Weekly Bible Study
Looking For Faith
May 14, 2014
“Without faith it is impossible to please God” Hebrews 11:6
Tracy’s formative years were a mixed bag of happiness, frustration and danger. Her mother had plummeted into deep depression when her husband, Danny (Tracy’s Dad), was shot and killed during a convenience store robbery. Danny was just there to buy a treat for Tracy when a young pair of inexperienced teens stormed in to buy beer. The clerk asked for I.D. and guns came out and bullets flew. At the end, three were dead, two wounded over a six-pack of beer which ended up broken on the floor.
Kitty, Tracy’s mother, couldn’t cope and found friends who helped her escape into the world of drugs and alcohol. Danny’s death brought nearly $1 million in insurance settlements and law suits but rather than help, the money became a cancerous demon that drove Kitty to an early death, found slumped over her toilet bowl, syringe in her arm.
After the funeral and further legal proceedings, Tracy was adopted by her aunt and uncle who lived in San Francisco. Tracy was 10! Her aunt and uncle loved her and devoted themselves to giving her the best life possible.
Tracy went to church with her new parents and loved all of her classes and Christian friends. She seemed to latch onto the teachings of Christ with gusto. She always insisted on praying each night before bed and at meals. She witnessed to her friends and before long she was leading a neighborhood Bible class for kids. Tracy was a bright light.
Then she met Evan. He was handsome, smart, athletic, adventuresome and wealthy. He was her prince charming. She was twenty and he was 25, the CEO of his own social media business—and his own god. Evan wanted to add Tracy to his very long list of sexual conquests. Tracy thought they were in love. She was terribly wrong. Then she was used and discarded. Her faith seemed hollow, cursory, fake. Was it real at all?
Hebrews 11:1-3, 6 To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. It was by their faith that people of ancient times won God’s approval. It is by faith that we understand that the universe was created by God’s word, so that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen. . . And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Seeking answers, Tracy was devastated when she read this section of Hebrews. Instead of a reassuring answer, she was slapped with the admonition that she cannot please God without faith. And faith in God was exactly what was missing as a consequence of believing in Evan. Tracy was not alone even if she felt like it. God was with her. His Holy Spirit guided her forward into chapter 12. And then it jumped off the page!
Hebrews 12:1-2 So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.
Her heart leaped with joy and her spirit soared as she remembered that Jesus is “the author and perfecter of our faith.” God is not waiting with a big rock, ready to smash her for her weakness and frail faith. After all, He created her and knows she needs support, especially when the things she sees seem stronger than those she doesn’t. Jesus will give her an infusion of faith when hers is weak. His forgiveness trumps satan’s attack of guilt and fear.
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
2 Cor. 5:7 We live by faith, not by sight.
1 Thess. 5:8-9 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Time passed quickly as Tracy read many verses to encourage and uplift her spirits. Slowly she remembered that God’s salvation is a free gift, not earned. And her life in Christ is also not earned…she does not have to perform for God. His gift of eternal life is given through faith in Jesus, the Savior. And those times of stumbling and falling may give scrapes and bruises but they do not nullify her promise of absolute forgiveness through the sacrifice of Christ. There are consequences to our sins but they do not include eternal damnation.
Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”