Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:1,4,7,8,23,28-30
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did.
By faith Noah built an ark to save his family.
By faith Abraham, when called to go, obeyed and went
By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born
By faith Moses kept the Passover
By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land
By faith the walls of Jericho fell
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
As Christians we understand that it is through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus that we are put right with God. His death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin and his resurrection gives us new life today and eternal life in heaven. Putting it simply, we are saved by faith.
Salvation by faith, though, is only the beginning of the Christian life, we are also called to walk by faith. I wonder what it might mean for you to walk by faith.
Walking by faith need not be something spectacular; the great heroes of faith, as described in Hebrews chapter 11, did some very ordinary things. Abel offered a sacrifice, Noah built a boat, albeit a big one, Abraham moved house and Moses’ parents hid their baby from murderers. What turned these relatively ordinary events into a walk of faith is that they were done in response to what God asked the people to do.
The key to walking by faith is hearing, or discerning, what God is calling us to do and then responding in obedience. For some this might indeed mean changes in lifestyle or refocussing our priorities, while for others it might simply mean getting out of bed in the morning and putting one foot in front of the other when the circumstances of life seem to be stacked against you.
Discerning God's will need not be complicated. There are many guiding principles in the scriptures that help us. Principles like forgiving one another, loving one another, serving one another, giving to those in need and proclaiming the good news of Jesus. And above all of these the principle of loving the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.
Sometimes walking by faith means taking a path that we wouldn’t normally choose to take. An extreme example of this is in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus struggled with the prospect of his coming crucifixion but prayed the following words ‘Yet not my will but yours be done.’
The path that Jesus was called to follow is a path we are not likely to be called to take, but I wonder how willing we are to make choices in life out of obedience to God, rather than out of our own particular preferences?
Father God, you have called me to walk by faith.
Give me the grace to hear the prompting of your Holy Spirit, and the obedience to follow your guiding.
By faith we see the hand of God.