ii. Faith and Action


God-Sized Invitations

When our Heavenly Father involves us in an activity, it is always God-sized. If involved in doing something that I can manage on my own, I know immediately that the assignment is probably not from God. All assignments given by God in His Word are God-sized. For example:

- Gen 12:2 "I will make you into a great nation" and Gen 17:4-6 "You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you."

When this promise was first given, Abraham was around 75 years old and had no children. The second time he received that promise he was 99 years old and still had no children. How could Abraham join God in such an activity! It was impossible! No wonder Abraham laughed: Gen 17:17 "Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?"

Sarah did indeed bear a son at age 90 and he was named Isaac.

Luke 1:37 "Nothing is impossible with God."

- Moses was invited to join God in delivering Israel from Egyptian slavery. He would have to confront impossible situations like facing the Red Sea while being pursued by the Egyptian army, feeding millions of people for years to come in a desert environment and providing water where no water could be found. (See Exodus)

- Gideon was invited to join God in defeating a vast army consisting of Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples with only 300 men! (See Judges 7)

- Jesus' disciples were invited to join Jesus in feeding 5000 men and their families with barely five loaves and two fish. (See Matthew 14: 15-21)

- They were also invited to join Jesus in healing a multitude of sicknesses and freeing demon-possessed people. (See Matthew 10:8)

All of these invitations had one thing in common: they all were not humanly possible. They were God-sized tasks.

What was the outcome of these God-sized tasks?

Ex 14:31 "And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant."

Josh 4:24 "He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."

Acts 4:4 "But many who heard the message believed…"

P. S. Fearing the Lord does not mean being afraid of him. Instead it is a motivator to be in the center of God's will because we could not imagine hurting God and facing a possible eternal separation from Him by being willfully disobedient. (See http://www.answers2prayer.org/bible_questions/Answers/fear_of_the_lord/fear_of_the_lord.html  )

The purpose of these God-sized tasks is for us to really get to know God. Our Heavenly Father is far more interested in developing a relationship with us than in having us finish a job. People around us will realize that God is indeed awesome and trustworthy.

Question 11: Why are we invited to join God in God-sized assignments?

Answer:


Faith Required

Naturally when we face God-sized assignments, we tend to want to shy away from them. How could anyone fulfill such assignments? Impossible! However when we join God in His work, we experience Him more intimately and develop a closer relationship with Him. The assignment is carried out not on our own strength, but through God's strength. Such God-sized involvements require faith from our part.

Question 12: What is faith?

Heb 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Answer:

Question 13: What is the opposite of faith?

2 Cor 5:7 "We live by faith, not by sight."

Answer:

Question 14: We have discovered how Jesus depended on God and joined His Heavenly Father wherever He was at work. We are invited to do the same. What can we accomplish if we faith?

John 14:12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."

Answer:

Question 15: How much faith is needed for God to do through us what is humanly impossible?

Matt 17:20 "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Answer:

Faith is worthless if it is based on people, doctrines, concepts or ideas. True faith can only be in God Himself. Faith is a person. When the apostle Paul wrote in Gal 3:23 "Before this faith came…" , he was referring to Jesus.

He also wrote Heb 12:2 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith."

Jesus is the author of our faith. We can't just one day decide to have faith. It only comes from Jesus. He is the One who also will "perfect" our faith! Once we become a Christian we have access to that faith. It is in seed-form in us and has to be tapped into to experience its full growth.

When joining God in His invitation to work at His side, we exercise our faith in Him. If we decide not to join Him, we will show our lack of faith. Let us always remember that we are not the ones doing God-sized assignments, it is God working through us who makes this possible. The only thing required from us is to trust Him and to tap into that faith made available to us, obeying to His voice.

Question 16: Have there been times in your life when you showed lack of faith?

Answer:

Question 17: Describe an opportunity where you responded in faith to. Don't feel bad if you can't recall such a moment. God will provide you with such opportunities in the upcoming months.

Answer:


Action-Based Faith

Faith by itself is worthless, unless it is followed by action.

1 Cor 13:2 "If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

James 2:26 "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

Someone who is faithful joins God whenever He is asked to, no matter the outcome. Not all outcomes are successful to human eyes.

Question 18: Read the following text about faithful believers and write the "Positive" outcomes of their faith on the left-side and the "Negative" outcomes on the right.

Heb 11:32-38 "And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.

Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated- the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground."

Answer:     “Positive” Outcomes                                                “Negative” Outcomes        

 

 

 

 

 

Question 19: What should motivate us to join God at work?

Heb 12:1-3 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (See Hebrews 11), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Answer:


Wilma Rudolph

Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

The life of Wilma Rudolph, the great Olympic sprinter, is a remarkable story of faith. Wilma was born with health problems that left her crippled. "Will I ever be able to run and play like the other children?" Wilma asked her parents.

"Honey, you have to believe in God and never give up hope," they responded. "If you believe, God will make it happen." Taking her parents' counsel, she painfully struggled to walk. By the time she was 12, to the delight and surprise of many, Wilma no longer needed her braces. She went on to play basketball on her championship high school team and win three gold medals in the 1960 Olympics.

When you hear inspiring stories of faith like Wilma Rudolph's, do you sometimes wonder, "What could I accomplish if I took God at His Word?" Faith is the foundational principle of the Christian life. Believing who God is, what He says, what He has done, and what He will do defines the kingdom of God.

Furthermore, faith is the essence of the Christian's day-to-day activity. Paul wrote: "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Colossians 2:6). How did you receive Christ? By faith. How then are you to walk in Him? By faith. In Scripture, walking refers to the way you conduct your everyday life. Victorious Christian living and spiritual maturity are determined by our belief in God.

We tend to think of faith as some kind of mystical quality which belongs only in the realm of the spiritual. But everybody walks by faith. It is the most basic operating principle of life. The question is, in what or in whom do you believe? We are challenged to believe in God and take His Word seriously.

Dr. Anderson, Freedom in Christ and Harvest House Publishers www.ficm.org

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