Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Faith Is...

If I were to ask you to finish this sentence, what would you say?

Faith is....

Maybe you would say something like, 'belief in the unknown' or 'trust' or 'hope.'  Well, it is all these things and more.  So much more.

Psalm 27:13-14
13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

Faith is...

Our 'Unless'

The phrase "I would have despaired" is added in the NASB.  Other translations add different things including "I would have fainted," because it seems like the original text wouldn't make sense without some sort of addition.  Adam Clarke points out that "there is a remarkable elegance in the original" because "it makes an abrupt breaking off in the midst of a speech."  Have you ever heard someone give a testimony or talk about something that made them really emotional?  Sometimes sentences are left unfinished because the emotions are so strong.  But the thing is, we, as the audience, usually know what they were trying to say.  Or maybe they just go so lost in thought, in awe of what they are looking back on, that they forget they are talking to someone and become focused on something we just can't see.  I've been there, I've seen these things happen.  I'm sure you have too!  And I really think that that's what is happening here...read this again with those thoughts in mind:

Unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living....

It makes so much sense that way doesn't it?  Unless I had believed...

When we lose faith, when we lose our belief in the One True King, in His promises - it is then we lose hope.  Losing hope sometimes the final straw.  They tell you that when you are kidnapped, or when you are trapped, or hurt, etc., that you need to hold onto hope - it will keep you alive!  Faith and belief in the Lord's goodness and promises is our hope.  Faith is our unless.  Unless we believe....


Faith is Sight

I love that our church still sings hymns on a regular basis.  We even still have actual hymnals in the pews!  :)  One of my favorite hymns is 'It Is Well With My Soul.'  I remember the night my grandpa passed away just singing it over and over to myself as we watched him slowly, ever so slowly, go home to be with our Glorious Father.  The last verse starts with "And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight."  I believe that's what David is saying when he says, I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord... He knew that one day his faith would be his reality, his sight, or his eyes as Chris Tomlin puts it: "There's a day that's drawing near / When this darkness breaks to light / When the shadows disappear / And my faith shall be my eyes" (I Will Rise).  
You see, "those that walk by faith in the goodness of the Lord shall in due time walk in the sight of that goodness" (Henry).  After all, "Jesus has overcome / And the grave is overwhelmed / Victory is won..." (I Will Rise).
Faith is Expecting

This is along the same lines as the aforementioned 'Unless'.  Faith isn't just waiting, faith is expecting.  The word 'wait' in the Hebrew is qavah meaning "to wait, look for, hope, expect" (Strong's 6960).  The Gesenius' Lexicon specifically says that in this verse qavah should be translated as "to expect."  We are not just supposed to wait on the Lord we are supposed to expect the Lord.  A song by John Mayer comes to mind - Waiting on the World to Change.  If I'm just waiting on the world to change, my life will go on as normal.  I will continue to go about my usual day to day routine and wait.  But if I am expecting the world to change, I'm going to be preparing for it, making preparations in order for the change to go well.  You see, waiting is passive while expecting is active.  Our faith shouldn't just be waiting on the Lord, it should be expecting the Lord to fulfill His promises, to show His goodness.  What are you doing to make your faith active instead of passive?  Are you waiting on the Lord or are you expecting Him? 

Faith is Different

The Expositor's Commentary states it this way: "Faith does not faltar, though it is keenly conscious of difficulties.  It is not preserved by ignoring facts, but should be by them impelled to clasp God more firmly as its only safety."  Just because I have faith and believe in Jesus Christ does not mean that bad things will not come my way.  If that were the case, choosing Christ wouldn't actually be much of a choice now would it?  Anyways, faith also doesn't mean that I ignore the bad stuff.  Faith simply means that when faced with trials and troubles that we handle them differently than the world.  We don't give up, we don't crumble to pieces of nothing. Instead, we hold onto the Lord even tighter than we did before, we learn how to depend on Him instead of the things of this world, we grow.  Faith should infect every part of our lives in a visible manner!  As stated before, faith isn't passive, it is active...and different enough to be noticed.




Bri Sherman
Independent Distributor, It Works! Global™


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