Why Faith in God? Part 5

“One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.” (Romans 14:2 NIV) “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (I Corinthians 5:7 NIV) 

Notice what Paul has observed and discusses about an individual’s faith. One person has enough faith to eat anything–probably because they ask God’s blessing upon the food before they eat it, but another–who does not have faith to eat those foods which have supposedly been forbidden (various types of meat), they will only eat vegetables.

We are no longer under The Law with its restrictions and limitations and we know this because of what we’re told in Acts regarding Peter–who staunchly attempted to hold the gentiles to Jewish Law. Remember the dream? (Acts 10) At any rate, what we learn from this is that nothing God has blessed is forbidden to us. We can eat anything–pork, beef, lamb, fish and seafood of all kinds–for nutrition, as long as we ask God to bless everything we eat. A number of people have long, drawn out blessings for food, but mine is simply, “Lord bless the food and my tummy, too.” And then, I eat–my candy bar, pie, vegetables, seafood, whatever is sitting before me and know that nothing in the food will harm me and my stomach will not be upset by it. That’s exercising faith. Note, I am not advocating people eat things they know that causes them an allergic reaction. Please don’t mix faith with foolishness. I know I cannot eat watermelon because of my body’s reaction to it, so I don’t eat it. Exercise wisdom in all things.

However, for those who have not arrived as yet to exercise that kind of faith--they eat what they have faith to eat–and their  faith, works for them (“According to your faith, be it unto you.”). And since so many people have delicate digestive systems, they need to eat accordingly in order not to get sick or stay sick. This is wisdom, not a lack of faith.

Now, we live by faith–not needing to see things before we believe it. We do it all the time. We have faith that our cars will start when we turn the key in the ignition, without seeing how the ignition system works. We have faith that the chair we sit on will hold us without inspecting it every time we get ready to sit. We have faith in getting paid for the work we do (if we’re working) without seeing what is in the company’s bank account. We have faith in the air we breathe even though we cannot see the oxygen we need to survive. We live faith all the time, not by sight, so why is it so difficult for some to have faith in God?

Some have argued that we are foolish to believe in an “invisible being” we have never seen. I disagree with this supposition. I have already mentioned the oxygen in the air we cannot see, but believe it is there. We cannot see a person’s brains, but their brains are probably there. We cannot see the wind–we only see the results of the movement of the air.

Therefore, I see the results of God moving upon the hearts of people all the time and know He exists for all who believe!

Part 6 tomorrow!

Wind Tossed!

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6,7).

Watching the waves of the sea roil, without consideration for anything in its path can be terrifying and yet it can also be spell-binding. The wind–the mass of air that no one see–can be an awesome wonder to watch. I’ve watched the wind–a tornado–tear the roof off of an apartment building right behind the one I was in. I’ve watched the damage of the wind–from a hurricane–turn lives upside down. I can only imagine how absolutely petrified people might become when watching a tsunami, fueled by angry winds destroy their livelihoods, homes, and lives. The wind–a force by which no one can control or see–has the power to change lives. 

Now, think about that power and how James compares doubt to that power. When doubt moves us from faith, we give doubt the power to change our lives and keep us from receiving that for which we have asked of God. In the beginning of this chapter, James is talking about asking God for wisdom, but he references something the Jesus said when He was teaching His disciples about prayer. “Whatever we say and don’t doubt, we can have (paraphrase). “When we pray, we believe we receive and we shall have it,” (Mark 11:22,23). Jesus shows us how powerful faith can be, but James demonstrates how powerful doubt can be with the illustration of the wind and waves.

The question we must ask ourselves is, are we wind-tossed or are we standing in faith, believing we can have what we ask of God? Perhaps, the answer lies in whether or not we can honestly say we have asked and received or we have asked and doubted (if only for a nanosecond) and not received. Therefore, “since faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” we have two powerful forces working in our lives that no can visibly see–faith and doubt. If we stand firm on our faith in God, we shall see the “stuff” which is the evidence of God’s working on our behalf, even though we didn’t see how He did it. And like the wind (we see the results of wind’s movement, not wind itself) so too shall we see the results of faith or doubt in our lives.

Whatever it is we need right now–we can ask of God, in the name of Jesus, stand firmly in faith that we will receive it and we shall have it. If we need healing–we ask and receive; if we need a financial blessing–we ask and receive; if we need direction–we ask and receive; if we need wisdom (the first request)–we ask and receive.  We shall have whatever we ask for when we do not allow doubt to deter (move) our faith! Glory to God for favor and faith to accomplish all He has planned for us! Hallelujah!

Invisibility Matters When Seen!

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:2 NIV).

Most Christians can quote the first verse of this chapter verbatim, from multiple translations, but how many move forward to look at the connection to the rest of the chapter?

By faith (we don’t have to see, but believe it), we understand that all things created were created by God and without Him, nothing was created. The faith we have is in God and in our relationship with Him to believe His Word.  “All scriptures written by inspiration of God.” Once we understand this very basic truth, the rest is easy.

Many have challenged my faith in God by claiming that I might as well believe in pink unicorns. One night I actually asked someone (who made this statement), how they knew I had one in my closet. I laughed, but they probably didn’t think it very funny.

My challenge to those who don’t understand believers is to explain why they believe in the wind when they cannot see it (in response to their invisibility disclaimers). Invariably they try to convince me they can “see” the wind and I have to point out that no one can see the wind, we “see the effects of wind”, not wind itself.

I remember reading several articles that exposed educators to ridicule in their attempt to refute any belief in God by saying that it a person can’t see it why would anyone believe it. In two of those articles, the students (one a third-grader and one a college student), advised their classmates that they did not have to believe their teacher/professor had a brain since they “could not see it” based upon the educators’ philosophy.

I won’t belabor my point here.  Not seeing a thing is not a reason to not believe it. We do not see everything we believe, but we know those things exist. That being the case, why do some argue so passionately against a belief in God?

If we have a relationship with God, we can believe God whether we actually see Him or not because “we see the effects of God’s presence” in the atmosphere, throughout the universe, and we know He does exist.

Have faith in God, not in man because he is limited in wisdom and knowledge and lacks understanding of all God has in store for those who truly believe Him. Invisibility does matter!