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Enduring FAITH

Everyone has faith. You have faith that the lights will come on when you flick the switch, and when you turn the door knob, you have faith that the door is going to open. Christians and non-Christians alike have that kind of faith. However, not everyone has faith in God.


The kind of faith the Bible talks about is centered on believing in God. Hebrews 11:6 says: “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Here we see three elements of a faith that pleases God: (1) we must believe that He exists; (2) we must believe that He rewards; and (3) we must believe that He will reward us when we seek Him.


Faith Is
“Faith is,” Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” It is the confidence that things yet unseen will happen as God said they will. It involves accepting God’s perspective as He reveals it in the Bible.


When there was nothing, God created everything. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Colossians 1:16-17 builds on that same thought, saying, “All things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”


This is our God. He is the One who created the entire universe. He is all-powerful, and nothing is too difficult for Him; yet, He cares about you and will reward you when you earnestly seek Him. He holds the universe together, and He is willing and able to see you through the problems you face.


Faith Goes Through
No one has the luxury of going through a problem-free life. The psalmist wrote, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19). Just knowing that God’s plan is to deliver you from every trouble you face should make it a bit easier to have an enduring faith.


In Isaiah 43:1-2, God said, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Water and fire are sometimes used in the scriptures to represent calamity; water, because it overwhelms and fire, because it consumes. Though these promises were spoken to Israel, they also have implications for us today. God wants you to know that no matter how overwhelming or consuming your problems are, He will be with you and will help you safely through to the other side.


Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? They were the three Hebrew men who would not bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar’s idol (Daniel 3:8-25). There is no doubt that God had the power to prevent these godly men from being thrown in the fiery furnace, but instead, He chose to join them in the fire. Not only did they all survive, but we learn from Daniel 3:27 that not a single hair on their heads was singed – and they didn’t even smell like smoke when they came out!


Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made it through the fire unscathed because they placed their faith in God. They said, “We know our God is able to deliver us…but even if He doesn’t, yet will we serve Him!” They were so steadfast in their faith that even the threat of a certain death could not persuade them to give up.


Faith Doesn’t Doubt
Your faith in God will help you rise above any hardship you face. 1 John 5:4 (NKJV) says, “…this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” Faith overcomes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that God will always immediately intervene when we call on Him. Sometimes God changes us on the inside first, helping us develop an enduring faith by focusing on Him and His Word.


There was a couple who wanted to have children. They had been married over nine years and had undergone years of unsuccessful medical procedures. Despite the fact that doctors gave them no hope, they didn’t give up on their faith. They believed that the same God who rewarded Abraham and Sarah’s faith by giving them children when they were well past childbearing age (Genesis 21:2, Hebrews 11:11), would reward their faith as well.


On a daily basis, this couple faced the choice that every believer faces when in the midst of adversity: “Do I believe what the circumstances say, or do I keep on believing God?” It was not always easy, but they learned to consistently rely on God’s promises rather than to give in to discouragement and doubt. God rewarded their faith and intervened where medical science could not. Their two daughters are wonderful testimonies of God’s faithfulness.


Just as their faith sustained them, your faith is designed to help you endure anything. That is how the Apostle Paul could say that he was “content” no matter what state he was in (Philippians 4:11) His faith gave him a vision of victory in his heart so he could endure until his circumstances changed.


Faith Endures Hardship
Speaking of Paul, his life is an excellent example of how faith in God can help a believer endure hardship. He wrote, “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea, and I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).


Even through the worst of all those circumstances, Paul did not lose sight of his victory. He even encouraged others saying, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Despite tremendous hardship, Paul’s enduring faith helped him remain confident in God through every trial.


Finally
Your enemy, the devil, wants to discourage you and make you doubt God. He does his best to convince you that your marriage will never improve… that your kids will never come back to the Lord… that you will always be sick… that you’ll never have enough money, etc. Far too often, we believe the devil’s lies.


Christians must resist the devil and develop an enduring faith in the God who can do the impossible. No problem, difficulty, or struggle that you face is bigger than God, so in the midst of trouble, draw even closer to Him. The closeness of His presence will enable you to remain strong through more than you thought possible. Rest assured that He will not allow you to be tried beyond the strength He gives you. Just as sure as the trial comes, you can be sure God will provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13).


By faith, release your concerns, cares and worries to God through prayer. Trust Him. He is faithful to do what His Word promises, and He will give you the faith to endure until your victory is complete!

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