What would happen if a contractor sent two of his employees out to dig a ditch and gave one of them a shovel, and gave the other one a spoon? What if the contractor sent two of his employees out to frame up a house and gave one of them a framing hammer while giving the other one a sledge hammer. What would the results be? Well, obviously the crew would have a hard time doing the job the right way with the wrong tools.
When a contractor sends his crew out to do a job, he makes sure that they have the right tools for the job. God is no different in that He gives us the right tools to do the job of building and becoming a right and true Christian. Some of these tools are: Bible Study, Prayer, Fasting, Meditation, and Faith.
Now, letís focus in on FAITH. We can start by looking at what faith is. The best place to start is in the faith chapter: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).
When your buddy asks to borrow your drill, you lend it to him because you trust that he will bring it back. You know this because of the evidence of his past actions.
True godly faith is described in Hebrews 11:6: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
Most of us have possibly had a situation occur in our lives where we have had a major trial or problem arise. The longer the problem persists the bleaker the future looks. And finally when we are at our wits end and we feel like we canít go on, we turn and put our trust and faith in God and the problem starts to disappear. This is the kind of godly Faith that we are talking about, (...the evidence of things not seen...). Itís very hard for us as humans to have this kind of godly Faith because we may not see the results right away, but, this is the kind of faith that God wants us to strive to develop. Luke 17:5 says: "the apostles said unto the Lord, increase our faith". We need to go before God in prayer and ask Him for faith. Faith is a strong tool in the building of our Christianity. A little faith goes a long way. Letís continue in Luke 17:6: "So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." That seems like a mighty big job for such a little amount of faith, but, that just shows the power of true godly Faith.
Letís look at the example of Noah. He and his family were saved from the destruction of the earth by the flood because of their faith. With faith, they carried out Gods instruction to build the ark (Genesis 6). This is a good example of faith and works. James 1:17 tells us "that faith without works is dead". Itís like putting a furnace in your house for the cold winter months, you really need it, but if you donít turn it on when the cold winter months come, then it wonít do you a bit of good. Another example is when God tested Abraham in faith by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen. 22:1-14). In faith, Abraham took Isaac to the place of Godís instruction, built an altar, and placed Isaac on it to be sacrificed. By Abrahamís display of faith and willingness to do as God instructed, Isaac was spared and Abraham was called by God, faithful (Heb. 11:8-17).
Letís take the word faith and break it down by each of itís letters:
F. A. I. T. H.
F is for FORGIVENESS. Faith is forgiveness. Forgiveness is a big part of a Christianís life. We must forgive others before we can be forgiven (Mat. 6;14-15). While Christ was being crucified He said: "Father, Forgive them: for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). We are to follow the examples of Christ.
A is for ATTITUDE. Attitude is a part of faith. We are to have a godly attitude. This is a positive attitude, an attitude of change if necessary, an attitude that will let us put others first. This is a caring and loving attitude, a godly attitude, a golden rule attitude (Mat. 7:12).
I is for INTEGRITY. Integrity is a part of faith. Integrity can be summed up in one word, Honesty. Honesty should be how a true Christian lives his or her life. Proverbs 11:3 says: "The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them". Honesty or Integrity is a must for a Christian to develop true faith.
T is for TEMPTATION and TESTING. Both Temptations and Tests are a part of faith. Letís remember that God Himself does not tempt anyone (James 1:13). There are several examples through out the Bible of Christ as well as His people being Tempted and Tested. Temptations and tests are a part of character building and we are instructed by God to build character, however, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle.
H is for HUMILITY. Humility is also a part of faith. In Romans 12:3 it says: "...through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as to God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Humility is the opposite of pride, it must be a part of our Christian character.
In summary I would like to tell you
a story. Itís called "THE RACE".
"Quit! Give up! Your beaten they shouted, thereís just to much against you, you canít win. These were some of the words I recall hearing that day. It was a childrenís race that started the day. There was fear and excitement in the air as we lined up and waited for the starters shot. Each boy there had the same goal in mind, to win the race."
"As all our fathers cheered for us, we each hoped that we would be the one, the one to win the race. The shot was fired and the race was on and in no time a young man was out in front leading the pack. All of a sudden the boy in front slipped and fell, Now, from the crowd he heard his father say "get up and win the race". So he jumped back up, and was only a little bit behind the others, and as he started to pick up speed to catch up, he lost his balance and fell again. By now he was thinking about giving up and quitting the race but again he heard his father say "Get up and win the race". He thought for a moment, "I will have to move really fast", at this point he was behind about 10 yards. Listening to his father, he got up and started to run again. He started to run again and was giving it every thing he had and he gained about 8 yards. Just as he was starting to make his sprint for the finish line he slipped and fell again. By now he felt like the biggest loser, He thought thereís no since in trying anymore, it was over." "Just then he heard his father again say "Get up and win the race, Get up and win the race". So one more time he got up and started to run."
"He knew he was to far back now to win but he ran anyway. As he ran he heard the crowd cheer for the boy up in front that had just crossed the finish line to win first place, but he kept on running. By now all the other runners were finished and he too was coming close to the end. As he crossed the finish line the crowd cheered twice as loud for him and at that point he realized what his father was saying to him, "Get up and win the race", that it meant more than crossing the finish line first. Winning the race meant that every time you stumble or fall, you get back up and go again."
A Christianís life is not an easy life. We have many trials
and stumbling blocks. God wants us to fight hard for His way of life. He wants
us to run the race as hard as we can and look to Him in faith, knowing that
through Him, all things are possible. Itís going to be a great day when Jesus
Christ returns to set up Godís kingdom and we can look at Jesus and say what
the Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7: "I have fought a good fight, I
have finished my race, I have kept the faith". Lets fight the good
fight, lets finish the race, and lets keep the Faith.