Action Words

Our Pastor suggested we read Hebrews 11 yesterday for day two of our twenty days of prayer. You can go hear to watch today’s video, as well as the previous days.

I wanted to start with the basics and get an actual definition of faith.

Faith is having complete trust or confidence in someone or something, a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Several months ago I had already circled the words, “by faith” throughout Hebrews, but something new jumped off the pages as I read through these verses yesterday . . . it was the actions that had taken place that proved the faith.

Here’s an example in verse 4 – By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith.

  • Abel offered – what did he offer? He offered God his absolute best. Because of that he was approved by God. What does approve mean? It means God expressed a favorable opinion of Abel. In this part of the verse, “and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith” I thought of a few different things:
    • I first thought of those that have gone on to be with the Lord – their story of grace and redemption continues long after they have taken their last breath. The things we do on earth for the Kingdom have a lasting impact long after we are gone.
    • The next thing I learned through these verses in Chapter 11 is sometimes our rewards are never seen here on earth. Our faith and obedience aren’t always rewarded on earth. I think about Oswald Chambers in this instance. He sacrificed so much of his life for the Kingdom, but it wasn’t until after he was gone that his wife published his devotionals and here we are in current day 2020 reaping the benefits of his life and devotion to the Lord.

So I went through Chapter 11 of Hebrews and circled all the words affiliated with the “By faith” phrases. There are a lot so I am going to just make a list and go from there –

By faith:

  • we understand (the universe was created by God)
  • we offer a sacrifice
  • we speak
  • we please God
  • we believe He exists
  • we are motivated by godly fear
  • we obey
  • we show disapproval with the world
  • we go
  • we stay
  • we look forward
  • we receive power
  • we consider God’s faithfulness
  • we will be tested
  • we will receive
  • we offer
  • we consider God’s power
  • we bless
  • we worship
  • we give instruction
  • we protect
  • we know our lineage
  • we don’t fear
  • we put things in motion
  • we walk on solid ground
  • we see walls/bondage fall
  • we welcome/minister to servants

I know there are more and some of these words have similar meanings, but I literally just went through the verses and circled word after word that described what faith looks like.

Faith has action y’all.

I’ve heard it said to me before, and in my early years of sobriety I was foolish enough to say it also, “just have faith  . . . “ but faith is so much more than thinking something in our minds, faith is always followed by something. It is doing. It is putting into motion what we believe, not only in our minds, but our hearts.

I don’t know what the coming days look like. If statistics are correct and I catch the covid-19 virus, unless God does a miracle, I will be among the dead because of my autoimmune diseases. Because of that I’ve reflected on my life the last few weeks. Maybe that’s why, “and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith” jumped off the pages?

Here are a few of the questions I’ve posed to myself and I pose to you today:

  • Have I lived such a life pleasing to the Lord that after I am gone others will continue to learn of Him and His faithfulness?
  • Will my life, after I am gone, point others to Jesus Christ?
  • Does my life exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit to others?

I want to encourage you to ask yourselves those questions. In times of tragedy we either see the best of people or the worse of people.

Be the best.

And act in faith knowing what we say and do today will make an impact for those left behind.

Our lives will make an impact for eternity one way or the other – the question is will my life . . .  your life . . . represent a life of eternity with Jesus Christ because He was your Lord and Savior or will it represent what a life being spent in eternal torment looks like because you rejected Him?

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