The statement “By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible” in Hebrews 11:3 not only affirms the central role faith plays in our understanding but that it’s centrality in our understanding is not limited to the so called “spiritual” only or only “the things of God” as we like to think of them. It is central to our understanding of ourselves, our universe, our environment, life itself.
Faith is the key to understanding everything – literally. Not only of our hope for the future and spiritual lives as it were but for everything. From the creation of the entire universe down to our very own individual circumstances and daily encounters in life.
We must learn to view everything through the lens of faith in God and His word if we are to have a broad and correct understanding of the world we live in and ourselves Faith is not only necessary for our own personal growth, development and for the fulfilment of God’s purposes in our life (as it demands our action in response) but for a holistic understanding of the world we live in and ourselves.
Without an active and personal faith our understanding is truly diminished and severely impoverished in every area of our lives.
Faith, however, requires one’s active co-operation – both to build and to exercise. It requires one to interact with God both in its development and its function. It is passive neither in its development nor in its function. It demands our effort and the exercise of our will.
Faith is by no means a passive affair but an active enterprise.
Following on from the sweeping statement of “By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command”, the writer of Hebrews proceeds to give us details of how our forefathers in the faith acted, lived and achieved God’s purposes in their lives – it was all by faith. The rest of Hebrews chapter 11 is dedicated to detailing the individual lives and exploits therein of these so-called giants of faith.
As we read through their life exploits one by one, we realise that faith for them was not a passive or hidden affair rather an active and openly public enterprise, one that is lived out and demonstrated in choices made and actions taken. Their lives reflected and portrayed their faiths. In other words, they lived their faith. Their lives were products of their faith. As individuals, they were identified and characterised by their faith.
Their lives were quite literally expressions of their faith. Their faith in God was played out on the stage of their lives. It was the script to the drama of their life.
Their faith was demonstrated by the decisions they made and actions they took in their lives and did not remain an abstract and remote concept without impact or relevance. There is no divide here between faith and life – their lives were their faiths expressed.
For them faith and life were two, inseparable sides of the same coin. Any divide between our faith and the rest of our lives is artificial, unhealthy and anomalous. Such a divide between faith and life impedes the function of faith just as a congenital heart anomaly would impede the function of the heart regardless of the fact that it is congenital.
When we divorce faith from the rest of our life we not only impede or prevent its function but effectively hinder the accomplishment of God’s purposes in our lives.
God desires to use our faith as the springboard from which to launch His purpose for our lives. He desires to use faith to write the script to our lives. Our faith is the ink we provide with which the script of our lives is to be penned.
Your life expresses your faith and your faith is expressed through your life.
It was the exercise of their faith in the wider arena of their lives that gained these giants of faith the approval that God so freely gave them. It was their faith played out on the stages of their lives that earned them the honour of “cum laude”. It was the active exercise of their individual faiths on the stages of their lives that enabled the accomplishment of God’s purposes in their lives.
Faith was the catalyst.
Faith was just the catalyst for God to work and bring to fulfilment His purpose in their lives. It is a clearly stated fact that God is at work in our lives in accordance with His purpose for it (Philippians 2:13). It is also clearly stated in Scripture that God is sure to bring to completion the good work which He started in us (Philippians 1:6). However, both His working and the bringing it to completion are reliant on our active exercise of faith in our lives. Faith is exercised in the decisions that we make and the actions that we take on the stage of our lives. It can be said that our lives are the testing grounds for the authenticity of our faith in God’s person, His character and His integrity.
Abraham’s faith affected his entire outlook on life; it determined where he lived, how he lived and the way he lived.
His faith was not an appendage to his life but its rudder and compass.
How he lived was determined by his faith. His faith determined how he lived.
These are people worth adopting as our heroes and whose lives are worthy of our closer scrutiny and emulation.
In conclusion, just as the congenital anomaly can (and usually does) lead to death, so too an unrectified and anomalous divide between faith and the rest of our lives can definitely lead to the death of our faith.
Faith without works, without action, faith that is not actively exercised on the wider arena of our life is dead. That is what scripture also inform us – So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17)
Faith needs to be translated into action in our lives if it is to be effective and relevant for ourselves, the generation we belong to and the environment we live in. It is the active exercise of our faith in our daily living that carries the purposes of God in our life right through to the end.
The purposes of God in our life are carried on the back of the active exercise of our faith in our daily lives and beyond. In the, so-called mundane decisions that we make daily and the major ones that change and determine the course of our lives.
It is here, in the active and ongoing exercise of our faith in our lives that God is authorised and empowered by us to freely work His purposes in our lives and bring it to completion. It is faith every step of the way.
You are guaranteed not to achieve Gods purposes in your life if your faith is dissociated from the rest of your life and closeted into a hidden corner.