So You Think You Have Faith?
It seems to pretty clear that we are living in uncertain times. Everyone knows that Christians believe that the end times are drawing near. This could be something that happens within our lifetime, possibly the next or beyond (no one knows for sure), but it’s believed to be around the corner. Even those that don’t believe what the Bible says about this can agree, at minimum, that things aren’t getting better in the world and something big is coming. Lots of changes are taking place that don’t leave anyone with a warm fuzzy about their own futures.
Just looking around, we can see greed and corruption rule our economy, politics and government. The super-rich continue to get richer by any means they can, no matter who they destroy. This administration is leading us into a new era of bankruptcy, moral dysfunction, and possibly the most extreme liberalism this country has ever seen. The economic system is on the verge of collapse from all of the corrupt practices, printing money out of thin air, out of control spending and borrowing far more than future generations could ever pay back. As people become more and more dependent on their own selfish desires, wants, the government, money, anything from this world, and less on a God and Creator who loves us, the more and more the future doesn’t look so bright. It’s also pretty obvious that we’re in a time where conservative beliefs, religious beliefs and anyone who opposes going the way of extreme tolerance of immoral behaviors are under attack and demonized. Just click on any news link and you won’t be far away from it.
I could spend all day writing about all of these situations I’ve listed, however, that is such an exhaustive, daunting task, I’ll leave that up to the experts. What I’d really like to focus on is, as believers in Christ, how can we prepare ourselves, spiritually, now and in the future when it all hits the fan? I’m not talking about some of the traditionally practical preparations we can make like, storing up food, water, supplies, etc., or even buying guns to protect yourself (if that’s something you choose to believe in). Those are extremely important, but I’m talking about something we need that will be nothing without this - faith.
Are you spiritually prepared? How strong is your faith in God to protect and use you in times of regional or even global disasters? Is it really strong enough?? I believe this generation is on the cusp of having its faith in God tested and pushed to the limits. Fellow believers, we need to be ready and ask ourselves if our faith is really where it ought to be!
I believe the Bible has extraordinary examples of believers who have demonstrated the kind of faith it will take, to not only make it through the difficult times that potentially lie ahead, but also be used in a powerful way to serve God during those times. Listed below are some of them and you are encouraged to check out the verses to read more about them:
- Genesis 7-9: When Noah was commanded by God to build an ark that would save his righteous family and all the animals from the coming rising waters and storms that virtually wipe out most life on the planet, Noah was very faithful. In fact, what you don’t see anywhere in the text is Noah talking back to God. There’s no dialogue in the account, except for God instructing and Noah responding. Noah’s faith was demonstrated by action and God blessed him for this. How many of us have felt God asking us to do something small in our lives, but never acted at all on it, let alone a substantial instruction? Noah accomplished a feat that most likely didn’t make sense to anyone at the time, except to Noah through his faith. His faith through actions saved his family and carried on God’s will for generations to come.
- Genesis 19: Prior to Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction, God responded to Abraham’s request to spare the cities if even ten righteous people existed in them, by agreeing to his prayer. The people in those cities were so incredibly ungodly, sinful, hateful and lustful, but He would spare them for the sake of a ten righteous people. However, only one man, named Lot, his wife and his two daughters could be found. Prior to the destruction of these cities, angels were sent to Lot and his family to encourage them to escape so their lives would be spared. Lot did as instructed and God protected them. Will we, likewise, heed the warnings God gives us? Do we trust that God has our best interest in mind?
- Exodus 17: In a time where Moses was leading God’s people, the Israelites, to the promise land, God protected them throughout their journey. As they camped in a place called Rephidim, they were attacked by a group of Amalekites, who were ruthless nomads that basically raided tribes and killed for pleasure. During this time, the staff Moses used and carried with him always, served as a symbol of God’s power. As the Israelites were being attacked, Moses walked to the top of a nearby hill, raised the staff in the air to rely on God for protection from the enemy. If he lowered his staff, they would fail. His faith in God was put to the test and as he depended on God in this manner. Not only were the people protected, but they completely defeated the Amalekites. How strong is your faith in God? Do you really believe he can protect you no matter the circumstance?
- Acts 11: Despite intense persecution of the believers in the Roman Empire shortly after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, several early Christians went to a town called Antioch to preach the news about Jesus. Antioch was part of the Roman Empire and was a major city, economically, and was known for ungodly behavior, pagan worship and all kinds of immorality. These believers preached about Jesus to people, knowing full well they could be killed or tortured for doing so. God blessed them and many people who heard, accepted the news, becoming believers themselves. To be clear on this, it was supported by the Roman Empire leadership, at that time, for people like Saul of Tarsus to go out into the region, find anyone even mentioning Jesus’ name and give the authority to kill, persecute or even torture them. We don’t experience this currently in America, but what if that changed? Will you still have the faith in God to be protected and still be effective in saving others regardless of the consequences?
- Acts 7: Also, after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, a very holy man, named Stephen, was seized, set up and tried before Jewish religious leaders known as the Sanhedrin. They were opposed to Stephen preaching about Jesus and charging him with blasphemy. When Stephen continued to preach the truth before them and every effort they made to discredit him backfired on them, they responded by dragging him into the streets and stoning him to death. Even during the stoning, he was praying to God, praising Him and even praying for those people killing him. Do we have faith like this to trust God completely and fully, even to the point of our death. Do we realize that our time on earth is a temporary part of our eternity and truly believe God can use every single opportunity, even death to reach out to others? This event sparked a revolution of believers to go out to the world and bring others to Christ. If you were standing before a group of people calling for your life if you do not renounce your faith in Christ, could you react just as Stephen did?
These are just a handful of accounts throughout the Bible that show enormous faith by individuals who accomplished huge victories for God. I believe these are in the Bible for us to use as models for true faith.
A lot of people like to throw around Luke 17:6, regarding faith,
“He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you”,
I just wonder how many of us really believe this.