3-24-2019 Have it God's Way


March 24, 2019


I want to continue thoughts on faith with just a short observation today.


All of us has been asked, perhaps directly, perhaps indirectly, what FAITH really is. The testimony of my experience states that if you’re typical of most believers, your response is to reference Hebrews 11:1. Maybe not verbatim but perhaps with a good paraphrase that doesn’t lose the base message of the verse. Additionally, since many Christians are able to give the biblical address of this verse from memory, you may have added that reference as well.


Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.


My question though is whether the response is “head knowledge” or “heart knowledge”. I ask that because unfortunately, the word “assurance” as well as “conviction” is too often deemphasized and the words “hoped for” receives prominence. The result of this tendency means “stepping out in faith” mimics the prayer life of too many Christians today. We go to God with metaphorically crossed fingers “hoping” 1. He’ll respond… and 2. if He does respond, that it will be in a way we perceive as positive to our needs. By doing so, rather than “trust” God, our real desire is to “guide” God.


Because of that desire it’s significant to note that the phrase “hoped for” in this verse has nothing to do with “wishing” for. In fact, the Greek word translated “hope” here is also translated “trust” and “expected” in other places in God’s Word. True faith therefore, is the “assurance of conviction” that God will always answer our petitions in His perfect will according to His perfect timing.


The assurance is, He does… God always answers our petitions… immediately. Whether it is ‘yes”, ‘no”, or “wait” there is always an immediate response. There is never a moment in time He ignores our petitions. If we approach Him “hoping” for His response and looking for confirmation of our solution we might as well roll the dice… read tea leaves… or depend on a horoscope… all contrary to God.


The misconception concerning God’s response to our plea becomes evident in our failing to acknowledge that His answer will always be according to His perfect will… not as we perceive our needs should be answered. There have been times that I have reflected back and considered that this is the very reason at times that I have missed God’s movement in my life. What I hoped for was not what God knew I needed and even though He was faithful and provided what I needed… I was so intensely looking for “my answer” I missed God’s perfect movement.


For faith to have preeminence in our lives we must face that, as humans, we battle a mixture of emotions that, if we’re honest, affect our true faith. These emotions run the gambit… fear, hope, uncertainty, love, hate, panic, satisfaction, including the urge to either fight or flight. When you add to these emotions the list of desires, both selfish and non-selfish, our faith has a tendency to become contingent on God answering our petitions “our way”.


I heard a new title to parenting this week facilitated by the college entrance fiasco… “bull-dozer parenting”. This is where parents are constantly clearing the path for their children. Removing the obstacles, taking the bumps out of the road, “giving them” what they should be “earning”. In doing so, they rob their child of emotional, social and even spiritual growth… strengthening of character… and yes… even faith. Faith is for our character building. Drawing us into a closer relation with God.


Solomon summed this up very well…


Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.


Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry