Dec 10

When faith isn’t enough

Have faith in your faith. Just believe. Do you feel God? Feel the Spirit. There is MORE to faith than these trite sayings…

Faith is the foundation of modern Christianity. It can seem shaky because we teach faith based on platitudes of goodness, love and on the testimony of men and women 2,000 years removed. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). What? I have a hard time getting my mind around this verse on faith.

Without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to God must believe that He is (exists) and that He rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Faith is essential to the Christian walk. But, how do we have faith in someone we can’t see? I completely trust in the absolute authority of the Word of God. However, these verses on faith are difficult for me to understand and put into practice.

Say “NO” to emotional faith

Walking with a faith based on emotions and we are vulnerable to the least difficulty of life.

If I don’t feel God, is He there? Does He hear my prayers? The answer is YES. Even when we don’t feel God, He is there and will answer our prayers. He hasn’t left us. In the bad times, the sadness, the struggle, the depression, He is there.

This, again, sounds trite– it sounds like encouragement with false hope. But, this one is TRUE. We believe what God says because He doesn’t lie. It is not in His nature to lie. Jews daily remind themselves of God’s faithfulness. Several times a day they recite prayers to remind themselves of how God rescued them from slavery in Egypt. They recall the miracle allowing them to escape across a body of water on dry ground! We need to make remembrance a priority in our spiritual lives. God has done amazing things for His people and is able to make a way for us too. Truth is our foundation–absolute truth that does not shift or waiver. If we base our faith on truth instead of feelings, we will be rock solid!

Christ the solid rock

Base your faith on Christ, the solid rock. The Bible (and pastors) tell us He is truth, incapable of lying. His promises never fail us. If we build our lives on anything other than Jesus, we will be dissatisfied. Neither fame nor fortune, relationships nor things will ever be able to fill the void. Buried deep within the center of our being, we long for purpose and meaning. Put your faith, hope and trust in man (or woman) and you will be let down 100% of the time.

How do you fill this void? Become like King David. He loved God’s word; he loved God’s law. Study the Bible by yourself and especially with others. Talk about the passages. Understand how it all fits together. I highly recommend studying the Bible itself and not doing a teacher’s 10-week study. Dig into the Bible and use commentaries. My weekly group did this with the book of Jeremiah. This is a complicated book but very worthwhile to study! One of the members made a timeline to help us understand the history of kings. Some people used Wiersbe. I used J. Vernon McGee. We went chapter by chapter and taught each other. At the end of the study, I received an unexpected surprise… When you understand the book of Jeremiah, it helps you understand several other books of the Old Testament! I’m talking about books you might not otherwise read like 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, Daniel, Lamentations, and Ezekiel. All of these books feed off of the story in Jeremiah.

Nuggets I received from the book of Jeremiah:

  • Jeremiah was considered successful in the eyes of God yet he had ZERO converts. Nobody listened to him.
  • The remnant taken to Babylon (the people in the story of Daniel) were the ones who were faithful to God. This capture was God’s provision and later blessing. This remnant later formed the group to go back and rebuild the Temple.

The secret to faith: a relationship with Jesus

I don’t have faith in my faith nor hope in my hope; I have faith in the Trinity, Father, Son, Spirit. Christians are not weak people walking through life leaning on the crutch of Jesus. We can have evidence, proof, legs to stand on our faith! Where do we get this proof? Judaism.

When you study Judaism you will see meaning and significance to the life, death and resurrection of our Savior. When you study the Temple and the sacrifices you will understand why Jesus was called the Lamb of God and the significance of events that took place in the Temple at the time of His death. The stories of the Old Testament, the rituals, the feasts all point to the saving work of Jesus Christ.

Example

Do you think Jesus died on some random day? Do you think the Jews or the Romans killed Him? NO! He laid down His life at precisely the right time.

Jesus died during the feast of Passover. It’s a holiday of travel–all males were required to go to Jerusalem to sacrifice a lamb at the Temple. These lambs were not just any lamb, they were perfect male lambs, killed in their prime, born in Bethlehem. This is also why Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem.

The very hour that Jesus died on the cross was exactly the same hour the lambs were sacrificed in the Temple. When Jesus finally passed away, the Bible says the giant curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom. A curtain over 12 feet tall and so heavy and large it took 100 men to carry it tore on its own!

Even more incredible was the fact that merely entering this inner sanctum was strictly prohibited. The Holy of Holies was the special place that could be entered only once a year and only after the priest was cleansed completely. If he didn’t cleanse himself to God’s specifications, death was imminent. The Holy of Holies was where the Spirit of God dwelt. Jesus died on the cross and got rid of the need for the blood of an animal to cleanse us from our sins. Instead of dwelling in a building, Jesus’ Spirit will live in us if we ask Him.

Why did Jesus stay buried?

A better question is why did Jesus rise from the dead on Sunday morning? The Sunday after Passover is a feast known as Firstfruits. Jesus is shouting to the world the promise of eternal life! Therefore, instead of focusing on Jesus being in the grave and where was He, focus on why He waited and what it means. Bodily rising from the dead, Jesus promises the same for us one day. The first of everything belongs to God: animals, crops, first born male, etc.

When we put our faith in the all-powerful, holy, truthful person of Jesus Christ, we can stand rock solid! Today is the day to begin a relationship with the God of the universe. Everything and everyone in this life will let you down. They cannot fill the emptiness inside no matter how hard you try. Only a relationship with Jesus can fill the empty space. Seek Him while He is found, call on Him while He is near…