Faith means different things to different people. The humanist, atheist, religiously devout, and Christian may each hold to one or more forms of faith. But what kind pleases God?

 * * *

The quip “You have your faith and I have mine” sounds reasonable enough. Unless, of course, someone’s faith is dangerously misplaced and you know it will hurt that person in the long run. Then what do you do?

This reminds me of the time a teenager I was with began to drown. Nobody in the pool area began asking him about his views on life or whether he might be offended if we offered assistance.  Instead, one individual immediately threw a life-ring to him and another came to his aid in the water.

While we should never want to offend anyone, compassion frequently demands pressing intervention.

In His compassion, God has communicated what kind of faith pleases Him and what He seeks to nurture in us. He lovingly takes the guesswork out of it.

* * *

From start to finish, the Bible reveals the importance of having faith in God. A sampling of verses from the New Testament on this are:

Matthew 21:22 (where Jesus is speaking to His disciples): And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Romans 4:19-20 (in reference to Abraham): Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.

Hebrews 11:1-2; Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.

 * * *

As we’ve just read, God desires our faith and trust in Him to infuse our prayers, manifest itself in every-day living, and be the conduit for His approval of us. Yet we’re never left to struggle alone in the pool, so to speak. God Himself throws us the life-ring of faith necessary to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.

Hey, speed readers! Would you mind considering another look of the above paragraph?!

We’re not talking wishful thinking, here, but what God Himself declares for us in His Word (Luke 19:10; and Ephesians 2:8).

What graciousness!

This also means the subject of faith will be fraught with spiritual wrangling and confusion. Let’s take a quick look at three often-misunderstood aspects of faith in order to make sure we’re tracking with God on this, rather than succumbing to the pull of culture.

* * *

Faith regarding prayer:

To our detriment, feelings can be mistaken for faith and we often see this manifested in prayer. We’re told we should name what it is we want God to do and have total and complete faith He will do it. Passages of Scripture are taken out of context and used to take such faith to a non-biblical extreme. Whether or not the bottom line is recognized, it’s that we view God as some kind of heavenly errand boy or trained seal—obligated to jump through whatever hoops the person of “great faith” lays before Him.

This is not God-pleasing faith, but a harmful counterfeit which promotes human will and wisdom above God’s. It advances the idolatry of placing our faith in faith instead of placing our faith in God.

Not so the believer who humbly lays his or her requests before God with the overarching desire that He will do what most honors Him. This is praying in trust and dependency upon God—in faith which pleases Him.

When Christ prayed prior to His crucifixion “… not My will be done, but Thy will be done (see Luke 22:39-44), His heart—as always—was in perfect alignment with the Father’s. Those words were a sacrificial offering of trust and acceptance—faith—to the God who does all things well… no matter how difficult or painful the walk of obedience to God and His plans may be. Yet while Jesus should be our example in all things, there is no trace of His God-pleasing faith to be found in arrogant, demanding prayers often espoused in the name of praying “in faith.”

Faith in every-day living:

As in the above passage regarding Abraham’s faith, God knows our human weakness and inability to equip ourselves with perfect faith. We see Abraham grew strong in faith. Through James 1:3  we learn God tests our faith to produce perseverance. Christ followers are instructed to accept the one who is weak in faith, as seen in Romans 14:1. The apostle Paul encouraged Timothy, his protégé, to pursue faith along with righteousness, godliness, love, and endurance (I Timothy 6:11).

If you sometimes find yourself struggling in the area of faith, remember that most of us do. Yet God patiently works to build up the faith of those who commit to follow Him. This is key! Did you catch it?

God desires us to have the kind of faith which accompanies a commitment to follow Him and keep following Him.

This beautiful understanding was penned in the late 1800’s and set to music, becoming the treasured hymn, Trust and Obey (a favorite from my childhood; we’ve linked the song’s historical origins and music video below). Consider adding a version of Trust and Obey that you like into your music reel. It’s a great way to hit “refresh” on the kind of faith which pleases God while enhancing proper worship of Him.

Faith resulting in God’s approval:

Perhaps it’s already obvious:  the kind of faith which pleases God not only goes against mainstream society, but is less than palatable within some Bible believing churches, families, and friendships.

The faith which trusts and walks with Jesus is a “narrow road” faith (Matthew 7:13-14).

It could well be the “you’re going to lose your friends” faith (John 15:18-19).

It’s a childlike faith which will undoubtedly be ridiculed (Matthew 18:3).

 

Yet it is the grace gift from God to “whosoever will” (Romans 10:13).

It’s the faith which saves the believer from his or her sins (Acts 2:38).

Indeed, it is the faith which leads to salvation through Jesus Christ and eternal joy and fellowship with God (John 5:24; Acts 2:28).

* * *

If it doesn’t already, may I Peter 1:8-9 come to describe a growing, God-pleasing faith in Jesus Christ from deep within your heart:

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

* * *

And remember… while we never want to offend anyone, compassion frequently demands pressing intervention. Share the life-ring: Jesus saves!

* * *

[Link: Historical origin of Trust and Obey]
[Link and side note:  I’m loving this version of Trust and Obey by Jehovah Shalom Acapella (African Edition)!]

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

4 Comments

  • Beryl says:

    Thank you for sharing this blog June! So timely for me as God has been taking me on a faith growing journey the past months. James 1:2-4 “Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith (through experience) produces endurance (leading to spiritual maturity and inner peace). And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed (in your faith) lacking nothing.” What an amazing God, He wants to develop me to the point of nothing lacking in my faith!

  • Becky says:

    What a beautiful version of Trust and Obey from Jehovah Shalom Acapella! Thank you for sharing it! You can’t help but smile watching and listening to them with their wonderfully blended voices!

Leave a Reply