“Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Hebrews 11:16).
Sometimes a verse of Scripture gets under our skin and burrows itself deep inside and will not leave us alone. This is such a text for me.
It comes right in the middle of a tribute to some Old Testament citizens who nailed the faith thing. By faith Noah built an ark. By faith Abraham left home without a clue where he would end up. By faith Moses walked away from the palace and threw his lot in with the Hebrew slaves.
Faith means a) I have evidence but b) still have questions.
Faith means a) I believe in the Lord God but b) there are still some parts of the puzzle missing.
Faith means I decide to go forward with the evidence I have and the belief present. The missing pieces may or may not show up, the questions may or may not get answered, but the evidence I have is sufficient.
“You believe in God,” our Lord said. “Now, believe in Me also.” (John 14:1)
Faith means we do things to express that faith. Claiming we have faith or professing our faith is not enough. We do faith.
–The men who brought their paralyzed buddy to Jesus found themselves unable to get into the small house due to the crowd. They held a quick conference and decided in his condition, their friend would not be able to lie there on the pallet and wait for the meeting to end and the crowd to disperse. That’s why they did what they did.
The four carried their friend up the outside steps onto the flat roof of the tiny house, and laid him down gently. Then, they proceeded to tear into the roof. (It’s important to remember these were simpler houses than yours.) Clearing an opening, they then lowered the paralytic into the room where the Lord was.
These guys believed in Jesus, that’s for sure.
“When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins be forgiven you'” (Mark 2:5).
He saw their faith. The faith of the four was on full display in that little house that day.
Now. Think about that.
Others were still trying to figure Jesus out and some were trying to get their questions answered and their doubts eased. But the four went with the faith they had and took extraordinary measures to demonstrate their confidence in Jesus.
If I may be so crude as to put it this way, The Lord is a patsy for someone with faith.
He’s a pushover for someone who believes in Him against all odds.
Or, put another way, the quickest way to thrill His heart is to show that we believe in Him.
Look at the leper in Mark 1 who, contrary to all laws and customs, ran to the Lord Jesus and threw himself at His feet. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean!”
Don’t miss the faith in that. You can make me clean.
He wasn’t sure if the Lord was willing, but he had no doubts He was able.
That’s why the Lord did what He did. “Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be cleansed.'” (Mark 1:40ff.)
How are you showing your faith in the Lord Jesus these days?
Here are a few ways I’ve seen people charm the heart of the Savior by their faith.
- His parents forbade him from going to church. But he went anyway and gave his heart to Christ. Then, he returned home and confessed what he’d done. When his family ousted him, he loved them and prayed for them and believed God for their salvation. In time, he was able to lead every family member to Christ.
- She figured her budget and knew she could not do everything she wanted to do, or even needed to do. And yet, she knew in her heart the Lord wanted her to give to the missions offering at church. She did it. And over the years she grew and grew in her giving (as well as all the other areas of her Christian life). She testifies that not once has the Lord failed to keep His good promises to her or to take care of all her needs.
- When the church board decided the pastor should not preach on certain subjects which some in the church found objectionable, that faithful minister refused to play their little games. He preached the whole Word of God and soon found himself without a church. But God in Heaven took note of that wicked bunch while doubling the reward of that faithful brother. These days, he preaches in jails and nursing homes and wherever he can find two or three to listen.
- He was frightened out of his wits by thoughts of witnessing to strangers. Nevertheless, he went down the road and welcomed the new family that had just moved in. He told them about the neighborhood and how to find a good pharmacy, and about several excellent churches in the area. When they bumped into each other at the high school football game, they sat together and became friends. And in time, they brought the subject up. “You go to church, don’t you? We’ve thought of starting.” And last week, he led them to Christ.
- He told the boss what the company was doing was illegal and unethical. When the boss scowled and suggested what he could do, he simply walked away and found other work. What that company went bankrupt, the former boss was a broken man and needed a friend. Now, he was able to share the gospel with him.
- She is hurting, every joint in her body aches, and the doctors say there’s nothing more they can do. But she sings. Oh man, does she ever sing! Her favorite is “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” She knows.
I say to you and to these, that “God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Or, put another way, He is proud of them!
That is the desire of the heart of every child of the Heavenly Father: to make Him proud.
And nothing does that like daily obedience, in good times and bad.
We must not let someone discourage us with warnings about insufficient faith. “Oh, God didn’t answer you because you don’t have faith enough.” That’s almost always wrong. Jesus said if we had faith as a mustard seed, we could do miracles (Luke 17:6).
It doesn’t take much faith. We just have to go with what we have.
To sit around waiting on our faith to grow or additional faith to drop down out of the sky is a fool’s game. Faith grows when it is put to use. Faith grows through reading the Word and putting it into practice (Romans 10:17).
Faith grows through obedience.
“This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).