This Will Require Faith

Description

What does it mean to live by faith? In this message, we learn the difference between living by sight and living by faith on the ancient path.

Alright. Hey, everybody, welcome to Valley Creek. We are so glad you are here. Come on, whatever campus you’re at, come on, let’s just give it up today. Welcome each other. Hope is here, everyone is welcome and Jesus changes everything. We are a movement of hope for the city and beyond, raising up generations of hope carriers who change their worlds. We are one church that meets at multiple campuses and carries the hope of Jesus to thousands of locations. And as we got to celebrate baptisms today, it reminds us that hope is still on the move, that Jesus is still changing people’s lives, he’s restoring identities, reconciling relationships and redeeming purposes. And so my hope is that in some way that encouraged your heart today. You see, we are in a series called the Ancient Future: Practicing the Way of Jesus.

And what we’re doing is we’re looking back at those who have gone before us and looking at how they live to help us figure out how we shall now live. You see, there is an ancient wisdom, an ancient word and an ancient way that is our path through this modern world. Jesus says he is the way the truth and the life and that he is the same yesterday, today and forever. Well, if Jesus is the way and he doesn’t change, then he was the way, he is the way and he will be the way. So as we follow him, we’re practicing the way of Jesus and finding life in the midst of this modern world. And really our theme verse in this series is Jeremiah chapter 6, the prophet says to us, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

He says there is a crossroads that you’re standing at, there’s two paths that lie in front of you. One is the modern road of this world, the way of comfort and convenience, the road that says, come, let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Come do what you want, when you want, how you want. This is the way of comfort and opinions and preferences and logic and reason and emotions. And this is really easy to get on and really hard to get off. This is the path of least resistance and personal happiness, but it ends in destruction. He says, but then there’s an ancient path, a narrow road with a small gate, a good way, the way of Jesus. And on that path, you will find rest for your souls. And it’s hard to get on and it’s easy to get off because it’s the path of greatest resistance but personal holiness and it leads to life.

Now, we’ve talked about that for the last few weeks and I’ve left the last part of the verse off until today, “But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” He says, you stand at a crossroads, there’s a modern world that leads to death, there’s an ancient path that leads to life but you said, we will not walk in it. Why? Because if we’re just straight up honest, we would much rather walk by sight than by faith. Anybody want to agree with that? Like straight up, we would much rather live our life by sight than by faith, but the ancient path is the way of faith. I mean, we would much rather make decisions based on what we can see, smell, taste, touch, what we can control, what we can understand, what feels logical or reasonable to us, but the way of faith, it requires belief and trust, submission, surrender and dependency.

We would rather walk by sight than by faith. And so we have to ask ourselves this question, like what is faith? Faith is being sure of what you hope for, certain of what you do not see. Faith is living from the invisible towards the visible. Faith is anchored in the character and the nature of God. Faith is being more focused on the superior realities of the kingdom than the inferior realities of this world. Faith is willing to follow and trust God for the results. Faith is the belief in the goodness of God in the midst of our circumstances, in spite of our circumstances. That’s faith. But doubt on the other hand, doubt is anchored in the natural. Unbelief is simply faith in the inferior.

Unbelief is the belief in anything or the faith in anything that’s not God. And it’s focused on the inferior realities that we can taste, see, smell and touch as opposed to the superior realities that are invisible. And the problem with unbelief is unbelief doesn’t risk anything, therefore it gets exactly what it often is expecting. But here’s what we have to understand. Cynicism is not a fruit of the spirit. Skepticism is not the character of Jesus. And being a realist does not honor God. Come on, fear often hides behind wisdom and doubt likes to stand behind discernment. But if I wait to follow until I can understand or it seems logical or reasonable to me, then I’ve brought God down to my level and I’ve become god, not Him.

Does that make sense to you? But that’s not who we are, we’re people of faith. For we walk by faith, not by sight. I mean think about it, the moment Jesus comes to the disciples and says, Come follow me. I’ll make you fishers of men. What was he inviting them to? A life of faith. Everything he was going to ask them to do required faith. Everywhere he was going to ask them to go required faith. Everything he asked them to believe was going to require faith because that’s the way of Jesus. I mean all we have to do is go all the way back to the garden, right? When God makes Adam and Eve and He puts them in the garden He invites them to walk the ancient path, the narrow road, a life of faith. And he says, hey, I’ve made you in my image and my likeness and I’m here to walk with you and I’ve empowered you with authority over all creation and there’s only one thing I’m going to ask you not to do, don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for when you do you will surely die.

