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Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Risk of Believing

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 NIV

As a follower of Jesus Christ I find that my life experiences often cause me to question the many mysteries of God. I am looking forward to the day when I can sit with Jesus and ask him about some of the things that I find perplexing in this life. I have found that the more I pursue my Savior, the more he reveals tiny glimpses of heavenly truth. Today my heart is longing for more understanding. The garden gate only needs me to open it and step onto the path that leads to the garden of my heart. Today the thought of spending time with the Gardener fills my heart with both eagerness and joy. My step quickens as I swiftly make my way along the colorful floral pathway that leads to my favorite bench in the garden. My eyes are searching far beyond my steps as I anticipate seeing my Lord. Ah ha! There he is, standing near our spot, as always, awaiting my arrival with a smile.
On this beautiful day I waste no time as I begin our conversation by asking him, “Why is it so hard for non-believers to grasp faith? Lord, I find that so many are curious about you but faith in the unseen seems to be the stumbling block. The educated mind of man requires proof. Lack of physical proof causes many to doubt your existence and proclaims that eternal life is a fantasy. Their unbelief wants to see evidence they can see and touch. They want facts. They are not going to put themselves in a position of looking stupid because they presume themselves to be far more intelligent than that!”
Then Jesus begins to teach me about simple faith. “Faith is revealed when an individual takes the risk to believe in me. Before that moment their eyes are blind to the truth.” Then he reminded me about Thomas, who was one of his followers. Thomas had been privileged to walk with him during his earthly ministry. He had heard Jesus teach. His eyes had seen both Jesus and his miracles. Yet Thomas had allowed the despair of Jesus’ death on the cross to blind his eyes to the truth of his resurrection. After the ten other disciples had seen Jesus they told Thomas that Jesus had risen. Thomas’ reply was that he would NOT believe it unless he could see and touch Jesus’ wounds. Jesus in his love and goodness gave Thomas that opportunity and then Thomas believed. After Thomas’ physical senses had been satisfied, Jesus spoke these words to him. “Because you have seen me, you believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 NIV These are amazing words of hope and blessing to us who did not have the earthly privilege of walking with Jesus.
God's Word is clear that believing is a risk we must take before we can experience the opportunity to exercise faith. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV  Every individual must recognize that God is the creator of all and that he or she needs God in their life. After one acknowledges they have a need for God, it only requires faith the size of a mustard seed for them to ask God to meet that need! After we take the risk of believing this truth and ask God to forgive our sin and ask him to guide our life, he does. Then the Holy Spirit comes into our life and takes up residence. We never see him, we simply hope for what the Holy Spirit begins to reveal to us. It is not a hope that is shrouded in doubt, but rather it is a hope that is illuminated with promise. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever (takes the risk) and believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV These words are God’s words of promise to every individual who chooses to believe that their Creator loves them and that he cannot lie. Yes, this is a risk worth taking! People must not stumble over their inability to understand faith because faith that hopes follows belief and faith that hopes will be revealed beyond the risk.
Faith beyond the risk is a choice we make as a Believer because we choose to trust God. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NIV The faith that is needed for God’s grace to flow through our life is small. Our life before experiencing God’s forgiveness is a mountain of sin and if it were not for God’s grace, that sin could never be removed. I am so thankful that God does not insist that we understand all of his ways before we can experience his way. When Jesus spoke of faith he did not insist that we drum up huge amounts of faith. He knows that we are weak and are made of dust. In Matthew 17:20 he simply suggested that when we have faith the size of a mustard seed, that small amount of faith is all that would be needed for us to remove mountains. God’s ways are feasible not impossible!
After taking the risk we begin to see things we have never before seen. Our belief has now opened the door for us to experience a strong unshakable faith.

  • By faith we believe that the universe was formed at God’s command not out of things that were visible. Hebrews 11:2
  • We learn that without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6
  • We know first hand that our righteousness comes only by placing our faith in the only one who is righteous, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:7
  • By faith we look forward to the city (the New Jerusalem) with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:10
  • By faith we believe that the giver of all his promises can be trusted. Hebrews 11:11
  • By faith we believe that what God has promised will come to pass even if we don’t see it in our lifetime. Hebrews 11:13
  • It is by faith we have the courage to trust God in all things. Hebrews 11:17-19
  • It is by faith we trust God with the future. Hebrews 11:21
  • It is by faith we choose to align our life with God’s people rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time because by faith we look ahead to our non- perishable reward. Hebrews 11:24-26
  • By faith we do not fear what man can do to us because we know that God has planned something better that will last for all eternity. Hebrews 11:40
Simply put, faith for a non-believer is an unknown commodity. Their eyes are blind to faith. They do not understand it! But as soon as they take the risk, faith is within their grasp and they begin the process of understanding the mystery of faith. It is a precious thought to know that God has chosen to reveal things to his children that others do not see. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals and gives understanding to each new Believer in small doses as he is able to understand. This will continue throughout the life of all Believers. Spiritual knowledge will not be completely understood until we reach heaven. Here in the garden today, I am overcome with the many blessings that are mine though being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see. For me it has been, is, and always will be well worth taking the risk!

  1. Are you someone who is contemplating taking the risk of trusting Jesus?
  2. What was the last risk in life that you took?
  3. Before taking that risk did you have all the information that would assure you that things would end well?
  4. Did you learn more after taking the risk?
  5. What will be the consequence for you if you refuse to take the risk of believing in Jesus Christ and his forgiveness?
  6. If you have already taken the risk, what do you love the most about your faith?

Dear God,
Help me to realize that it is your character to love and redeem those you have created. I remember that once I was hopelessly lost and eternally separated from you. I was without a hope or a future before I chose to risk loving you. I still stand amazed that the God of the universe, my Creator, wanted to restore me back into his fellowship. I am astounded that you wanted me to risk coming to you so that you could place me under the umbrella of your personal eternal protection, which is none other than the sacrificial blood of your precious son, Jesus Christ. Father, I am so grateful that someone told me of your love and that I mustered up what little belief I needed to come to you and allow you to remove the sin that separated me from you. Father I thank you for your forgiveness and restoration. God, I pray for those who find it so impossible to embrace believing in you. I especially pray for those who allow their perceived intelligence to be a stumbling block that continues to separate them from you. Father, give them the courage to take the risk of believing without seeing or understanding. I pray that they will know the joy and peace that comes into their life at the exact moment when they take the risk of believing in you and what you can do in their life. Speak to those who do not know you and the power of your love. Create within their life a need for you and then call them to take risk. I pray that those you call will be obedient and then experience knowing the hope of eternal life.
It is in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.