Thought for the Week - 21st August 2016Pastor Gareth Watkins
Last week Vanda wrote about entering into that place where Christ is. Some people know of that place but feel unable to access it, some people find they can only enter in to a certain depth, and some people don’t know that place exists. That place is reserved for those who believe.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about the keys that God gives us. One of the keys for that place is to have faith. You can’t be a person full of faith unless you are faithful. Being faithful is a practical thing, which in turns makes you a person of faith.
In Hebrews 11: 1 we read:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
Faith is something that in some ways isn’t tangible. It’s something that God is telling you is to occur and you have to walk on, do the things He says to do because He tells you what will happen later on. That’s faith! You will be faithful to that which has been given to you because God has given it to you.
In the first instance, He’s called you to have faith in Christ as saviour. From that comes more faith. The Bible tells us that “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Faith is a building process – each time you have something given to you, you’re expected to walk on in faith. And from doing so, the more faith grows. You have to walk in faith. We’re called to walk not by sight by faith! We’re meant to be faithful in all manner of different things. There’s a call for each of us to play in society and in church.
Last week we read how Mary gave everything she could. She couldn’t necessarily handle the next thing to come – the questions, the arguments – it was a total act of faith on her part as she looked on Christ as the Messiah.If we want to be a faithful person, we have to have faith; to have faith we need to be faithful.
In our lives there’s many areas we need to be faithful in:
- Does God call us to chaotic lives? No, he is a God of order and brings order. Bring that chaos under God.
- Do we need faith to bring up children? Yes! It can be hard to bring your children up under God. However, He will make us accountable for the way we bring up our children.
- We see all around us how men can be dispensable these days, as fathers and husbands. You often need to have faith just to be a man!
- Do you need faith to be part of a church? Yes, you need huge faith! The enemy will try to separate you off and tell you you’re not necessary or loved! You need faith to believe you are necessary, loved and called! Every part of the body of Christ is important and called.
To be a people of faith we must be faithful. We must carry on through these things. We must be faithful to be a person of faith.
We can read examples of faith in the bible. Gideon had tremendous faith and was faithful, until the end. He didn’t end his days full of faith, but instead was faithless. Paul however, found faith and ended his days full of faith.
And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him,
“The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
Gideon is described by an Angel of God as a mighty man of courage. However, Gideon was hiding away at this point in the wine press, and must be very surprised that he’d be described as such! He then tells him:
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
Can you imagine being Gideon at this point? Not only has God sent an Angel who called him courageous at a time while he was hiding, but then God told him to go and save a nation! The Angel was describing him as something he ‘could be’ in the future, but at this point was not. Did Gideon need faith? Gideon needed faith to take the call of God where it needed to go. He needed not just to be faithful, but to walk on in faith.
So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
Gideon was the least of his people and the Midianites were a formidable enemy! But God was telling him – like He tells us – that he could be a mighty person of faith! To continue to the end of days, you will have to be faithful. That’s the call on Gideon’s life and ours. To become a person of faith you need to be faithful… even in the small things.
And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
God will be with you too! The Midianites in our lives can be lots of different things – chaotic lives, issues in work, financial problems, illnesses etc. A Midianite in our world today is something that brings us fear, prevent you going on in God, bring confusion etc. We have to have faith to break through these things, God will be with us and the Midianites will be defeated. Don’t lose your faith, because God will break through! Hold on in faith and be faithful… the battle is God’s! God is with you and the Midianites will flee! The Lord is with you – be faithful and be a person of faith. God will give you the inheritance! If we are faithful, He will provide that inheritance, which is His to give, one day.
We read that Gideon being human demands a sign:
Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favour in Your sight,
then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me.
look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.”
Gideon still needed confirmation that he was doing God’s will! Then comes the step of faith. He has to step out in faith:
Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.”
Gideon needed faith to risk angering his father with these actions. He has to be faithful and do what God told him. If we are going to be like Gideon, we have to step out in faith too. We have to do what is God’s thing to do, regardless of how foolish they look to the world. We later read that God tells Gideon to reduce his army from 32,000 men to 300! Gideon has all the people of East coming against him, and he has 300 men!
We read that God tells Gideon not to be troubled because He will be with him:
Then the Lord said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”
We too need verses that hold us fast when we face our Midianites. We can’t stand unless we have the faith to hold us fast. We read later in the Book that God tells Gideon to take action. There comes a time when we too have to face the enemy! We do this not in our strength, but in God’s strength… if it’s his battle, those enemies will go. In God’s strength we will not die! A tremendous victory was won through the faith of one man! The enemy won’t prevail!
If we are going to be people of faith, we need to be faithful.