And what happens? In Genesis chapter 3, it tells us that, ‘When Eve saw.’ “When Eve saw that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was good for food, pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and she ate.” And in that moment the modern world that leads to destruction of comfort and convenience and sight was open once and for all and we’ve been funneling through that ever since. See, the great temptation of our lives is the same temptation that Adam and Eve have. The temptation is to live by sight when we’re invited to walk by faith. But what we have to remember is that sight is limited. Sight is finite. Sight is inferior. It’s contained within the natural while faith, faith is limitless. Faith is superior. faith is not contained or controlled to what you can see.

Faith creates, faith inspires, faith enables, faith activates, faith is victorious, faith overcomes, faith moves forward, faith is how we grab the superior realities of the kingdom and bring them into the inferior realities of our life. It’s how we actually experience the life that God has for us. It’s superior in every way. And it’s the ancient path. In fact, in Hebrews chapter 11, I love this, it says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” See if you can catch this. The ancients, those who have gone before us, what we’re doing in this series, looking back, they were commended for their faith. In other words, they weren’t celebrated for their knowledge, for their religion, for their behavior, they were honored and celebrated by God for their faith.

That in the midst of every generation, through every situation and circumstance, they chose to be people of faith. In fact, Hebrews chapter 11, it’s an amazing chapter because it goes through and it talks about all these heroes of the faith and how they lived and it says over and over, by faith, by faith, “By faith Abel tithed, gave God his first and best. By faith, Noah built a boat in the desert before it even rained. By faith, Abraham got up and went to a place he wasn’t even sure where he was going but he knew God asked him to go. By faith, Moses chose to reject the way of this world so he could walk with God. By faith they conquered kingdoms. By faith they shut the mouths of lions. By faith they overcome. By faith they were victorious.” By faith. And these weren’t perfect people. That chapter is full of murderers, adulterers, deceivers and yet at some point in time they realized I’m done walking this road of sight because it just leads to destruction, I’m going to start walking this narrow road of faith.

And that’s what we’re commended for. See, God is amazed by our faith and that amazes me. God is amazed by either our lack of faith or by our great faith. In fact, in Mark chapter 6, one day Jesus in his own hometown to do miracles, he’s there, he’s got the power of God, the Spirit of God and yet it says he could not do many miracles there and he was amazed at their lack of faith. In other words, their doubt, their unbelief, they were so anchored in the natural, the impossibilities, the obstacles that they prevented Jesus from doing that which he wanted to do. I wonder how many times does our lack of faith prevent God from doing the very thing He wants to do.

And then at another time Jesus’s encounter with a Roman centurion, a gentile, somebody who didn’t grow up with faith, and he comes to Jesus and says, Jesus my servant is sick. Will you heal him? And Jesus says, sure, I’ll go with you. And he stops him, he says, you don’t even need to come with me for you are a man of authority. All you have to do is say it and it will be done. But Jesus looks at the man and it says he was amazed at his great faith. See, God is not impressed with your knowledge, with your religion or your behavior, He is amazed by our faith. And Jesus says that when he returns, he asked the question, when I return will I find faith on the earth? I don’t know if he’ll find faith out there, but I want him to find faith right here. You say, well, what is faith? Faith, now faith, so faith is now, it’s not in the past or in the future, it’s right now. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” So see if you can catch this with me.

Faith is being more sure of what we hope for than what we have and it’s being more certain of what we do not see than what we see. Another translation uses the word confidence there. So faith is being more confident of what I hope for than what I have. Being more certain of what I don’t see than what I see. Say, well, how does that work? It would be something like this. Like think of how many times we continue to date someone who is not really the person we really want, it’s who we have so we hold on to what we have as opposed to reaching out for what we hoped for. Oh, that hit close, didn’t it? It’s like I got confidence in what I got, so I’m going to hold on to what I got even though it ain’t very good when I should be reaching out for what I hoped for.

Or how about how many times do we stay in a really broken and dysfunctional job? We stay there. Why? Because we have more confidence in what we have than what we hope for. How many times do we tolerate a life of mediocrity, inferiority, brokenness, average, neutral, below the line? Why? Because we have more confidence in what we have than what we hoped for. But faith has more confidence in we hope for than what we have. Does that make sense? Okay, let me flip it for you and say it like this. How often do we have more confidence in the depression and the anxiety that we have than the peace and the joy that we hope for? How often do we have more confidence in the sickness and the brokenness that we have than in the healing and the miracle that we hope for? How often do we have more confidence in the impossibility right in front of us than the miraculous that God wants to do, the breakthrough that we hope for?

