What’s it like to be on the same page with God? To see as He sees? To think as He thinks? To speak His language? Exactly what is it that gets the attention of the Creator of the universe?
We often think that God is impressed by our extreme holiness, our great sacrifices or our radical devotion to the cause. Perhaps He is. But it seems to me that there was one issue that Jesus used more than any other to express approval or disapproval of the people He encountered—faith. I see no Scriptural record of Jesus saying, “Oh you of radical devotion.” More than anything else, faith seemed to be the primary attribute by which Jesus identified people. Have you ever wondered why?
The Gospel is first and foremost a message of relational grace. It’s about knowing God and all that entails, not simply attaining to some distant location (heaven) after we die. Faith is what enables us to abide in grace.
One of the most poignant verses of the Bible is Genesis 15:6:
“Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” (HCSB)
Think about it, Abraham (Abram), in many ways the father of the Christian faith, found extreme favor with the Creator of the universe because he chose to take God at His word in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances. To a certain degree, every one of us is called to follow in Abraham’s footsteps.
At this point two significant questions come to mind:
1. Why is faith such a big deal in God’s eyes? My short answer is that without trust two individuals cannot share genuine intimacy. Think about a person that you like, but don’t necessarily trust. To what degree are you willing to open the true depths of your heart; to allow that person access to vulnerable places? In all likelihood, painful experiences of the past have taught you to share intimate thoughts only with those you trust.
I’ll write more about this in the future, but faith also serves as the only effective antidote for pride, disarming the power of Sin. Human nature desperately seeks to validate itself by measuring up to various standards; only to gloat in victory when it feels it succeeds. When we trust Christ for salvation, we have no grounds to boast in ourselves, only the cross.
2. What is faith? Once again we highlight a great misconception of contemporary Western Christianity. Many view faith as merely some sort of mental ascent to the existence of God. In reality, Biblical faith is all about a confident trust in the person of God—a belief so strong that we are willing to rest the sum total of our hopes and dreams upon our faithful and loving Father. Obedience to God and the willingness to take love-motivated risks are both expressions of Biblical faith. If our beliefs don’t compel us to some type of action, they probably aren’t rooted in real faith.
(For a more in-depth illustration of Biblical faith, check out this Blondin clip from my Search for Me Identity Series.)
The Bible teaches that the righteous will live by faith (Romans 1:16-17). This is very different than simply possessing a mental belief in God. It’s only when we begin to actually live by faith that our heavenly Father’s heart starts to race with excitement. Now we’re speaking His language!