These are three questions that find their way into my thought pattern every day:
- Has God spoken to me today through His Word?
- What needs to change in my life for me to look more like Jesus
- Who is the Holy Spirit going to put in my life so that I can invest in them?
Hebrews chapter eleven challenges me when I seem to be slowing down by not being able to answer those questions – it stirs me up. It is the kind of faith that without having, I cannot please God.
It also happens to be the only place in the Bible where there is a clear, stand alone definition of faith.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1 ESV
Faith is one of the three foundations given to us from where all other Christian graces stand on. It is the foundation by which I keep my place as a follower of Jesus in which produces the good works that I am called to be known by. It gives me the confidence and conviction that enables me to grasp the future while living in the present – seeing the unseen in the midst of the seen. So I walk by faith and not by sight.
The world in which I live does resemble God in nature but not in operation. There are strange contradictions of justice, truth, goodness – we see wrong prevailing over right, honour given to what is known to be dishonourable. We honour the strength of mind and body over being good. I am confronted with my own hypocrisy, at every moment of temptation where the consequences of yielding to them seem far away. Even as far as I might be, or forgetful of my own inclinations or of my weakness, I have to share the truth – there is a voice from the depths of my soul that never ceases to repeat that right is really stronger than wrong, and truth is better than dishonesty and justice is more real than injustice.
I believe that this voice is the Holy Spirit and to believe in it, obey it and surrender to it as He guides me through life, I come away with a firm conviction that He will guide me and keep me until I come to be with Him. It is in believing in His voice that enables me to hear the voices of the world and understand that those do not belong to Him.
So when I talk about the questions I ask myself every day, there is still one more. When the enemy comes against me at the moment the voice demands my obedience, he proclaims my sinfulness. So I think I am too weak. So now which voice will I follow – the one that leads to peace or my own destruction? This is where this chapter captures my heart. Jesus’ life, words and death allow me with confidence to confess that He is in fact the very image of the Father. He laid hold of a human nature and made it His own. He declared promises that corresponded to every need of my soul. These have taken place in the lives of people of God throughout history. So He bids me to surrender to Him, following Him and His leading, trusting in His protection and ultimately His power. The promise of His power comes with the promise of victory over sin. He will forgive, He will love, He will carry me through all that I will encounter. I am to cling to Jesus in spite of the pain, darkness and perplexing questions, even the thoughts of my own sin – for this is the expression of my faith. For what is not seen by many is the strength of my Master who walks with me through the seen and the unseen.