Faith is having more confidence in what we hope for than what we have, what we don’t see than what we can see. And every time you start living with words like this will always be this way, things will never change, you have more confidence in what you have than what you hoped for. But Ephesians 3:20 says, “God will do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine.” Faith is more focused on what we hope for than what we have. Does that make sense to you? I mean think about it like this, when God comes and invites Peter to come and follow him, Peter had had all kinds of stuff. He had a fishing business and a family and a way of life. He could see, he understood by sight all of his life. And in that moment when Jesus invites him to follow, he has to decide to have more confidence in what I have or in the life that I hope for. But you have to let go of what you have to order to be reach out and take a hold of what you hoped for.

I mean I remember right when I graduated college I wanted to be in law enforcement. I worked really hard. I took all the tests. I did all the things, passed all the stuff and I got two offers to get in two different departments at the same time. And I was so excited, I was just trying to figure out which one I was going to take. And I’ll never forget there sitting there trying to figure out which one and then hearing God say to me, you know this isn’t what I have for you. What? You know this isn’t what I have for you. The door’s open, you can take it if you want, but I have so much more in store for you. You want to tell me what that is? No. And in that moment I had to decide, do I have more confidence in what I have, those two jobs, or what I hoped for, the life that God has for me. And so by faith, I declined both of those jobs, not having a clue what it was that God was inviting me to.

But a week later He dropped this in my heart. And now I get to live the life that I hoped for, the life that God had for me. Imagine if I would have just held on to what I had. I would have missed out on all of this. Does that make sense to you? And let me try to illustrate it for you like this, maybe it’ll help some of you. Let’s say you go on Amazon and you’re going to order your favorite thing off of Amazon, okay? The new book, the watch, the garden tool, I don’t know, whatever the thing is you buy on Amazon. And you go onto Amazon and you buy that thing, you put in your credit card and you press submit. The moment you press enter and you just purchased that thing you have confidence that it’s going to show up at your house, right? I mean you bought it, you paid for it, you got the receipt to prove it. So even if it doesn’t show up that day or the next day or a week from then you still have confidence that that thing is going to show up on your door because it’s been paid for so it now belongs to you.

You don’t ever sit there and wonder, is that garden tool going to come? No. Why? Because you have proof that it belongs to you. That’s the kind of faith that Hebrews 11 is talking about, that the moment Jesus went to the cross, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus purchased, paid for once and for all the life of the kingdom. You now have a receipt. The receipt is called the deposit of the Spirit of the living God inside of you as evidence or substance that the fullness of the kingdom now belongs to you. So you can have more confidence in what you hope for than what you have because you have a deposit saying this belongs to me. That’s the kind of confidence he’s talking about here. Does that make sense to you? Come on, it takes faith. Faith to go when you want to stay, faith to stay when you want to go, faith to give when you want to receive, faith to receive when you want to give, faith to serve when you want to be served, faith to apologize when you want someone to apologize to you. It takes faith to walk the ancient path.

I mean think about it, how did you get on the ancient path in the first place? How did you get on the narrow road in the first place? You got on the narrow road and through the small gate by faith. For you have been saved by grace through faith. Grace, the undeserved favor of God. Jesus has forgiven you, he’s redeemed your identity, reconciled your relationship with God, redeemed your purpose. It was by faith you got through that narrow gate, onto that narrow road and now we try to live by sight. Well, no. If I got on it by faith, I’m called to live on it by faith. In fact, this is why it says that the righteous will live by faith. I became righteous by faith so now as someone who’s been made right with God, I’m called to live by faith. This is how we got into the kingdom, this is how we live the life of the kingdom, this is how we go deeper into the kingdom.

And isn’t it ironic that we will trust God by faith for our salvation but not for our situation? It’s like I had faith to get through the narrow gate, but now I got to live my life by sight. No, no, no, no, no. You got on the narrow road by faith, now you walk it by faith one step at a time trusting in the goodness of God in the midst or in spite of your circumstances. You with me on this? I mean in — I love this, one day the crowd asks Jesus, they say, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this, to believe in the one he has sent.” This is fascinating. So what’s the work of God that’s required of you? The work of God is not to work off your past, it’s not to work to secure your future, it’s not even work to be successful today.

