I love reading success stories, don’t you? There’s something so inspiring and hopeful about seeing people live out their dreams and attain their goals. As we aspire to succeed in our own lives we look to them to see what they did well so we can emulate their actions to attain the same.
The Bible is full of success stories. Maybe not in the earthly way we view success, but certainly from a heavenly perspective. Hebrews 11 is one of the best synopses to summarize the lives of those who were successful in our spiritual heritage. It is often called Faith’s Hall of Fame because it celebrates the lives of those who were commended for their faith. Isn't this what we desire? To be commended for our faith?
As I was reading through this chapter recently, I underlined every action word that followed faith. Abel offered, Enoch took, Noah built, Abraham obeyed and went, Isaac and Jacob blessed, Moses persevered, Joshua marched, Rahab welcomed, others conquered, administered, shut, quenched, escaped, and faced. They were commended for their faith in action.
Yes, we are saved by faith alone, but I’m convinced that if we settle for mere acknowledgement of God’s existence we are living an incomplete faith. Our faith is made complete by what we do.
James comes to the same conclusion. He too connects our faith and deeds. He says he will show his faith by what he does (James 2:18). He asserts that faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:17). While faith brings us salvation, it is our actions that demonstrate our faith is genuine.
Even though I want a complete faith, it’s easier said than done (pun intended). If you're anything like me, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the Hebrews 11 list of faith in action. I can’t shut the mouth of a lion or quench the fury of flames! But here is where the faith comes into play.
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). We can be sure and certain God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. God is powerful enough to do the things we can’t and we have His Spirit working in and through us.
In fact, something else I noticed in Hebrews 11 is those whose weaknesses turned to strength are listed in Faith’s Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11:34). Now that sounds like something I can surely attain because if I’m honest, I feel weak most days.
Since we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, we can act in faith no matter how weak we feel. We can offer all we are to Him in faith and believe that it’s enough. It may be as simple as by faith we cooked, cleaned, taught, moved, wrote, hosted, walked, or prayed. Whatever we do, we can do it for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The key is to be faithful in the doing. Just like how our spiritual forefathers didn’t always see what was promised this side of heaven, we may not either. Even if we don’t see the result of our faith in action, we can trust He has something better planned when we are all together one day (Hebrews 11:40). On that day I pray we, too, are commended for our faith. And friend, I would call that a success.
What will you do by faith today?
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