More than to believe
If “faith” is the noun, “to believe” should be the verb. But when learning about faith, we see that real faith requires more than a single action. But the Bible’s chapter of faith, Hebrews 11, shows us there are more verbs related to faith than to believe. In the list of heroes of faith, there are nineteen selected persons. Depending on the Bible version you read, you might find about 80 verbs in this chapter. Some of them are about the practice of faith. Others are the result of that practice. However, the point here is that faith should be something clearly demonstrated in every single Christian life. As James states, “I will show you my faith by my works (my action)” (James 2:18)
In the Old or New Testament, the truth is the same: “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:10; Habakkuk 2:4)
Christian life happens by faith. Works of faith, the doings of faith, are vividly and powerfully described in the Bible. The examples used in Hebrews 11 don’t crush our soul with commandments or unreachable maturity, but encourages us to stand as overcomers in any time of trial. God is inviting us to sign our names in that hall of fame. For that, we need to actively use our faith.
I once visited the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If I can be openly honest with you, it was such a disappointment. The surroundings reeked of urine. Drug dealers were spread all over the path. There were so many souvenirs stores it made it hard to appreciate anything. I could not stop asking myself, “What is the benefit of having your name here?” Artists, directors and famous icons have their names on The Walk of Fame, but there is a better list to write your name. The list of those that believe. How can your have your name there? It is a matter of activating your faith. This is what we want help you to do. Faith is something internal and personal. There’s a belief in the world that says no one should judge your faith or somebody else’s faith based on exterior things. But this is not what the Word of God says.
Hebrews chapter 11 is the faith chapter in the Bible. There we can find the very meaning of faith. Let’s look into those verses.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
The Amplified version adds a little more insight:
“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” (Hebrews 11:1 – AMPC) Faith is a “title deed.” Whenever you buy a house or an apartment, the guarantee that you really own that property is the title deed. Maybe you don’t even go to live in the house. Maybe you’ll never enter the house, but it doesn’t matter at the end of the day. If you have the title deed, you own the property, whether you experience it or not. The proof, the assurance that the property belongs to you, is not that you are using it, but if you have the title deed.
This illustration works in reverse too. Without the title deed, even if you sincerely desire that promise, you won’t be able to enjoy it. It comes down to truly having the faith that guarantees you the right of that blessing.
Faith is our “title deed.” With it, we enter the experience of blessings and favor. It is yours already; for all the promises of God, in Christ Jesus, we now have the yes and Amen (2 Corinthians 1:20). You have the right over everything God assigned for you. If you have faith, you have the deed. If you enjoy it or not, it depends on your action of faith toward that blessing.
Faith is the evidence of things we can not see or perceive with our senses. If you have never experienced any of God’s miracles, it doesn’t mean they are not for you. You are still the heir of God’s inheritance.
Not only earthly prosperity
A big issue with the theme of faith is that it can be misused to the point that some sincere Christians immediately categorize it as a “prosperity gospel” message. But the faith the Bible teaches is much more profound than that. Biblical faith is not for earthly prosperity alone. Actually, the intent of God in maturing our faith is to free us from attaching our hearts to the things of this world.
“…you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” (Hebrews 10:34)
God desires you to have a faith that frees you from the love of things. If we just learn to see that real prosperity happens when, even without natural assets, we are still blessed and highly favored.
Real faith believes that we have the title deed of a property in a much better place than this world could ever assure us.
If you are looking for real wealth, discover what is really valuable. There is nothing in this world, no “real state” that can ever be compared to what God has prepared for those that believe. But we must value what He values.
A new sense of what is valuable
When Christians relate the use of faith solely to acquire earthly blessings, they miss the point of biblical faith. Real faith can enable us to receive natural blessings, but to limit faith only to that use is to devalue the preciousness of faith. What is valuable for you? Think of something that you cherish and esteem, something valuable, not for its financial or economic price. What makes this object so valuable to you? Maybe it is unique. Or maybe there is a treasured memory with it. Despite the market price for that object, you hold it dear and precious. Perhaps, someone special gave it to you. This valuable object is original and one of a kind, and because no one else has it, it is very personal to you.
For God, faith is the same way, it is extremely valuable. God esteems it more than anything else we can ever give Him. We are talking about genuine faith. Real and original faith is hard to find nowadays.
“… when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Luke 18:8)
Faith is precious because it is rare. We are not talking about “fake faith.” We find this kind on every corner. People believe in their mind-made-god and try to fit the unfathomable, glorious God, creator-of-all-the-universe in their opinions and desires.
We are talking about persisting faith, the genuine and original faith that comes from the right maker.
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Valuable faith is the faith founded in Christ. If I scribble a painting with my poor artistic skills and viewpoint, my final artwork might be worth a couple of nickels. But if you get the drafts of Picasso, people would pay millions for it. God also values what comes from the original author, His Son, Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. The type of “Jesus-made-faith” isn’t shaken and endures trials. This type of faith is precious and valuable to the one who carries the signature of Jesus.
Here is an aspect of faith that people don’t like: proving the genuineness of your faith is often done through trials.
“… if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 6-7)
Think about why gold is so valuable: it is hard to find. It is a unique metal. It has properties that no other metal has. Fire does not destroy it; instead, it purifies, making the gold even more refined.
There is a faith that brings miracles and blessings. Without it, your Christian life is weak and miserable. However, there is also a faith that writes our name in history. Faith that endures trial and embraces the test of fire as a means to purify it and increase its value.
Overcomers are born from battles
The Lord is leading us to be a church of overcomers. But overcomers are made through battles of faith.
“And they, (the overcomers), have conquered him (the devil or Satan), by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Revelation 12:11 – author’s notes)
The Christian battle is a fight of faith, the absolute trust in the finished work of Jesus. When we believe in the power of the blood of the Lamb, the tempter and accuser is defeated. The devil is the Greek name for the enemy and points to his deceitful schemes, the temptations that he plans against us. Satan is the Hebrew name of our enemy, and it speaks of his ultimate weapon against the children of God, accusation. Despite all his endeavors, we will overcome, because we believe in the blood of the Lamb.
But the victory of faith is not passive. We have to enter into it. The way to do that is opening our mouths and testifying about our redemption and salvation, even in the face of death, sustaining the testimony of the truth. There is only one truth truth that gives victory: The blood of Jesus has power, His finished work is sufficient.
A great way to activate this victory is through communion. When we eat and drink from the Lord’s table, we announce His conquest over every attempt of the enemy. A sense of security and peace will flood your heart, even if death screams threats against you, because the blood of Jesus made the way to the Father. Now we can come with boldness before the throne of grace and receive mercy and grace for every need.
The valuable faith sustains the testimony of this truth: the blood of Jesus is enough. There are no treasures in this life compared to the worth of this faith, not even life itself. We hold our own lives as cheap in order to maintain this faith and witness. Let us all be able to stand on that Day with confidence to affirm the same words of the apostle:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)