I have been slowly reading through Hebrews 11 and learning so much about faith. Almost every verse begins with "by faith..." What great stories of courage and willingness to be stretched beyond measure. But I was really challenged when I got to verses 17-40.
When Abraham was tested by God to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham remained faithful, reasoning that God could raise the dead.
In verse 25, Moses chose to be mistreated rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin. It says 'he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.' Then in vs. 35-40, men and women remained faithful even in spite of torture, of jeers, of floggings, of imprisonment. Some were stoned, others were sawn in two!
But vs. 39-40 blew me away when we read that "they were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned somethng better..." You see it wasn't about the reward or the prize they may or may not receive here on earth.
So I ask you the same question I asked myself after reading this-How strong is your faith? Are you obedient when God asks you to do something? Are you willing to be tortured, flogged, imprisoned or will you compromise your faith for convenience, favors, and affirmation?
These men and women were "looking of a better country-a heavenly one"(v.16). What are you looking for? Is this life all you need or want, or is there something much better ahead waiting for you after this life? If you believe we are merely aliens or strangers in this land, than our lives should reflect that. There is nothing here to keep us if God has a better place for us. How about living 2010 'by faith'? Because faith is about holding fast to Jesus-no matter what! Instead of telling others you have faith, let them see it in you this year.