When you think of what faith means and who demonstrated great faith, you probably think of Biblical heroes such as Abraham, Moses, David, or Paul. The Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11 lists many of them, describing the exploits they accomplished “by faith.”
As much as you and I might like to be a faith hero, sometimes your faith gets shaken. Your infertility isn’t miraculously healed as it was for Abraham and Sarah. Your child isn’t rescued from death as Isaac was. The walls of business struggles, a troubled marriage, physical or mental illness, or lack of money aren’t falling down as those of Jericho did. You aren’t ruling over any kingdom as David did, or putting the armies of social injustice or evil institutions to flight. And when your messed-up life doesn’t seem to be getting any better, you feel like anything but a faith hero.
Perhaps you hear messages from others something like, “If you only had enough faith you wouldn’t still be sick.” Or, “Just speak in faith what you need, and the money and resources will come to you.”
Faith is not some tight-fisted grasping for what you want or need in some sort of “mind over matter.” Nor is it an ethereal emotion some people feel easily and others can’t conjure up. Faith is something much deeper. It’s a matter of character, and it can be developed even in the worst of times.
The Faith Hall of Fame provides a much more varied picture than most of us have been led to believe. Here’s what it takes to be a faith hero.
More Faith Heroes
After Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, the list of faith heroes in Hebrews 11 goes on:
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. (Hebrews 11:32-35)
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Conquering, powerful, strong, alive. Sounds like the kind of faith heroes you and I would want to be.
But the passage doesn’t stop there.
Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated– the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:35-38)
Faith heroes put in prison, stoned, destitute, killed in terrible ways? Really?
It’s the same faith. Some conquered, some were chained in prison. Same faith. Some escaped, some were put in prison. Same faith. Some were strong, some were destitute. Same faith. Some lived, some died. Same faith.
So quit making your bank account, your physical health, or your social standing a measure of your faith! Tweet that.
What Real Faith Is
God is happy when His children are healthy and prosperous, but He is not the only player in this game. We still live in a messed up world. His kingdom is here in reality, but the kingdom of darkness has not yet been eliminated. We still live in the crossfire between the kingdom of God and that of the enemy.
The only way much of our lives makes sense is to keep the end in mind. And Hebrews 11 concludes, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
Real faith means choosing to trust in God even when circumstances don’t turn out how we would wish.
Real faith means trusting God with your family, your marriage, your health, your future even if it’s hard.
Real faith means believing in the end of the story. And the end of the story is, Jesus wins!
Real faith means slogging through the mud one step at a time, and taking Jesus with you.
Real faith means taking your stand on God’s side and refusing to let any outward circumstances move you.
Real faith means making all you are and have available for God to use, knowing He makes the best investment.
Real faith means remaining focused on eternity whether your personal circumstances now are good or bad, healthy or sick, rich or poor.
Real faith means keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus, the One who faith is all about.
The Focus of Faith
Faith is not some nebulous mental gymnastics. Faith has a focus, a point of reference.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Our lives are an absurd joke unless we view them in light of eternity. As Jesus did, we will only make it as we keep looking for the joy set before us.
Keeping your eyes – your faith – fixed on Jesus will make you a faith hero regardless of what happens during the remainder of your life here.
Remember the faith heroes of Hebrews 11. Some looked “healthy, wealthy, and wise” on the outside; some looked destitute, weak, and even dead. Same faith!
Look beyond your circumstances. Keep your focus on eternity, on Jesus, and you will be a faith hero!
Your Turn: Is your focus too much on your circumstances? What would it look like for you to reframe your circumstances in light of eternity? Leave a comment below.
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- How to be a faith hero whether rich or poor, sick or healthy, a “success” or “failure.” Tweet that.
Real Faith Helps Defeat Fear and Anxiety
Faith has little to do with feelings. Acting out of real faith is a powerful force against the enemy in overcoming fear and anxiety.
There’s more about this in my book Overcoming Fear and Anxiety through Spiritual Warfare. Right now Amazon has the book available for a significant discount. (And who doesn’t love a discount!) We have no way of knowing how long this special pricing will be available.
And you can get a FREE CHAPTER right here.