"Now faith is the assurance
of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)
There is so much in life that makes us fearful and frustrated, yet we are told not to worry and to just have faith. What does that mean? What does faith have to do with paying the bills that are way past due, the rebellious child that is unconsolable, or the work environment that pulls so much out of you and gives nothing of value in return? How do we have faith in times like these, and what does it really mean? And how can we tap into it to sustain ourselves in our time of need?
Let's start in Habakkuk 2:1-4 where the prophet Habakkuk, who in his despair and frustration, searches for answers by seeking God:
"I will stand upon my watch and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved."
There are four points I want to address to those who are genuinely seeking strength and encouragement.
Instruction of God
Condition of the Heart
Your position and belief
First is the attitude of Habakkuk. When he prepares to approach God, he understands there may be a waiting period. He also comes with humbleness of heart by stating, "when I am reproved." Understanding that somewhere in all this, I must have missed my part of the responsibility. God heard Habakkuk's plea and answered the prophet with these instructions:
"Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end, it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarries, wait for it: because it will surely come, it will not tarry."
Next were God's instructions to Habakkuk to "write the vision" down. What God was about to show Habakkuk was important. "It," at the time of the prophet's plea, was the prophecy of Jesus Christ to establish His kingdom on the earth (the kingdom of God). However, the part I want you to focus on is God's last statement to Habakkuk:
"Behold, the soul which is lifted up is not upright in him, but the just shall live by his faith."
This means--before you can approach God with your plea, you must first look at the condition of your heart. 2 Corinthians 13:5 explains it this way: we need to examine ourselves and determine our faith, whether it be in Christ or ourselves. Galatians 2:16 declares we are no longer justified by the works of our ability but by our faith alone in Christ Jesus. John 3:16, Jesus reveals to us that He is "the vision" of the plan of God when he says: for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Therefore, if you are going to overcome and win in your situation, you must first believe you are justified to receive what you are asking. If justified, as Jesus states in Mark 11:22, then qualified to ask what we will of God and believe we have it. What are you asking? Hebrews 11:1 states we are to be assured of God's Word and confident in His promises through Jesus Christ. What is your faith? Faith is your confident belief that God hears you and supplies the answer or the solution. Romans 1:16-17 states it is within the gospel of Jesus Christ that faith is built and established.
I have a saying that I often use in my congregation to keep us grounded in faith: "That which holds the reins, controls the actions." What this means is that which takes hold of the soul (mind, will, and emotions) controls the person's actions. If it is fear or frustration, it is not of God. If your soul is engulfed with anxiety, it is because you have allowed this world to dictate your life. If it is of frustration, you are trying to control your life through your own self-will. Neither of these is pleasing to God. Hebrews 11:6 clearly states that it is impossible to please God without faith. You must believe that God rewards those who diligently seek His guidance. Counsel is sent to guide our souls. Counsel gives us vision. Seek wisdom and allow counsel to guide you. Relinquish your will, humble yourself and pray (ask, seek and knock), and the answer will come, and it will not tarry. Just follow the instructions. Be blessed.
Devotional Reading: 2Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:16; John 3:16-21; Mark 11:22-26; Hebrews 11; Romans 1:16-32; Jeremiah 17:7-10; Romans 10:14-18.