“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.” Hebrews 11:6
What is faith?
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
That’s easy, right? Just believe God. Easy enough…Oh how I wish that a lifestyle of faith was as easy to execute as typing it into this blog. Truth is, most of us are lacking in real faith. We talk about faith ideas and Biblical promises, but when it comes down to it, we usually are much more comfortable with things we can wrap our understanding around. Seeing is believing, right? So, we learn to believe at arms-length. We believe, but it’s always wrapped in our own conditions. We don’t often experience it first hand. And when we do, we are uncomfortable with the miracle of God’s hand in our midst.
Faith is not about “our understanding”. Faith is about things unseen. If we could figure it out, it probably wouldn’t be faith.
This whole subject of pleasing God can quickly turn into a performance based discussion if we are not careful. When pleasing God is based on performance, it becomes something that it was never meant to be. Most of us are at a crossroads. We might not realize it, but each day, in many circumstances we stand at the crossroads of faith and reason…of flesh and spirit. And, when we live in our own reasoning or in the natural pattern of our flesh, we are not living by faith. The two don’t go hand in hand.
I am not sure how God works. I don’t claim to know the answers. I do know that He is a Holy God, a Merciful God, and a Loving Father. I also know that He is a deliverer, a shepherd, a healer, and a counselor. I know these things in my head. I long to experience them, in full, in my heart. On a good day, I believe. On a bad day, I try to believe. And, on an ordinary day I vacillate between the two.
This time last week I was in the hospital. I started my Sunday morning off feeling great. I ended up in the emergency room by 2 pm, then transported by ambulance to another hospital within a few hours. Later in the week I was in yet another hospital, a heart specialty hospital, preparing for a surgical procedure that would tell me and the Drs. treating me the current progression of the coronary artery disease that I had been diagnosed with two years ago.
I was not thrilled about the idea of an invasive catheter going into my heart, but I had been in the hospital twice in 3 months, and something had to be done. The cardiologist was pleasant, explained that we were probably looking at a “stent” and if there was the need for something such as by-pass, they would not do it right then, but schedule it soon. Talking about open heart surgery is a familiar subject as my mother had major heart surgery, receiving 10 by-passes in her heart. Unfortunately, even though I am just 55, I seem to have the family genetics.
When I woke up in the surgery room, I immediately asked if we were done, and if I had any stents. I was told that nothing was necessary because my arteries were at 20%, and one barely at 30%…the same as a much younger healthy woman. Imagine my surprise at this news, because two years prior I had a test that showed 50% blockages. We all fully expected that in two years it was probably up enough in the 70% range, and ready for stenting. Instead…I was wheeled back into the recovery room, told I would be taken off the heart medications and told to follow up with my primary Dr., not my cardiologist. The last thing I was told was…you are not a heart patient! You do not have CAD. But…but….I have been seeing a heart specialist for 2 years, and I even joined the Go Red For Women group! I don’t have heart disease? Just when I was accepting it, wrapping my brain around it, now I don’t have it?
As the news sank in, I knew what the truth was…God touched me, I believe He healed me. And, though I was happy at the thought, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around it. I had a hard time saying it. I wanted to be excited, but felt a bit nervous of what others would think. Note to self: People Pleasing always gets in the way of becoming a God Pleaser! Fear of people and what they will think, is the opposite of putting our faith in God !
I thought of the medications I had been on, and none of them were to reduce the plaque, because those medications made me sick. There was no explanation, nothing but the hand of God touching me and answering the prayers of many women who were praying for me all week.
Then there was the phone call I received the day before. It was a ten year old girl named Zoe. She called to pray for me over the phone. She asked God with her pure and child-like faith to heal my heart and make me well. And, that is what happened. How could I deny it? Why did I have trouble saying those words, Jesus Healed me? Where was my faith? Had faith been snatched with too many years of latent unbelief? I was in a wrestling match between my “understanding” ,lack of faith, and what other people would think.
Funny that I am the author of a book called, The Faith Dare! I have admitted to being challenged in this area and have been actively working on looking Up to God and putting my faith in Him. But, it never occurred to me even once that God might want to heal this heart disease. I thought it was faith enough to just learn to live with it. ( and believe me, acceptance does takes faith!) But healing? Could it be?
Back to pleasing God:
Remember from our previous blogs that pleasing God is coming into “agreement” with Him.
“We live by faith, not by sight. So we make it our goal to please him…” 2 Cor 5:7,9
Please is the Greek, aresko, which means to “agree with” to “come into agreement with”
That is what faith looks like to us today. Faith is when we come into agreement that what God says is true and real. We begin living by the Truth of what He has said in His Word, not what we feel in our emotions. We wrestle, hold on to, and fight to believe the truth and come into agreement with it. Things might look like they are one way, but if God’s word tells us the contrary, we wrestle to hold on to the truth that what God says is always the truth. That is faith.
Faith is coming into agreement with what He says is reality, even when we don’t feel it or understand it. There are many things about God that we don’t “get”! Beautiful things, life changing things, over the top supernatural things.Things like life transformation, heart change, emotional and physical healing, being a temple and vessel of the One True God, being filled with the power of His Holy Spirit, being given all we need and beliving that we lack no good thing as we seek Him. I can go on and on and on.
But pleasing people and pleasing God are at odds with each other. It is a full war for us as women. What if your friend doesn’t believe with you? What is she judges your faith? What if it is easier to be quiet and not give God any glory? That way we are safe, people are not uncomfortable with us. That kind of living has been the story of my life. And, I am truly convicted today over the many opportunities I have had to Please God with faith in Him, and instead have taken the quiet, conforming to people’s comfortable spot, route.
Father forgive me!
Listen to the Apostle Paul again,
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come! We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”2 Cor 5:16-17,20
Do we believe what Paul was teaching? He tells us, if we are in Christ, we are a new person. He also tells us that we are Christ’s representatives in this world. Christ is making an appeal through us. Us?!!!! Here is where faith comes in. I see “me” in the mirror. And the me I see is not the ambassador type, if you know what I mean. But, God says, who you are comfortable with is the “old” you, but I have declared you are a “new” woman in me. You are, whether you feel like it or not, my representative. I live in you, you are a new creation, this is the truth about your life…walk in these new shoes by faith, Debbie!
Start today with wherever you are at in your Bible reading. As you come across something that you are to believe or an action that is written to live in….ask God to help your unbelief, and ask God to give you the courage to come into agreement with Him. As we come more and more into agreement with the truth, our lives will line up with God’s will for us. And, more importantly we will be women who are living to please God first and for most and not people.
later this week: It Pleases God when we walk in the Spirit.
Praying God help my unbelief, and thanking Him publicly and privately for healing me and answering the prayer of a 10 year old girl, and prayers of many of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is just today’s “thing”. It is my prayer that with the next “thing” in life that God allows to cross my path, that I will stop and trust God, the faithful God, to work in and through the situation to draw me closer and closer to Him. Teaching me the Pleasing God walk of living as His daughter, His ambassador, His Bride.
learning to please God,