You don’t have to perform, you don’t have to earn, you don’t have to achieve anything. The work of God is to believe. God says the work that I have for you is to believe, to cultivate a heart of faith, cultivate a life of belief, to remove the unbelief and the doubt from your life. We have to work to believe. Like when you — you have to work to believe in the supernatural, don’t you? You have to work to believe in signs and wonders and miracles and healings and breakthrough and the superior realities of the kingdom of God. And as we look back on the ancients who have gone before us on that ancient path, every one of their lives in every generation that we can see the narrow road was marked by the supernatural, by miraculous, by signs and wonders. And so my question for you is, when was the last time there was a supernatural move in your life? When was the last time there was a miracle or a breakthrough or a sign and wonder?

I mean if that’s what this road is full of and we don’t see any of that in our life then we have to ask ourselves the question, am I actually walking by faith or am I really living by sight? Come on, Jesus says, you’ll do the things that he has been doing and even greater things than these. He says, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers. He said, power of the Spirit of God has come upon you. So we have to work to believe that that is true and that is the normal reality of the ancient path. And not only do we have to work to believe in the supernatural, we have to work to believe the basic things like God is with me, that God is for me and that God loves me. Come on, Hebrews chapter 11 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” It’s faith that pleases God, not religion, not knowledge, not behavior. Faith.

You say faith in what? That He is who He says He is, that He did what He said He did and that He will do what He said He will do. So how’s your faith? How’s your faith in this season? See, I think if we’re honest and we look at the last two years, all the realities of this world have eroded a lot of our faith. So many things that we’ve relied upon and trusted in and rested on have been completely washed away and we didn’t see it coming. And as those things have gotten washed away, our faith has come crumbling down. But if my faith falls when something else crumbles then my faith really wasn’t in God, it was really in that thing. And I think that’s what a lot of us are experiencing or realizing in this season, that maybe we had more faith in politics or in health care mandates or in economic policies or in education or in situations or circumstances than we really do in God.

And when that happens, it’s actually God’s grace because He’s trying to draw your attention to it to say, hey, let’s remove these things so you can once again be focused on me. Come on, your beliefs are supposed to determine your experiences, your experiences aren’t supposed to determine your beliefs. We aren’t supposed to lower our beliefs down to our experiences, we’re supposed to raise our experiences up to our beliefs. And the problem is over this last season, our experiences in life for a lot of us have been going like this, boom, boom, boom and so we’ve brought our faith or our belief to match what we’re experiencing as opposed to saying, no, this is who God is, this is what God says, I refuse to be defined by the inferior realities of this world and I will raise these experiences to match what I believe about the goodness and the character of God.

So can I ask you a question? Where are you lowering your beliefs to match your experiences? Or said another way, where have you lost faith? Faith in that marriage being restored, faith in that healing coming, lost faith in that child or in your family dynamic and finances in that breakthrough. Come on, where have you lost faith? Don’t bring your beliefs down to what you’re experiencing, raise your experiences up to your belief. Are you with me on that? I mean there’s a great story in Genesis chapter 32. It’s the story of Jacob. Now Jacob’s not the best guy, he’s a deceiver, he’s a liar, he’s a cheat and he’s in a really hard season in his life, really tough circumstances and situations.

And he’s got reference points of God in his life but it doesn’t seem when we get to Genesis 32 like his faith is really alive. And one night it says a man comes and wrestles with Jacob all night long. They literally wrestle all night long, like physically they’re grappling, you know, throwing elbows, punches, you know, all the different moves, they wrestle all night long. And as the sun begins to come up on the horizon, the man says to Jacob, “The sun is coming up, let me go.” And Jacob says, “No, I am not going to let you go until you bless me.” And so the man looks at Jacob and says, “Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” You see, that night Jacob wasn’t wrestling with a man, he was wrestling with God. And Jacob refused to let go of God all night long in the midst of his faith struggles, in the midst of his brokenness, in the midst of his pain.

He just kept wrestling with God all night long. and he wasn’t going to let him go until God blessed him, until he was transformed. And I love he goes from Jacob which means deceiver to Israel which means prince with God. And he says, you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome. Like you didn’t give up, you didn’t let go and the breakthrough came. I think a whole lot of us right now are wrestling with God, wrestling with God. Are you real? Do you exist? Are you good? Does the gospel work and change people’s lives? Why aren’t you speaking? Why aren’t you moving? Why is this happening? Where is my breakthrough? And all that is fine, keep wrestling with God. Don’t give up. Wrestle if you’ve got to wrestle all night long. Refuse to let Him go until He blesses you and changes you until there’s an identity transformation within you.

