Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pleasing God: Faith

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Faith pleases God; without faith, it is impossible to please Him. Faith begins with believing that God is, that He exists. Paul addresses this in Romans 1, where he shows what it means to be without this kind of faith:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:18-23)
Faith acknowledges who God is and responds to Him with glory and gratitude. The author of Hebrews takes it a step further: Faith is not only properly acknowledging that God is, it is also believing that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. As Paul noted, we can know that God is, and even understand His attributes and power, by the witness of His creation. But the knowledge that He rewards those who seek Him comes to us by the revelation of His Word.
But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
To diligently seek God is to seek Him with all your heart. When you do, He promises that you will find Him, and that is the reward. “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward’” (Genesis 15:1). This resulted in great blessing for Abraham, and for all the world through him.

Faith pleases God because it comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). How could God be pleased with us when we don’t believe what He has said? Faith is receiving the Word of God and believing that everything He has said is true and will come to pass. God has no pleasure in those who doubt Him and His Word.
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” (Mark 11:22-23)

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:6-7)
The Greek word for “doubt,” diakrino, literally means to be of two judgments. Part of you says Yes, part of you says No — it is a mixed signal that adds up to unbelief. Some Christians try to sanctify their doubt as a sort of godly humility. To them, the certainty of faith is an arrogant thing. However, the Scriptures teach that God rewards those who seek Him with the whole heart, believing they will find Him, just as He promised. But there is no guarantee for those who doubt; they should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Fortunately, when we find ourselves in doubt, we can turn to the Lord, just as the father of demonized boy did. Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” The man answered, “I believe; help my unbelief.” We can take our doubts to Jesus and ask Him to do something about them. We can get into the Word and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the mind of Christ. Faith will come, and that pleases God.

Faith — believing God and His Word — pleases God. Seek Him with all your heart, and you will receive the reward: You will find Him.