Living a Life of Faith #1
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Faith involves the unknown and the unseen. Living by faith is the normal lifestyle of the believer. Life begins by believing a promise of eternal life and forgiveness of sin (1 John 2:25) and continues until we see Jesus face to face. When dealing with the unknown, we naturally are fearful and anxious. Faith is not the absence of fear and anxiety, but the ability to control these powerful emotions rather than to be controlled by them.
The Apostle Paul faced many stressful and anxious moments during his life. He writes, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Cor. 1:8-11).
Note several important points in this passage. First of all, God allowed Paul to enter into a time of extreme pressure. The stress he experienced was far beyond his human ability to endure. In fact, he had given up hope of living through it! Secondly, Paul tells us why God allowed this experience. He says that God wanted to teach him to rely only on Him who raises the dead. If God can raise the dead all other matters are no problem! God is seeking to raise up dependent children–children who only depend upon Him. Paul testifies that God has delivered him from the past peril, He will deliver him from whatever perils he is currently facing, and that He will continue to deliver him in the future from whatever may befall him. Paul was to recruit prayer for his current trials that when God answered many would give thanks for God’s work.