Struggle with God and men but overcome. Don’t give up until you have a greater understanding of the goodness of God. In fact, Jacob goes on to say, I have seen God face to face and have lived. The more you see God the more you live. So don’t give up in the wrestle. See Him in a new and deeper way. Come on, this is faith. Faith follows the good shepherd into the valley of the shadow of death and refuses to get off the ancient path because they know that eventually it will lead to green pastures. Sight? The moment sight sees the valley of the shadow of death in the horizon, gets off of the path and goes the way of comfort and convenience, but it ends in destruction. I mean 1 Peter says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”

Feels like this last season, right? Suffering grief, all kinds of trials, he says, but you greatly rejoice in that. That’s funny. But you can rejoice in the grief and the trials if you understand that they have come so that your, say it, faith, which is of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by the fire may be proved genuine. In other words, all of the tests and the trials and the pain and the brokenness, all that stuff is actually there to refine your faith. And if it’s faith that God wants us to work on and it’s faith that pleases God and if the righteous live by faith and the narrow road is walked by faith, then when we understand that we can actually start to rejoice in it because we know God is being good to us to strengthen and deepen our belief in the superior realities of the kingdom in the midst of the inferior realities of this world.

So don’t drop your beliefs to everybody else’s experiences, don’t bring your faith down to your family’s level or your work level or school level or leaving the people in your circle or on your team, no, no, no. Faith. God’s doing a deep work, He’s purifying something profound within us in this season. That’s why it says, “Therefore we do not lose heart.” Like we’re not giving up, we’re going to keep wrestling with God. Though outwardly we are wasting away yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen for what is seen as temporary but what is unseen is eternal. In other words, he says, people who live by faith, people who walk the narrow road, people who take the ancient path refuse to allow life to be defined by what they see. They allow life to be defined by what God has said.

So we look from the invisible towards the invisible, toward the visible knowing that that comfort, that convenience, that situation, that trial, that circumstance, it’s temporary. But what we can’t see, righteousness, peace, joy, the finished work of Jesus, it’s eternal. Come on, are you with me on this? This is challenging, isn’t it? Maybe. It is for me. Maybe not you because like here’s the question that we have to ask ourselves, how do we know if we’re walking by sight or faith? Amazing how easy it is to blur the lines and we kind of like make ourselves feel good about it but like how do you know? Well, you know by how you respond to a situation or circumstance that comes into your life. If a situation or circumstance comes into your life and you react, you like panic, you get angry, frustrated, judgmental, bitter, stressed out, overwhelmed, worried, broke down, you’re walking by sight.

Why? Because you just let something that you saw dictate the inner realities of your life. That’s a life of sight. But if that same situation or circumstance moves into my life and I respond with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control I know I’m walking by faith because that’s the fruit of the spirit being manifested in my life because I’m walking with the spirit on the road of life. And I get it it’s a whole lot easier to freak out than it is to have faith, right? Comfort, convenience, control, the only problem with this road is I don’t want to be at the mercy of where it takes me.

I would much rather follow the good shepherd knowing that he will help me find rest for my soul. Come on, see what you have to understand is that sight reacts faith initiates. When a situation or circumstance comes into life, sight reacts, it panics, it freaks out, it reacts to what the world is trying to do to them. But faith initiates what God wants to do through them. Faith sees that same situation or circumstance and looks at it and figures out how do we bring the kingdom of God into that space like we are people of the kingdom, we stand in the face of impossibilities and refuse to allow them to influence our lives, we refuse to tolerate death, darkness and destruction, sin, stealing, brokenness, chaos. Instead we show up and say, how does God want to move? What does God want to do? What does his kingdom look like in this space?

We are not victims of our circumstances, we are hope carriers living by faith, bringing the kingdom of God wherever we go. We’re not very excited about that. See, faith does not deny the facts, it just refuses to see them as truth. That’s all it is. So are you living and leading by faith? Are you leading your family by faith? Are you leading your team by faith? Are you leading your circle by faith? Like are you walking by faith with focusing on the superior realities of the kingdom coming to the inferior circumstances that we see? More focus on what God is saying to us and what we can see. Come on, this is the way of Jesus. Think about it. Jesus never let what he saw determine what he believed.

