By Bob Simpson, BCMD Associate Executive Director, BaptistLIFE Editor
Recently I have been struggling with pockets of faithlessness in my life. To my chagrin I have come to realize that, while I can talk living by faith, I don’t always practice it. The reason I know I have faith deficits in my life is that I still get caught up by stress, worry, anger, fatigue and, sadly at times, even sin. Those things are telltale signs that I am walking by sight instead of by faith. I Cor. 5:7 says, “We walk by faith and not by sight.”
Don’t get me wrong. I sincerely want to please God in everything I do. But Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” So I must walk by faith if I am going to fully please Him.
I’m also learning that faith is a pre-requisite to knowing God and His plan for my life. Too often I default to my own strengths and abilities that run counter to waiting on the Lord. Far too often in my life I have run way ahead of Him. I’m reminded of Moses who took things into his own hands and killed the Egyptian resulting in a 40-year set back to God’s perfect timing. Then there was Abraham and Sarah who also couldn’t wait on the Lord’s perfect timing. They improvised things resulting in the birth of Ishmael, not Isaac. The modern geopolitical landscape is still being affected by that decision!
Faith waits on the Lord. Faith knows that God is always at work behind the scenes in our lives. The Apostle Paul in Acts 21 illustrates how important this can be. Paul was preaching in the Temple and made the audience so mad they rose up to kill him. When the Roman soldiers came to his rescue, he told them he was a “Jew from Tarsus.” Later in Chapter 22, after he was once again allowed to address the crowd, they once again cried, “Kill him!” So the Romans arrested him and were going to flog him. At that time, he said to the officer, “Is it lawful to whip a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been tried?”
How did Paul, a Jew from Tarsus, ever become a Roman citizen? That’ a very interesting story. Paul’s grandparents had moved to Tarsus. Paul’s parents grew up in Tarsus. Do you remember in history who killed Julius Caesar? It was Senator Brutus. After he killed Julius, he fled to the city of Tarsus from which his army fought against Julius’ successor, Caesar Augustus. Augustus ultimately defeated Brutus. For their loyalty to him while Brutus and his army were occupying the city, Augustus rewarded the folks of Tarsus with Roman citizenship. That’s how Paul came to be both a Jewish boy who was also a Roman citizen.
In Paul’s case, God was orchestrating things before he was even born. Faith understands that God is always working behind the scenes on our behalf. This is true even though there may not be evidence of it. That’s why it’s called faith! Will you join me in a more effective faith walk?