The church, as the community of those who believe in Jesus, is made up of people of faith. But what does that faith look like when you lose your job? What good is faith when you suffer loss? Real faith, as Hebrews 11:6 reminds you, believes that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him. At its heart, faith involves looking away from yourself to God.
A recent study suggests that many teenagers hold to a mutant form of Christianity, seeing God as a divine therapist who exists to boost people’s self-esteem. But the study suggests that the teens have been fed this kind of faith by parents and pastors.
In contrast, Hebrews confronts you with a God who is real, one to whom you can be committed, one for whom you can and should be willing to sacrifice Faith includes entrusting yourself to the God who delivers you from his coming judgement. This faith is ultimately faith in Christ. The mistreatment Moses endured was “disgrace for the sake of Christ” Heb. 11:24-26.
The call of Hebrews 11:6 to seek God (borrowing language from Jeremiah’s letter to exiles from Jerusalem, Jeremiah 29) summons you to diligent, self-conscious service of God in the details of your life.
Faith that seeks God always looks away from self to God alone as the Savior. Real faith, however, can never be alone nor can it be idle. It always takes God at his word and then moves in obedience to him. Anything less is simply an empty profession.
Because it focuses on the living and true God, this faith takes you straight to his promises. It gives you hope even when life seems to rob you of it.
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“Has it never dawned upon us that God is valuable for His own sake, that just as personal communion is the highest thing that we know on earth, so personal communion with God is the sublimest height of all? If we value God for His own sake, then the loss of other things will draw us all the closer to Him; we shall then have recourse to Him in time of trouble as to the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith?, p.74, © 1925. Pub. by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
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(Reflections in preparation for the message on August 29, 2010)