“Loser”…that was what I speculated that Jesus might greet me with when I enter heaven.

Instead of the much desired words, “Well done good and faithful servant” Jesus might be taking me aside and whispering some different words. Words like “Stupid…just what about faith didn’t you get? Why did you fail to trust me? Why was your faith so small? Do you have any idea what I wanted to do in and through you if only you had trusted me? Instead you chose to believe the lies of the enemy. Why?”

Not sure I’ll have a lot of answers to those questions…except to confirm that yes…I am spiritually stupid…and if left to my own devises…I am a loser.

After Bible study this evening the conversation ventured onto the subject of faith. I commented that today was such a low faith day. I got to wondering what it’s like for great men and women of faith.

My own beloved former Pastor Chuck Obremski…was a man of deep faith. When trials and tribulation struck…he dug deeper still into God’s word. God strengthened his faith and enabled him to stand against the attacks of the enemy. Not with wavering faith…or doubting faith. But faith that was firm because of the solid foundation upon which it rested.

Another person who strikes me as having a great big faith in a huge God who can not be contained…is Beth Moore. The woman takes my breath away…as I see her unpack and explore God’s word. I see God afresh and new and a very personal God who cares.

When I see such examples of faith walked out before me…I hunger and thirst for such faith, love and passion for God and His word.

Last week when I struggled with faith…God encourage me with the words, “Only believe!” To feed and encourage my faith I decided to feast on faith in the form of Beth Moore’s Bible study “Believing God”. It was just the right study at the right time. Each CD I listen to…I find God dealing with another area of weakness or doubt that I’ve allowed to creep in.

I desire so to have my faith grow and be firmly rooted in God and His word. But I tremble with fear that my desire might get off track. That I may be tempted to make it about my faith instead of about my God. My faith is only as good, big and strong as my God. He alone is the prize.

When my focus is on God…my faith is big. When my focus is on the truth of His word…then my faith is strong and rests on a firm foundation. When my faith is on my circumstances…my faith is negligible, weak and will topple. It’s not a question of if…but when. I know that…I’ve lived that, I know it well. Yet time and time and time again…I fall into the same trap. Why? Thus you can see why I fear Jesus will accurately call me “Stupid”.

If my salvation was dependant on me…instead of “Well done good and faithful servant”…I’d be hearing, “You just made it by the skin of your teeth”. Or worse yet “Away from me…I never knew you”. Thankfully my salvation is secure in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross paying the penalty for my sin debt in full.

But my faith…that’s another matter. That is something that God gives me…but I also need to participate and grow my faith. Grow it through prayer and knowing God and who He is and what He says in the Bible.

Where’s my focus? Is it on God…or me? Do I only look at the past and see what has been? Or do I look at my God…and in faith believe and trust Him knowing that He is able to accomplish what concerns me today…and tomorrow? That which is impossible with man is possible with God? Do I have the assurance that nothing is impossible with God? Am I mindful that without faith it is impossible to please God?

On a side note…why would I willingly and knowingly let the enemy who desires to bring me harm win? Why? Just tell me why?

Only Believe

If the words had been audible…God’s message to me couldn’t have been clearer. “Susan, only believe!”

As I studied this week’s Bible Study Fellowship lesson I saw example after example of people who demonstrated great faith. From the men who brought their paralytic friend to Jesus so that he might be healed. To the woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years. Jairus had mission to have Jesus do the unthinkable…bring his dead daughter back to life. Even the blind men came to Jesus believing that He was able to restore their sight. In their joy and excitement over the miracle that Jesus had just performed…they went out and did the very thing Jesus commanded them not to do…they blabbed about what the Messiah had done to everyone they encountered.

Do I have great faith…the kind of faith that motivates God to answer my prayers? Faith to believe that He is able to do that which is impossible with man? Do I have the kind of faith…that brings Him glory because it shines forth…even before it’s answered? Do I have such joy and excitement that I can not be contained and must share the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone I encounter?

The example that has always touched me the most personal…is the woman with an issue of blood. Think of it…in the Jewish society…this woman was considered unclean. She would not have been able to worship at the temple. Anyone who came into contact with her would have been considered unclean so she would have been shunned, she couldn’t even have normal relations with her husband. On top of the social aspect…this condition must have left run down to the point of exhaustion. There were no iron pills to fix anemia. She couldn’t take an Advil to help alleviate any pain…her condition only got worse and worse…and now she was broke and bleeding still.

Jesus was her last ditch effort. Perhaps she had heard the stories of ones before her…the lepers that were cleansed, the sick that were healed by His touch or by His word, the blind who were made to see. There were even whispers of a storm on the Galilean Sea that stopped in an instant as Jesus said the words, “Be still”. Surely this man must be God.

She believed…she knew that all she needed to do is reach out her hand. Even if she just touched the hem of His garment…just that alone would be enough to heal her, end her suffering and misery….restore her life as it once was. But once you’ve been touched by the Savior’s healing touch…your life will never be the same.

These people had faith. A faith that was unstoppable. A faith that would not be discouraged, pushed down or ignored. A faith that tuned out the naysayers and loud voices of doubt and unbelief. A faith where their eyes were focused on Jesus. A faith that knew the scriptures about what God had done for those whom He called His own.

Faith is one of the key areas that I struggle with. It’s never been an issue of whether God is able to do that which I’m praying about…but will He? That’s where the rubber meets the road…and where I’ve gone off track.

Something about “have faith”…just seems like you either have it or you don’t. And when you don’t…where do you get that infusion of faith and how long with it last?

But “Only Believe”…now that is something that requires me to have a living active faith. Something that I’m choosing to participate in. I’m choosing to believe God.

Faith is the avenue by which God chooses to answer our prayers. When Jesus is my aim and focus…trials and tribulations fade to the background. I know that He is the invincible and mighty God…who is more than able to accomplish what concerns me today.

Will I choose this day to “walk by faith”? Or will I choose to have “sight walking faith”?

God…Your word tells us that You give us the measure of faith to believe. So Jesus…I’m asking for trial and tribulation breaking faith. I’m asking for Jesus vision faith. I’m asking for faith that will bring You glory. I’m asking for faith that breaks down walls and perseveres until prayers are answered. I’m asking for unwavering faith…that never trembles or doubts when confronted with the impossible.

Jesus…I’m asking for the faith so that I may, “Only Believe”. Amen!