I’m a sucker for the comparison trap. Even when it comes to faith. I think some have more faith than me – which really means I don’t have enough for the “big” things.
I decided to go in search of really, what it is and how to get it. But I discovered that faith isn’t a more or less, it isn’t given in greater measure to those that do or less to those that don’t. And it isn’t taken away. We tend to give faith (along with loads of other things) degrees of strength and place a value on it. But faith is not measured in depths. In fact it isn’t measured at all, it doesn’t vary. It either is or it isn’t.
We talk about “growing” faith like we grow vegetables. We sometimes use the analogy of muscles… so using our faith muscles will strengthen our faith. I’m not sure that is entirely true. In that same hallway of faith we find Abel – who’s one act of offering a sacrifice lines him up right next to two men who lived a heck of a lot longer and had plenty of opportunities to “exercise faith”. If having unwavering faith is about time spent building muscle, Abel sure didn’t spend much time in the gym.
Then there’s Noah, who built an outrageous boat and Abraham… well, they call him Big Papa for a reason.
So why the accolades? Why does their mug shot hang on this infamous wall – why are their names mentioned here in the book of Hebrews?
What do they have that I don’t?
I stared at the heroes of Hebrews 11 for a bit and found…
They did faith every day. In the mundane, the day to day tasks. One foot in front of the other. Slowly, steadily, predictably. It wasn’t some formal act filled with pomp and circumstance. It wasn’t a big blatantly obvious deal. Faith was in the rhythm of life, like breathing. This grooved pattern became a foundation, an automatic. Then when the earth flooded, or the doubts loomed and fear beckoned they leaned back and stood where they’ve always stood.
“It is a great thing to have faith in the presence of a terrible trial; but the first essential is to have faith for ordinary every-day consumption.” … “Faith will not come to thee all of a sudden, in the dark night, if thou hast shut it out through all the bright days. Faith must be a constant tenant, not an occasional guest.” ~Charles Spurgoen
Check out Abraham. Yes, he moved to a strange place when God told him to. Yes, Sarah conceived and bore his heir when she was far past childbearing years. But look at one of the biggest acts of faith (big by our measurements)…his act of nearly sacrificing Isaac.
Abraham loaded up the donkey with fire wood. Packed himself and Issac an overnight bag and kissed his wife good bye. (I’m pretty sure he didn’t tell Sarah what he was planning…). They traveled for a few days. And then climbed the mountain. He set up the wood and then bound Isaac’s hands and feet. I wonder what Isaac was thinking during this step? Then the Father of many nations lays his one and only son, the one God promised over and over again up on the altar and raises his machete over Isaac’s neck. (gulp).
Ok – pause right there. We all know how this ends. God provides and Isaac grows up to be one of the patriarchs of the Bible. Stand there on that mountain with me for just a moment. This great act of faith is not a new one for Abraham. He has been in this very stance countless times before (just over a goat or a lamb, not a handsome son of promise). He had built altars with every promise God gave; he built altars when he arrived and when he left. Abraham had been building altars and standing in God’s presence with every transition, every next step. Abraham was offering gratitude, he was worshiping. He was honoring. He was walking in faith.
So when God said, hey, go offer a sacrifice it was a familiar path. He had been doing it for decades and this was not new to their relationship.
If something is commonplace in a relationship, doesn’t it make sense to do it again? If you and your husband always have date night on Fridays, then when he plans an outing on a Friday it’s easy to organize the details, right?
Faith is the same way. Your walk of faith in the midst of every day life is the same walk of faith through cancer, through death, through financial hardship. Start right here, right now in your everyday moment. Walk with Him. Take His words with you in carpool line, listen to His love sing in the shower, talk to Him while you do the dishes.
Faith is not an achievement to attain, but a characteristic of your identity in Christ.
I am linking up with Meredith Bernard today for Woman to Woman Wednesday! And since it’s technically Thursday, I’m leaping (and linking) over to one of my mentor’s pages for the first time too ~ Suzanne Eller’s Live Free Thursday. Come, grab your coffee and join me!