Hebrews chapter 11 is famous as the hall of fame of the heroes of faith who they lived out their lives by faith. “By faith” is a fundamental principle. It is how we enter the Christian journey, but it is also how we continue along it. It means that we live out our lives in dependence on God, and that is glorious because He is absolutely dependable. However the flip-side of depending on God is not relying on ourselves. We must not trust our own abilities or resources to see us through: as the hymn says “we dare not trust our own”.
In Heb 11:6 we read that God “rewards those who seek Him.” This verse summarises the truth that the long list of examples illustrates. Men and women who truly seek God glorify Him because in doing so they are declaring and living out their dependence upon God. They are saying “God, I need You! If You don’t come through for me I am hopelessly lost. I want to live by faith in You, not by faith in me.” This kind of prayer does not lead to weakness or low self-esteem. On the contrary, it leads to great triumph in Christ. By faith we can dream dreams and do exploits for God. By faith we can fulfil the glorious potential that God has planted within us.
The “by faith” heroes have in common that they claimed the promise knowing that it could only be fulfilled by the intervention of God. When Abraham received the promise of a son in his old age, he knew that only the power of God could make that happen. When Moses went to speak on behalf of the children of Israel, he knew that they could never prevail against the mighty nation of Egypt unless God intervened.
We express our “by faith” dependence and trust by in everything asking God for direction and help. But are we praying any Hebrews 11 “by faith” prayers? Are we asking God for anything that really cannot happen unless He shows up? We need to seek God to show us what bold “by faith” prayers He wants us to be praying. Who knows what lost people, what crying needs, what terrible injustices He will lay on our hearts! Through “by faith” prayers we can become world changers. Be it in a small way or a big way that is what God calls us to be!
Yours in Christ,
Ian Thompson (Acting pastor)