Belief + Action = Faith
3 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
We come to believe in God as Christ reveals Himself to us through His Spirit. There is a difference in believing in God with our minds and trusting God through our actions.
- Believing in God is what we do intellectually. It’s an acknowledgement of His existence. BEWARE: This type of belief is NOT salvation. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:19. We must believe and be fully persuaded to the point of action.
- Trusting in God requires action. It’s like sitting in a chair. Believing that the chair will hold us is good, but it’s not until we actually put our weight on it that we actually trust the chair. When we entrust our lives to Jesus Christ, we put our full weight upon Him. Steven Curtis Chapman called it, “Diving in.” DIVE
The secret to having faith and receiving more faith is faithfulness. The more we trust Jesus with our daily lives through obedience to His Spirit, the more our faith-foundation is built. Likewise, the better a foundation of faith we have, the easier it is for us to obey the Spirit. Why? Because we trust Him. We have history with Him. He is faithful to us, therefore we are faithful to Him. He made the first move to us on the cross. He even made the second move by knocking on our heart’s door.
Knowing this definition of faith helps us to understand the parables of Jesus in Luke 17.
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. 7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”
- Evidently, the apostles (disciples) were feeling inadequate in the faith department. They saw the miracles Jesus performed, but they were struggling with doing them themselves (see Luke 9:40).
- Jesus gave–to me–an obscure answer. Consider this: Our duty as followers of Jesus is to obey His commands, “If you love Me, keep My commands.” John 14:15. Under the authority of the Holy Spirit, we are commanded by Him to say to the mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea.” We do as the Spirit commanded us and, behold, it came to pass! Our faithfulness is rewarded with His faithfulness. Our faith (daily trust) is increased, and GOD GETS THE GLORY. By the way, being under the umbrella of God’s authority is a GREAT place to be–and to stay! It’s how we stand blameless before Him. Our obedience is crucial to our blamelessness.
- Verses 7-10 have to do with GLORY. “That’s the first thing that needs to be stressed from Isaiah 48:9–11: our salvation is for God’s sake. He created us for his glory!” John Piper – God Created Us for His Glory We we are obedient, and God gets the glory. He COMMANDS us, He EMPOWERS us, He brings SUCCESS, and He receives all the GLORY. Jesus even put Himself in this category at this point in His life. “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8. The difference between Jesus and us is in the next verses:
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Even then, it was for God’s glory. He Alone deserves all glory, praise and blessing! King David prayed this prayer near the end of his life (1 Chronicles 29:10-11, 14):
“Praise be to you, Lord,
the God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
David understood. We would do well to believe him, trust the LORD, and obey His every command–to the glory of God! And when we are done with this life, we will say with all, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” Thus, all the glory goes to the LORD!
Abba, this lesson has been a hard one. Working through the Scriptures, piecing together Your truths, seeking counsel through others (John Piper), and relying on Your guidance have been a struggle, but a good one. May I grow in my faith even as I am faithful to do all You ask of me. Increase my faith O LORD, which means that You give me opportunities to be faithful through obedience. You have given me the desire; now give me the power to do Your will (Phil. 2:13). And, may it be to Your GLORY. Amen.
NOTE: I asked God why it was such a struggle this morning. I immediately got the image of a butterfly squeezing out of its Chrysalis (cocoon). I remembered that the process is necessary for the fluids to be squeezed into the wings so that the butterfly can fly. I asked the LORD if He had to make the hole quite so small… I think He smiled.