Faith That Pleases God
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Written by Jack Hayford
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Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1
Faith is the essence of our relationship to God and the instrument by which the gift of salvation is received: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Jesus, in teaching the lesson of the withered fig tree (Mark 11:20-26), demonstrates that faith is the key that releases the resources of heaven into our situation. He tells the astonished disciples, “Have faith in God…whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (vv. 22, 24). Strong’s defines this kind of faith as conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness, and persuasion. In the New Testament setting, it is the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust, and reliance in God and all that He says.
In seeking to deepen our understanding of faith, as well as our faith itself, let’s look at the three different expressions of faith which every believer can express: saving faith, redeeming faith, and triumphant faith.
Saving faith is faith that believes unto salvation. When we are born again into His heavenly family, our faith secures the promises of God for personal peace, the companionship of His daily presence, and the promise of eternal life with Him.
Saving faith is honest, because it admits, “I have sinned.” Saving faith is humble, because it says, “I need the Lord.” And saving faith is accepting, because it states, “I receive the blessings and benefits of Christ’s sacrifice.”
God seeks to redeem His people for His purpose, and He desires to teach us to become instruments of His redeeming power to others. Though few of us can see past our brokenness and failures, they are no obstacle to God. His purpose is always achieved through broken people who simply made themselves available to Him.
Becoming an instrument of redeeming faith isn’t easy. When faced with a messy situation, we’re tempted to just trash-it and start over. That’s because it’s easier to create than it is to redeem. Our culture values starting anew, and as a consequence, virtually everything, from children in the womb to marriage, is available for trashing.
Redeeming faith accepts God’s terms, waits on God’s timing, and endures apparent hopelessness. The unfolding of God’s works in our life comes about because of our submission to His will and yielding to His Word. It is redeeming faith through which the Lord restores what has been lost in your past, and then beyond that, makes you an instrument of helping other people be recovered.
Most people think of triumphant faith as “push-button” faith—that things happen “just like we believed, just like that!” Sometimes answers do come immediately, but there are other times when we’re tempted to give up because the trial of faith is long and seems almost helpless.
We walk in triumphant faith when we recognize our value in God’s sight and the power of His might. Triumph comes out of living faith, not religious pretension. Living faith is what the Bible calls our “treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7). That “treasure” is the life of His Son that He’s put in us. Our humanness is the “earthen vessel,” and there are times, friend, when you and I are just having our “earth” moment.
Those moments never disqualify us from being a person of triumphant faith, but the key lies in our continuing to stand on God’s Word, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
This is the evidence that God’s purpose is never defeated in people who stand their ground and wait for Him to show up, even when they feel as hopeless and questioning as Jesus Himself did on the Cross. “My God, why have You forsaken Me?” This is the sinless Son of God speaking questions to the Father. We are not hearing doubt or fear, but rather what human beings – those “earthen vessels” – experience.
Triumphant faith confronts the spirit of doubt and fear and makes a choice to clearly identify it and present it to God. The Lord is constantly available to hear you when your heart is afraid or in doubt. He’s the Most High God, and He isn’t irritated or troubled when we open our hearts to Him. The psalmist writes, “I sought the Lord, and He delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). If I didn’t tell God my fears, He couldn’t deliver me from them.
Triumphant faith holds firm, looks to Jesus, and praises the Lord in the middle of whatever trial or difficulty we face. Present yourself in your frailty, your humanity, and your need. We are the subjects of God’s highest purpose, and not one of us will be forsaken. Declare, “Lord I will triumph by Your grace, and by the excellence of the power that is Yours taking me through.”