He never let what he heard determine what he thought about and he never allowed the circumstances to influence the reality of his heart. He allowed what the Father said to determine what he believed, what the Father uh said, determine what he thought about and what the Father said to determine the realities of his heart so every situation, every circumstance is an invitation for us to practice the way of Jesus. And as we begin to practice the way of Jesus, walking in faith, it eventually begins to manifest or show up in our lives. It shows up in your actions and in your behaviors and in your words and in your language and in your choices. It begins to show up in how you grieve and how you view yourself and how you take opportunities and deal with those circumstances. In fact, this is why faith without actions is dead. Faith leads you to actions. There’s actually faith in your life, it begins to show up in how you talk, how you think, how you move, how you live.

Faith will show up most importantly in your countenance because you become what you behold and you radiate what you stare at. And so if I’m focused on the situations and circumstances, the things that I can see, my countenance will reflect despair, desperation, worry, stress, anger. But if I look towards Jesus, my countenance will reflect hope and peace and joy. Faith that has no action showing up in its life is dead. So if there’s no action showing up in your life then your faith is dying or it’s dead. The good news is we serve the God of resurrection and he can resurrect that faith just like the man who had the demon-possessed son.

And he tried everything there was to do. He finally comes to Jesus as his last ploy of desperation and he says, “Lord, if you can do anything, please help us.” And Jesus says, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” And the man says, “I do believe but help me in my unbelief.” And Jesus doesn’t rebuke him, he takes that small measure of faith, heals the boy and strengthens the man. And that’s what God wants to do with us. See, hear me, Jesus is the source of your faith. You don’t grow your faith by looking inward. If you’re like, man, my faith is dying, it’s going out my belief is struggling don’t look at your faith. The more you look at your faith, what you need to do, what’s going on in here, the worse it will get. No, no, no. You need to look to Jesus because Jesus is the source of our faith. You with me on this? Let me go real quick because I’m out of time look at these three verses though, this is how you strengthen your faith, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our –”

The more I look to Jesus the more my faith in the goodness and the character and the nature of God begins to grow. This last season, a lot of our eyes have come off Jesus on everything else. Like Peter walking on water, as long as he’s looking at Jesus he can walk on water. The moment it says, he saw the wind and the waves he began to sink. If our eyes are fixed on Jesus we walk in the superior realities of the kingdom in the midst of the inferior realities of this world. Water is an inferior reality in the kingdom of God. Another time. So second one, so then by faith comes by — “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” In other words, whatever I’m hearing my faith in that thing is growing. Is it any wonder then that maybe some doubt has crept into our heart over this last season because we’ve been listening to so much death, darkness, destruction, despair, depression, gloom, weightiness, our faith in that thing begins to grow?

So we need to turn those voices off and we need to turn on hearing about Jesus and who he is and what he has done. You need the word of God spoken over your life. You need to engage the Scriptures for yourself. Take our worship music and just play it in your house. Why? Because faith comes by hearing and whenever I’m hearing my faith in that thing begins to grow. Are you listening to the right stuff? And then the last thing is simply this, for the lord is good, his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations. The Lord is good to you. If His love endures forever, He was love, He is love and He will be love and His faithfulness continues through all generations. Faith flows through relationship.

When I get around the faithful God I will become full of faith. When I get around God in His atmosphere, in His environment, I have relationship with Him, His character and His nature is faithfulness. So when I get around the faithfulness of God I can’t help but become full of faith. This is Moses. Moses spoke to God face to face the way a man would speak to his friend. He got around the faithfulness of God so he was always full of faith at every trial and obstacle and problem that they ran into. The Israelites, they withdrew from God and because they never were around the faithfulness of God they were never full of faith at every trial and obstacle and challenge they had they walked by sight and they freaked out.

The way you grow your faith is by getting around the faithfulness of God. And He will fill you full of faith. The ancient path is walked by faith, not run by sight. By faith, by faith, by faith. I can choose to have more confidence in what I hope for than what I have. I can be more focused on the goodness and the character of God in the midst or in spite of the circumstances of my life. So close your eyes. Come on, what does God want to say to you today?

There are so many things we could pull on and pray through and talk about. But I think so many of us today we’ve been wrestling with God like Jacob. And maybe we weren’t even aware of it. Maybe we didn’t even have words to put to it. But maybe today is God’s way of encouraging you and saying, keep wrestling with me. Don’t give up now. Don’t quit in the mystery. Don’t give up in the valley of the shadow of death keep wrestling until God blesses you until you change, until you see Him face to face and see His character and His goodness and His nature more clearly that you may live.

So Jesus, today, we take our eyes off of everything else, we look to you and we say, increase our faith. May your faithfulness fill us with faith and may we continue to walk down this ancient path, the good way and may we find rest for our souls by faith in Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.

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