Heb 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
We’ve heard so many preachings on ‘now’ faith, right now. In Scripture, there are many times that people are healed instantly. The lame walked, the maimed were healed, the deaf heard, the dumb spoke.
Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Why is it that we think faith and faithfulness are different? Why were we taught that faith is about what we want or need and faithfulness is about what we do, how we act, or how God acts toward us? Where did this happen?
In the Hall of Faith (Heb 11), it’s full of stories of how various people got blessings because of their faith. How many of them got their faith answered instantly?
Without faith, we cannot be faithful. If we’re not faithful, do we really have faith?
God speaks to Abraham, ‘I’m going to bless you and make you a great nation, like the stars of the heaven and the sand of the seashore.’ A few years go by and nothing happens. He even got ahead of God and did something he should not have, not because he didn’t believe, but because he thought he had to do something in order for the promise to happen. Some people say it was ten years, others say 20 years before Isaac was born. God promised something and Abraham believed. After all, he’s the father of our faith. I don’t think Abraham would have said it was ‘now, right now, faith.’
Moses was born. His mom was given a promise. “Hide him, he’s special. I’m going to use him to deliver his people.’ 40 years go by and he steps out and kills an Egyptian. 40 more years Moses spent in the wilderness. His mom died a slave waiting for her son, the deliver. Did that change anything God said? Did that make God not faithful? 80 years, then the deliverer finally came.
Noah was told to build a boat. Noah had no idea what rain even was. God had to explain something to him because what was he going to say to his sons? Noah had to have faith. How else would the boat have got built? It took 120 years for that boat to be built! His ‘now faith’ was ‘then faith’ and he was faithful. He was full of faith. If you’re full of faith, then you will be faithful in your everyday life, in everything you do.
We’re at church every Sunday, Wednesday, Tuesday prayer. Why? Because we’re waiting for the rapture.
Every Sunday? But, the Superbowl is coming.
Our faith has to become faithful. It has to motivate us to do something over and over again all the while saying that ‘yes, I believe that God is going to do it no matter how long it takes Him to do it.’ He told us the story of the unrighteous judge and the widow who came to him every day asking for justice. Finally, the judge gave her what she asked because she was faithful. Doesn’t the Bible say the race isn’t always to the swift?
Where did we allow this ‘if it doesn’t happen now, just forget about it’? Why do we allow ourselves to think we don’t have to pray or read our Bibles every day? If I have faith then I am always faithful, full of faith.
You go to work every day because you have faith. If you didn’t believe that check was going to be there in a week or two, you wouldn’t be there. You wouldn’t be so faithful.
We know the promises of God are yea and amen, yes and so be it. Do we act like it? What about the prayer when the answer takes it time? What if Daniel stopped after 19 days? Or after 20 days? Israel would have been in bad shape. Because he had faith, he was faithful and he kept praying until he received his answer—the prophecy.
What about when having faith doesn’t just take time? What about when having faith hurts? Something that really, really hurts? People always talk about Job. He had faith and was faithful. He never stopped living for God. He never stopped being faithful. He lost his money and his family and his health. Yet, he remained faithful.
Remember the Shunamite woman? She asked her husband if she could build a room on the side of her house for the prophet to stay in when he came by. The prophet asked her what she wanted. She asked for a son. She was granted her request.
A few years go by and the son has a headache and dies. Talk about having your faith shaken. She grabbed that boy, got a donkey and went to find that prophet. Is she troubled? Is she hurt? Of course! When the servant sees her, he asked ‘is it well?” She said, ‘it is well’ because she had faith even when it hurt. It was painful to believe.
Many of us haven’t had to face that. We have to deal with job loss. But if we take another job we have to miss church or prayer. What about other people who don’t share our faith and even ridicule us for it? What if our families reject us? Do we still remain faithful? Do we have that kind of faith, to remain full of faith?
Faithful and faith are not two separate things. They go hand and hand. Faithful means full of faith. If I am a person of faith, I will be faithful to the things of God, the house of God, and the ways that God calls me to live my life.
‘I can endure all things through Christ.’ ‘I’ve learned how to abound and how to be abased.’ ‘They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings as eagles.’ They that wait, they that wait, they that wait, not the impatient, not the ‘name it and claim it’, but the people that are willing to wait and endure. ‘He that endures to the end shall be saved.’ Not he that hangs out for a little bit or just one day.
God is going to birth something in your life that has never happened before. The birthing pains shall surely come. He’s going to do something, but it will cost and it will be painful. It will put our faith to the test. But, just like when a mother holds that baby for the very first time, it’s going to be worth it. But, it comes with pain and sacrifice. We cannot say that we are people of faith if we are not faithful.
Are we faithful through the tears and laughter?
The Lord is calling us to manifest the faith that is manifested in faithfulness. Faith is not a feeling, but a lifestyle. God’s timing is not ours. In the fullness of time Jesus came. Our faith needs to be faithful.
Excerpted from a sermon preached by: Pastor Skip Christo.