Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What is Faith?

Readings for the Day
Jeremiah 3-4, John 11

Verses for the Day - Jeremiah 3:20
“‘How gladly would I treat you like my children
and give you a pleasant land,
the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’
I thought you would call me ‘Father’
and not turn away from following me.
But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,
so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,”
declares the Lord.

Thoughts for the Day
As young Jeremiah continues to prophecy against the people of Judah, he often uses the relationship of a man and a woman in marriage to describe God's relationship with them. In many of the verses he describes them as a wandering prostitute engaging with anyone that will have her. It seems like pretty graphic language for the bible, but underscores the nature of God's covenant promise with His people. God made His promises to them that He would be their God and guide them into a land flowing with milk and honey. For their part they needed to honor and obey His laws and most of all worship no other gods. And this is where they fell woefully short.

Why was that so important to God? At the heart of God's relationship with those who he has chosen are the promises He has made to them. At the heart of Israel's response to the promises of God is obedience and trust in them. So when Israel and Judah made the choice to worship and follow the gods of the pagan nations, it is as if they said to God we don't trust in you anymore. We have forgotten your promises and gone after someone else. Of course God gave them time to repent of their ways and return to him. But when they refused, he used other nations to judge them and carry out His wrath and judgment. And even this was an attempt to woo them back to Him. If they would return to Him, God would restore them to Himself.

When we came to God though Christ, we came to Him in faith. We trusted in God's promise of forgiveness through His Son's death on the cross for us. Jesus' resurrection proved He was God and assured us of eternal life. But a lot of people think that is the only purpose of faith to bring us salvation. Faith is also how we live out our relationship with God throughout our lives. The bible says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God". Why is that? Because when we act in faith we are in effect saying, "God I trust you in all I do. I will walk in faith trusting in your promises of abundant life." We start our relationship with God in faith, and our faith grows as we trust in God in all areas of our lives. As we walk in faith, we see God's promises come to life and it gives us more confidence to trust in Him.

Where is God calling you to step out in faith as an expression of your trust in Him? Where are you trusting in something other than God for your happiness? God wants to be an intimate part of your life, as you trust in Him. It is the very essence of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. He called us to be his disciple and in faith we trusted our lives to him. And as we follow Jesus it is the greatest adventure we could ever be a part of. It is also very helpful to have others who are walking in faith beside you to encourage and pray for you, and speak the truth in love to you when you have strayed. This is a true friend you cannot put a price on!

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