May 02 2012, 10:13 am | Bill Elliff
Everything in the Christian life, on the human side, revolves around faith. It is through faith that we enter into a relationship with Christ and through faith that we operate in that relationship. It is the primary foundation for our communion with our Creator.
So, what is faith?
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith begins by hearing from the Lord just as Paul said ("Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17). When we hear God's word to us—about life in general or a specific issue, the question then is, "Will we believe Him? Will we depend on Him alone and walk and talk like what He says is really true? Will we re-orient our life on the basis of this conviction?" When faith is present it brings something mighty to us...the assurance that we will experience what we hope for and the conviction that what is not seen is a genuine reality.
No one can "drum up" this belief. You cannot manufacture it or act like it's there when God has given you no basis for faith. Many people try to believe without hearing from God. They trump up their emotion into a lather and say, "It is so" when it is not so. This is not faith, but mere presumption and will yield no lasting fruit.
Most of the promises that engender faith are the simple, clear, normative promises of His word. “My God shall supply all of your needs through His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19); “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33), and on and on. Over 7,000 such promises are spelled out by a faithful God in His word.
My mother, when my dad left her for another at 65 years of age, was crying out to God and the Lord gave her, she believed, the following promise:
14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation.”
They were both in their mid-sixties when this tragedy occurred. On my mother's deathbed at 67, she heard my father’s voice as he called her to ask forgiveness. God had rescued him and his repentance was deep and lasting.
I will see my dad next week. He is 94 years old and in incredible health. He has lived a long life and each day thanks God for His redemption. The last few years have seen the widest expansion of his ministry as he has spoken to thousands of pastors at Southwestern Seminary and then at the Southern Baptist Convention. He began that message at Southwestern with this statement: "No man can rise so high that he cannot fall, and no man can fall so low that he cannot rise by the grace of God."
My mother’s faith saw these days 30 years ago. Not the particulars, but the reality of God’s rescue. She received God's word and it became the conviction of her heart through faith that God would do what He'd promised.
Blessed, life-changing faith. Blessed, faithful God!
Order Bill's books here including "The Child of 10,000 Names" and "WhiteWater".