How to Be a Faith Hero

What would it take to be listed in the “Hall of Heroes”, Hebrews chapter 11? What made people like Abraham and Sarah, Barak and Rahab, David and Daniel and the others stand out? Do you think you have heroic faith?

Romans 4:19 says, “And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.”

Maybe that’s what it takes—maybe the kind of faith God wants us to have never doubts, never weakens, struggles or asks questions.

Before you get too discouraged and give up, knowing you’ve already had a few doubts or questioned God a few times, let’s take a close look at Abraham’s life.

In Genesis 17, God told Abraham that He would give him a son and that through Abraham God would make a might nation. But Abraham was already 100 years old and Sarah was really old too! It hardly seemed possible that they could have a child. Abraham reminded God of this fact:

“Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. ‘How could I become a father at the age of 100?’ he thought. ‘And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?’” (Genesis 17:17)

Abraham laughed at God! At first, he didn’t believe that God could really do what He said.

Later on in Genesis, Abraham was following God on a journey toward a promised land. He came to a city called Gerar. There, he told his wife, Sarah, to lie and say that she was his sister, because he was afraid that the king of that place might kill him in order to marry Sarah himself because she was very beautiful.

God never tells us to lie. But Abraham doubted that God would protect him, so he took matters into his own hands.

If we look through the rest of the Bible and examined the lives of the other faith heroes mentioned in Hebrews 11, we’d find that they sinned, failed and doubted God sometimes, too. Gideon did not believe that God would deliver the nation of Israel through him. David disobeyed God and committed adultery. Jacob deceived his father and stole his brother’s blessing. Rahab was a prostitute, and Samson rebelled against his parents and acted pridefully.

God doesn’t expect us to have perfect faith. Even the men and women that the Bible commends for their strong faith, doubted sometimes.

One of my favorite Bible stories is in Mark 9. A man came to Jesus asking Him to heal his very sick son. Jesus told the man, “‘Anything is possible for the one who believes.’” With great honesty and humility, the man replied, “‘I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!’”

At the end of the story, Jesus did heal the man’s son.

Don’t be ashamed if your faith wavers, if you have questions or difficulty believing. Ask God to help you with your unbelief and to strengthen your faith. The Bible says that God knows our hearts. Tell God about your fears and questions; He is big enough to handle your doubts and to give you answers.

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LASTing Peace, Fearful?


 

The Hebrew word yare’ is used both when God tells us “do not fear” and when we are told to fear the Lord. So what does it mean if we offer that fear to someone other than God?

Innocent Little Lies, For a Good Cause

The story you are about to read is true… some details have been changed to confuse the victim.

I’ve learned a lot from my sisters. The Bible says that a brother is born for adversity. We certainly taught each other lessons the hard way. Tears and tantrums, practical jokes and cold shoulders – oh and the silent treatment. Fortunately, as we’ve grown, we still learn from each other, but with less fanfare.

Such was the case a couple weeks ago. Kelsey, my third sister, is highly practical. She manages money with frugality. To be honest, she and I both border on miserly – or are at least incredibly fearful of financial issues. So we tend to be overly cautious and fretful especially in these economic times. Funny too, since both of our husbands are blessedly employed, happy in their jobs with no eminent threats. Ah, but fear is rarely rational.

We are planning an event together. When I was in Texas visiting her recently, we decided to make a trip to the planned location to scope it out. When we arrived, our chintzy instincts went to high gear.  Nickel and dime-ing was an understatement! Even as a resident of D.C., one of the most expensive places to live, I was shocked. Parking was a fee, valets were extra, of course reservations cost, then add on a separate “resort fee” and another per-car charge and by the way – no discounts. Even my military discount was denied, as they insisted that the active duty soldier must be present.

The place itself was spectacular! We must have looked like back-woods hicks, traipsing through with our eyes bugged out and tennis shoes squeaking on the polished floors. We drove away, called and made our reservations (they don’t have a place to make reservations in person). I was dogmatic that this place was so exceptional, we had to have it, but just as dogmatic that I didn’t want to go broke on a one night event. For the rest of the day we schemed up ways to get the military discount we felt we deserved. What innocent (is there such a thing?) little white lie could we tell so that we could sneak in under their up-turned noses?

A few days later, I was home again and planning to call the uppity reservation line again. I had devised a small fib that would hopefully get us around their red tape and rules. Quickly, I called Kelsey and told her my plan.

“Um, I’ve been thinking,” she began. “We’re studying holiness together on Wednesday nights. And I just can’t get beyond the conviction that lying to them to save a few dollars isn’t very holy or Christ-like. I think we should just be completely honest, ask again, and see what they say.”

Nothing like being put in your place by your little sister! It feels good, I promise. I’m so proud of her!

So, I hung up with Kelsey and dialed the huffy operator. Much to my surprise a very friendly Diane answered the phone this time. I carefully, politely explained the situation one more time. I told her why we wanted the reservation and how surprised I was that my military ID was worthless for the appropriate discount. I have never had this problem anywhere before. Diane was as surprised as I was!

“I don’t know why the operator didn’t understand,” Diane apologized. “Of course I’ll take care of that, email you the confirmation of the new discounted rate, and I’ll make sure that Kristen knows the policy.”

I hung up the phone and danced through the kitchen!

“Kelsey! Guess what,” I had to call her back. “The lady I spoke to said that we deserved the discount. She apologized and adjusted the rate!”

What a good God. He truly honors obedience. And as God’s children we have no choice but to be honest and imitate the one who calls Himself, “The Truth.”