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While you let go and let God, please read this lesson on FAITH: With Love, Pastor Gregory
EFFECTIVE FAITH How can we know our faith is effective? BIBLE READING: Luke 17:1-10 KEY BIBLE VERSE: One day the apostles said to the Lord, “We need more faith; tell us how to get it.” (Luke 17:5, TLB) Effective faith depends on God. The disciples’ request was genuine; they wanted the faith necessary for radical forgiveness. But Jesus didn’t directly answer their question because the amount of faith is not as important as its genuineness. What is faith? It is total dependence on God and a willingness to do his will. Faith is not something we use to put on a show for others. It is complete and humble obedience to God’s will, readiness to do whatever he calls us to do. The amount of faith isn’t as important as the right kind of faith—faith in our all-powerful God. Effective faith is more concerned with its life than its size. A mustard seed is small, but it is alive and growing. Like a tiny seed, a small amount of genuine faith in God will take root and grow. Almost invisible at first, it will begin to spread, first under the ground and then visibly. Although each change will be gradual and imperceptible, soon this faith will have produced major results that will uproot and destroy competing loyalties. We don’t need more faith; a tiny seed of faith is enough, if it is alive and growing.
BIBLE READING: Romans 5:1-11 KEY BIBLE VERSE: So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (Romans 5:1, TLB) Effective faith rests on what Christ has done. As Paul states clearly in 1 Corinthians 13:13, faith, hope, and love are at the heart of the Christian life. Our relationship with God begins with faith, which helps us realize that we are delivered from our past by Christ’s death. Hope grows as we learn all that God has in mind for us; it gives us the promise of the future. And God’s love fills our life and gives us the ability to reach out to others.
BIBLE READING: Hebrews 10:19-39 KEY BIBLE VERSE: And those whose faith has made them good in God’s sight must live by faith, trusting him in everything. Otherwise, if they shrink back, God will have no pleasure in them. (Hebrews 10:38, TLB) Effective faith grows under pressure. Hebrews encourages believers to persevere in their Christian faith and conduct when facing persecution and pressure. We don’t usually think of suffering as good for us, but it can build our character and our patience. During times of great stress, we may feel God’s presence more clearly and find help from Christians we never thought would care. Knowing that Jesus is with us in our suffering and that he will return one day to put an end to all pain helps us grow in our faith and our relationship with him (see Romans 5:3-5).
Effective faith becomes stronger through endurance. The writer encourages his readers not to abandon their faith in times of persecution, but to show by their endurance that their faith is real. Faith means resting in what Christ has done for us in the past, but it also means hoping for what he will do for us in the future (see Romans 8:12-25; Galatians 3:10-13).
BIBLE READING: Hebrews 11:1-40 KEY BIBLE VERSE: What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. (Hebrews 11:1, TLB) Effective faith is hopeful anticipation. Do you remember how you felt when you were very young and your birthday approached? You were excited and anxious. You knew you would certainly receive gifts and other special treats. But some things would be a surprise. Birthdays combine assurance and anticipation, and so does faith! Faith is the conviction based on past experience that God’s new and fresh surprises will surely be ours. Effective faith is quiet certainty. Two words describe faith: sure and certain. These two qualities need a secure beginning and ending point. The beginning point of faith is believing in God’s character—he is who he says. The end point is believing in God’s promises—he will do what he says. When we believe that God will fulfill his promises even though we don’t see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith (see John 20:24-31).