Building Blocks Of Faith

  Faith is one of the most powerful elements in human life. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is a picture gallery of the heroes of faith. It begins with a definition of faith. We always need a definition that we may know what we are talking about. Paul's definition is an accurate one when properly understood. "Now faith is the substance [ground or confidence, margin] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The American Standard Version renders it thus, "Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things nob seen." In the margin it reads, "Now faith is the giving substance to things hoped for, a test of things Dot seen."

  This is a practical rather than a definitive picture of faith. Faith is accepting a thing as true and acting upon that thing as truth with all confidence. As it relates to God, it is taking God at his word. It is believing his promises. It is personal acceptance of his promises, relying on those promises, and making them the basis of the life.

  One phase of faith is confident trust: the other is confident action. We read of the "full assurance of faith." Such full assurance in the old time worthies resulted in great accomplishments. In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews and elsewhere we read of what was done through faith. We look upon those who accomplished such things as, in some way, superhuman. We are inclined to believe, as the doubters of this world believe that the day of faith in religion has largely passed. III reality that is not true. There are mighty works of faith being accomplished today. Faith is just as effective today as in any former age. There are people now who have faith and the might of that faith is manifested in mighty deeds and accomplishments.

  Many wonderful things are accomplished by faith today, tho the world goes on its way in ignorance of them. Most people think there is little faith today. They overlook the fact that when these worthies of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews were living the people did not consider their faith as amounting to very much They were probably entirely unaware of the great accomplishments of faith that were going on around them. In like manner, many people, in fact most people, are ignorant of the wonderful accomplishments of faith that are so prevalent today.

  When we read of the accomplishments of faith in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews it is natural for us to say, "I am not like those; I cannot have faith such as they had." I am not so sure of that. They were only common folk with perhaps little more than average faith. It may be that we shall accomplish a little less than they accomplished, but faith in us will produce real results just the same.

  The day in which they lived was no more favorable for faith than today. In fact there was not so much faith then as today. Christian knowledge and Christian experience have laid a broader ground for faith, a surer foundation than they had in former ages. Faith is just as mighty today and will accomplish as much as in the ancient day. Perhaps we shall not duplicate the things they did. That may not be necessary; or perhaps it could not serve any good purpose if we should do so. But faith is the gift of God and he is willing to impart it to each of us.

  We already have much natural faith. The faith we have is the basis of our lives. Without faith the business world could not operate. Home life would not be possible.. Religion could not exist. Government would be powerless. No great undertakings would ever be begun. Accomplishments, of whatsoever sort, are based on faith No wonder we are urged in the Scriptures to "have faith in God."

  Faith in God is believing him. We can have no satisfactory relations with him, except through faith. We are saved by faith; we are kept by faith. We are justified by faith. We stand by faith. We rejoice by faith.

  Assurance of immortality is a matter of faith. Faith is the victory that overcometh the world.

  The apostles had faith. Jesus said to them, "Ye believe in God." Faith brings certainty. Without faith there can be no certainty. It brought certainty to Paul. He said, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

  God is worthy to be believed. He cannot lie because his whole nature is truth and righteousness. He never changes. He never forgets his promises. He never turns away from those who trust him. Therefore, have faith in God. We should hold the attitude toward the Word of God that was held by an old saint who wa' nearing the sunset of life. A minister quoted to her, "Lo I am with you alway," and said, "What a blessed promise that is." "Ah," said she; "that is not a promise, it is just a fact."

  God's promises are facts. They are actual facts, or potential facts. They are either facts to us or may become facts to us by trusting them. The greatest fact in the lives of God's people is that they believe in God and they act upon that belief in a way that produces definite results in Christian living—holiness of heart and life, and true happiness. In fact, there can be no other basis of true happiness save faith. It is the foundation of all. To believe in God as the New Testament pictures him, and to accept him as he is represented to be, and to submit to him as such faith would lead us to do, is to be happy.

  One needful thing is that we believe in God as he reveals himself to be. We must do this quite apart from any inner feelings we may have about him or any fear' we may have about him. He is what he reveals himself to be. If we feel he may be other than what he represents himself to be it is because we do not definitely believe that representation of himself is true. We read God's promises and often we cannot feel that they mean just what they say, or that God will make them true to us. We fear and tremble when facing various things in life tho God has promised to be with us and help us. He has promised us victory through Jesus Christ all along the Christian way. Yet how many times we shrink; and tremble and walk in uncertainty.

  Unbelief is the source of all this. Abraham believed God; therefore he did not stumble at God's promise. He took God at his word, then acted upon his word just as tho there could be no such thing as questioning it. God'' Word is true. His promises were meant to be fulfilled.. They are "yea and amen" to everyone who believeth God has no desire to avoid fulfilling that which he has promised to do. He is under no compulsion. He promised because he wanted to do the things he promised to do.

  He will do what he has promised. Do you believe it? It is true, whether or not you believe it. You will get the benefit of it only by believing it. You can believe ii You have the power to believe it. All fears that God will not do what he has promised are foolish fears. If you will believe, God will do the rest. If you will trust there will be no failure. If you will go ahead in faith, doubting nothing, your way will be prepared before you. The victory will ever be yours. You will be able to stand in the evil day. Whatever comes cannot overwhelm you. Your strength will be equal to your need. "Have faith in God."

  The Psalmist declared that he would not fear tho war was made upon him. That was the language of faith. Faith gave him courage. It will give you courage. There is no telling what God will do for those who trust him. What will earthly governments do for their citizens? Here is an illustration: Great Britain sent ten thousand men on a long voyage by sea, then seven hundred miles over sunscorched trails through the jungles of Africa to fight their way through an armed and brave enemy tr rescue one man. That man had been arrested and imprisoned illegally and unjustly. His life was at stake.

