Faith is one of the fundamentals of the Christian life.
Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 10:38 The just shall live by faith.
Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the saints obtained a good testimony.
We need not only to possess faith but we need a faith that possesses us.
Immature faith is:
– Superficial faith
– Superstitious faith
– Hyper faith, “A blab it grab it” mentality.
Immature faith is characterised by:
– Taking shortcuts
– Looking for the quick fix
– “It’s all about me, and my needs and wants.”
People with immature faith love Jesus when all is going well, but when they don’t get their own way, or when they don’t get their prayers answered in the time and in a way they would like, their foundation begins to shift as it is built on the shifting sands. When a storm comes, they haven’t taken the time, or paid the cost, to build upon the Rock and they can end up being swept away and losing their faith. They feel let down by God.
Questions for Discussion:
– When things go wrong, does that mean that God doesn’t love us or care about us?
– How does that fit with ‘life and life abundantly’ (John 10:10)?
If you try to get your theology from circumstances, you’ll come to the conclusion that God doesn’t love you. Don’t for a moment think that if adversity comes God does not love or care for you. God is Sovereign and has a plan – we need to rest on the great, eternal promises of God.
The Bible says, this life is like a vapour that appears for a little while, and then fades away (James 4:14). If all your hope is wrapped up in what you can get in this life, you may become disappointed – even the good things of this life are going to ultimately fail you.
It takes faith to hold fast, especially in the midst of trials. Take courage, be bold and anchor yourselves to the Word of God. Let’s have a look at this great story of enduring faith: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.
Daniel 3:14-18 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
God delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego but they didn’t know that when they were being bound and marched towards the furnace.
Question for Discussion:
– What kind of faith should we have if we want to endure? Answer: Mature faith. Mature faith is:
A settled faith: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego didn’t have to think about the King’s request to bow to an idol. They were not anxious, upset, or troubled. Their faith was settled. They were resolute.
A strong faith: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego knew in whom they had believed – the God to whom nothing is impossible.
A sure and steadfast faith: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego knew that, no matter whether they were thrown into the fire or not, they were not going to bow the knee to the world. They knew that even if they were to die in the flames, their lives were in God’s hands. It is one thing to have faith to escape; it’s another thing to have faith to endure.
Question for discussion:
– What kinds of things are we tempted to bow down to in our modern times?
Three things happened in the account of these three Hebrew boys’ trial.
1. The Cleansing of the Sinner: The Bible says that the ropes they were tied up with were all burned off but that there was not even the smell of smoke on their clothes. The only thing the fire burned off them was what the world had put on them. When you go through the fire, God is cleansing you.
2. The Companionship of the Saviour: The King said, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God”. God is the one who promised that He would never leave you nor forsake you. He is our very present help in time of trouble.
3. The conviction of sinners: Upon their deliverance, Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, there is no other God who can deliver like this.” Jesus never promised you a ‘rose garden’. In fact, He said His followers would suffer persecution, tribulation and trials. But, remember, in the midst of those things, He offered peace – a peace that surpasses all human understanding. And know this – people are more drawn to Christ when they see you have joy and peace in the fire than when you are relaxing on the beach!