Bible Reading: Hebrews 11 - 12:2
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Having elaborated on the object of our faith, namely, “Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2), we now enter into the daily application of faith. In An Exercise Of Faith, we discussed that there are two layers to faith. One is trust, and trust is then complemented with action.
Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments”. To have faith in who Christ is and what He has done for us means to put our trust in Him and obey His Word. After defining faith in Hebrews 11:1, the author of Hebrews proceeds to unfold what faith looks like in action by giving examples of the past. Here is the main point — if we have faith, we will obey God in the specific context He has given us here and now.
For example, we see Noah. He lived in an evil time where no one around Him feared the Lord. Yet when God gave Him a command to build an ark on a hill where there was yet to be any rain, Noah faithfully obeyed God in reverent fear, trusting that God would be faithful to His Word, and a flood would come. At the moment, obedience by faith is often radical and incomprehensible to human logic. But faith is trust in God, trusting that His ways are higher than ours and He has a plan amidst it all.
Take Abraham as another example. God told Abraham to move out from Ur to a place where He had promised. At the moment, doing so would have been beyond comprehension. There was civilization at Ur. There was plenty of riches and comforts. Compare this to venturing out in the wilderness and living in tents. Remember, this was before the time of GPS or phone signal. There would be no rescue teams if you got lost, and there were also no stops along the way to restock on food. Venturing out into the wilderness was a crazy idea. Yet, Abraham obeyed by faith.
These days, our kind of “radical” might be a bit different. But, the principle of faith remains the same. We know that reading the Bible is essential, yet our days seem all too busy to fit any time for it. Yes, it is radical to try and get up half-an-hour earlier every morning and trust me, it’s harder than it sounds. But, this is faith, a leap of obedience, trusting that reading the Bible will have far better benefits for our spiritual lives if we never did before.
Where is God calling you to obey in your particular context here and now? Where must we act out our faith in obedience? Do we need to love our siblings more? Do we need to stop procrastinating or wasting time? Do we need to forgive someone? Acting in full obedience will always be radical. Yet, we trust that God knows what is good and is always good. Will you obey Him?
Lord, please help us to learn obedience. Teach us how to have faith and act it out in radical obedience day to day. Sanctify us and continue working in us. We ask in Jesus’ name, amen.