  So Great Britain risked the lives of ten thousand men that he might be saved.

  If an earthly government will do this to save one of its citizens what will the government of heaven do to save one of its citizens who appeals to it? Jesus said twelve legions of angels were ready to assist him and to defend him and we are told that "the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, to deliver them." "Have faith in God."

  The life of faith is the most satisfactory of all lives. In fact it is the only satisfactory life. Matthew Henry has said, "None live so easily, so pleasantly, as those who live by faith."

  Children implicitly trust their parents. They believe they will be protected and cared for. They believe their needs will be supplied. They believe they have nothing to fear. They have the confidence expressed by the little boy who was threatened with injury by a larger boy. He said as he looked the other squarely in the face, "No, you won't hurt me. My daddy won't let you." If we have the same confident trust in God we can say, "God will not let you" do the things that are threatened. God will protect us. God will help us.

  This is not imagination. It is reality. We should cultivate an attitude of faith toward God, an expectancy that he will take care of us. This brings to us the confident assurance that we have nothing to fear. This in turn brings rest and peace. When we have learned to exercise such faith we have learned the secret of the singing heart.

  C. B. Larson says, "We should train ourselves to meet everything in that attitude of mind that expects all things to work out right." Why should we not have such an attitude? Why should we not expect such things? We have every reason to be confident of this result. Instead of questioning, fearing, trembling, lest we may fail, let us exercise definite faith in God, and day by day build up ourselves and erect a structure of Christian character and Christian life worthy of the God th&t helps us. Someone has said, "Do not wonder if you will fail, but think how you are going to succeed." That is the attitude with which we should face life. Success is the product of faith. We should expect to succeed as well as determine to succeed.

  Faith produces the building blocks wherewith we build up life. These building blocks of faith are not like the child's blocks with which it builds up a lottery structure which falls at a touch. No, faith furnishes concrete blocks to build an enduring structure. With them we can build a life that the earthquakes of unfavorable circumstances cannot throw down.

  Faith manifests itself in or leads to obedience. If we believe God is King and has the right to rule over us, "And if we believe the Bible is his law, it will bring us into an attitude of obedience. It will be our joy to do his will. Such faith will end rebellion. There will be no questioning, but sincere, wholehearted obedience. It will not be the obedience of fear but the obedience of love. Its language is, "I delight to do thy will, O God."

  Faith also manifests itself in submission to God God's will becomes sweet to us, and this submission to him becomes a great building force in our lives.

  This faith also manifests itself in fidelity, loyalty to principles of right. It makes us willing to sacrifice and to serve and makes service fruitful in joyfulness.

  Faith results in honoring God by giving credit to his promises. If we shall "set to our seal that God is true, then we can say like the prophet in II Kings 6, "He that is for us is more than they that be against us." Faith has an inborn courage that can face anything. This courage is not the result of assumption. It is founded on solid facts.

  It is not enough to believe in God. We must believe in ourselves as well. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Men who succeed have faith in themselves and faith in their fellows. Doubt either and you are doomed."

  Sometimes it is easier to believe in God than to believe in ourselves, but there are abundant reasons why we should have faith in ourselves. If we know we are sincere, earnest, and trying to do God's will, if we know our purposes are right purposes and our actions are based on such purposes we have an excellent foundation for faith in ourselves. I do not mean faith in ourselves apart from God, but faith that God and we are partners, that God and we can accomplish what is necessary to accomplish. God does not want us to go through life like shrinking criminals. He wants us to walk out boldly on the highways of life, unafraid that he will fail us and unafraid that we shall fail. We need self respect.

  We need to have confidence in ourselves, in the sincerity of our motives, in our just and right intentions.

  Again, we should have faith in God's respect for us. It is not humility to call ourselves "worms of the dust." We are men and women. We are sons of God. We are somebody. We are worthy of God. Jesus said, "They shall walk with me in white for they are worthy." To be sure there is a standpoint from which we should consider ourselves unworthy and unprofitable. That is not an attitude of self depreciation. It is only recognizing facts. Nevertheless that is only part of the truth. We have wonderful possibilities. We are wonderful beings. God counts us worthy to stand in his presence before his throne. There is therefore no need that we should go through life in sackcloth and ashes bewailing what we &re. We should recognize that God respects us and esteems us. He would not have sacrificed his Son for us had this not been true.

  We should have faith in our Christian experience. I have seen many downcast, doubting people. When I asked them what is the matter some said, "I don't feel right." When I asked, "Why don't you feel right?" some answered, "I don't know, but I don't feel right." Reader, you may have the same experience. Perhaps you don't feel right. Well, what of it? Your emotions &re not the test of your spiritual state. Some people feel bad physically when there is very little wrong with them, perhaps nothing of any consequence. Others may feel all right when they are in the grasp of a deadly disease. Just so spiritually. You cannot tell by your emotions what is your relation with God. Your emotions were never intended to be evidences of your spiritual standing. We must stand by faith, learn to exercise faith, learn to live by faith. Judge yourself righteously. Do not let your feelings master your faith Make your faith master your feelings. As a general thing when you believe right you will feel right but very often faith is based on feelings instead of on realities. It does not matter so much how you feel. How are you? This is to be settled by your faith quite apart from your feelings and when you settle it leave your feelings out of the question as evidence.

  We should make a practice of building into our live' every day the building blocks of faith; not building blocks of doubts and fears, anxieties and worries. There are plenty of these building blocks of faith to be had. We shall have more to say upon this subject further on. In learning to build with these building blocks of faith we learn the secret of the singing heart, of a joyful, happy Christian experience, of certainty for the future and just as much certainty for the present.