promised
- shut the mouths of lions
- quenched the fury of the flames
- escaped the edge of the sword
- weakness was turned to strength
- they became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies
- women received back their dead, raised to life again
- others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection
- some faced jeers and flogging
- others were chained and put in prison
- sawed in two
- put to death by the sword
They went about in sheepskins and goatskins
THE WORLD WAS NOT WORTHY OF THEM.
With this we have not even touched the New Testament. There is no end to the good examples of faith to follow.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb 12:1-3).
Let’s ask Jesus to help us in pursuing the faith that pleases God.