Maybe you’ve read the quote: Let your faith be bigger than your fear.
I would like some big faith. Some big faith that snuffs out that fear. Some big faith that causes me to live big and do big things for God.
I read about those people of faith, even interact with some in my own everyday life. The ones who are crossing oceans and taking pay cuts and opening their homes to kids who need care and giving not just money, but also time and energy, and standing up for truth and even facing persecution and death, all in faith-filled obedience to God.
Where did they get it? This fear-crushing, radically obedient faith?
Really, it isn’t radical - it’s Biblical. It’s the kind of life God calls all His children to live. Maybe not all crossing oceans. Maybe not all living from paycheck-to-paycheck. Maybe not all being martyred. But all walking in faith-filled obedience to God, no matter what, no turning back.
It’s just viewed as radical because so many aren’t living it. Our faith has yet to be bigger than our fear.
But it can be.
Oh yes, it can be.
Big faith happens in small steps. We become faith-full in the hard and scary by living faithful in the day by day.
We don’t wake up one morning, all of a sudden fearless and filled with faith, ready to live and even die wholly and solely for Jesus.
No, that kind of big faith comes in saying Yes to God over and over and over.
Yes, I will make time to be in Your Word daily.
Yes, I will pray about my worries instead of worry.
Yes, I will forgive and not hold a grudge.
Yes, I will give thanks even in the hard and the heartbreak.
Yes, I will speak words of encouragement to uplift others.
Yes, I will seek Your will and way and wisdom.
Yes, I will work at my job and in my home as working unto You.
Yes, I will care for and be respectful and loving to my family.
Yes, I will be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on and a helping hand.
Yes, I will be a good steward of all the resources You have given me.
Yes, I will look not only to my own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Yes, I will get rid of pride, bitterness, slander, jealousy, gossip, and filthy language.
Yes, I will stop watching this show, listening to this music, engaging in this activity, because You’ve asked me to.
Yes, yes, yes.
In Hebrews 11, we read of the heroes of faith, ones who said yes to God when He called them to worship, to build, to move, to wait, to parent, to surrender, to bless, to protect, to endure suffering, to lead, to march, to welcome, to help, to fight, to persevere…
As we move into the opening verses of Hebrews 12, we see how big faith is born, and grows, in our own hearts and lives:
Since we are surrounded by such huge crowd of witnesses
There is a huge crowd of witnesses, those many named in Hebrews 11, and even those names that come to our minds of people who have been examples to us in our own faith journey. They are witnesses to the life of faith.
A witness is someone who testifies, and these witnesses are testifying to God’s goodness and faithfulness.
The writer of Hebrews used these heroes of the faith, one’s whose stories the readers would have known and been familiar with from the Old Testament Scriptures, as examples to encourage the readers in their own faith.
Let us strip off every weight that slows us down
Since we have so many witnesses to the life of faith, testifying to God’s goodness and faithfulness, we are called to strip off every weight that slows us down.
It’s time to say No. To say no to anything that keeps us from saying yes to God. We need to say no to sin; the disobedience and gratifying our own selfish desires and making excuses for little lapses in righteous living and indulging in activity that isn’t God-honoring.
We need to say no to any weight; that which in and of itself isn’t bad, but has become a distraction and hindrance to our faith, whether it be social media or busy calendars or Netflix binging or the music we listen to or a relationship that is replacing God.
This doesn’t mean that we become perfect, able on our own to never sin. But it does mean that we allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin in our lives, and then making the changes He calls us to make so that we can strip off the weight; wrenching it away, throwing it away, and walking away from it.
Let us run with endurance
That weight needs to be stripped off so that we are able to run. God has a beautiful plan and purpose for each of our lives; a race set before us, that He has set us apart to run.
I’m no runner, but one of my sisters is. She ran her first marathon this summer. It took endurance. Not only on race day, but the many, many, many days of training leading up to it.
Faith is a marathon. Faith is a journey. One day at a time, one step at a time, one Yes at a time. We’ve got to be in it for the long haul. I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.
Keeping our eyes on Jesus
A life of faith is all about Jesus. When we take our eyes off of Him, we get off course. Our perspective gets skewed. Our priorities become unbalanced. Our character is weakened. Our hearts and minds get junked up.
Jesus is the Champion of our faith. He endured the cross and now sits at God’s right hand. Our faith and hope is in Him.
I have to ask myself, Isn’t Jesus worth it? Isn’t He worth saying Yes to? Isn’t He worth leaving behind all those distractions and time-fillers and instant-gratification and indulgences for? Isn’t He worth running for, running with, running to?
I have to ask myself, who so often lives in big fear, who is so often weak to temptation, who so often picks up weights simply because the shine caught my eye, I have to ask myself, Isn’t Jesus worth it?
And when I think on all Jesus has done, how He died for my sins and gave me new life and filled me with joy, how He loves me and desires me to be with Him forever, I have to answer back, Yes, He is worth it. Yes, He is worthy of it. He is worthy of worship and obedience and seeking and following and loving and living for.
And since He is worth it, and since He is worthy, I’ve got to keep saying Yes.