Galatians 2:20 (HCSB) and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (emphasis mine)
Habakkuk 2:4 HCSB Look, his ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith. (emphasis mine)
Faith is not only believing but living.
Here is the definition of faith from Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
- strong belief or trust in someone or something
- belief in the existence of God
- strong religious feelings or beliefs
- a system of religious beliefs
For the Christian Hebrews 11:1 defines faith and verse two tell us that all the people named and referred to in chapter 11 were approved (commended) for the faith defined in verse one.
Hebrews 11:1-2 HCSB Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For our ancestors won God’s approval by it.
This means they were approved for being fully confident and assured of something they were hoping for before they ever saw it. Meaning they lived a life of faith looking for the manifestation of God’s promises. So, what does that mean for us today?
Sometimes Faith is for Things We Will Not See in Our Lifetime
Can you believe for things that will outlive you? Can you believe for things for the generations who will come after you?
Faith is that it is not just for this life or for your lifetime. We are not just living for this life, but for eternity. We don’t just live for our generation, but for the next generation and the generations to come after that until Jesus comes. So, it’s important for us to be examples of living by faith to the next generation coming after you. It’s possible you might not see the things you are believing for, but they may. Transfer that faith to the ones who come after you, so they can believe for the things you have not seen yet.
Your faith needs to outlive you. My faith needs to outlive me. This is what discipleship is all about. Beyond that, if your faith causes you to see everything you want in your lifetime, then your vision is too small.
I preached a sermon in which I said that we need to have God-sized plans. The plans and goals God gives have two consistent elements: they have a wide scope of influence, and they have lasting impact.
God’s goal for Adam and Eve was to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it”
Genesis 1:27-29 NIV So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
God’s goal for Abraham was not just to have a son, but to start a nation and to be a blessing to all people on earth.
Genesis 12:1-3 NIV The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Jesus’ goal for the disciples was for them to be witnesses in the power of the Holy Spirit from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. Before Jesus went to the cross, he prayed. When praying, he wasn’t just thinking about his disciples then; he was looking far beyond that.
John 17:20-21 HCSB I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message. May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.
Jesus wasn’t interested in keeping his faith to himself; he was interested in transferring his faith to those who would come after him – to his disciples then and to you and me now.
Acts 1:4-8 HCSB While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time? ” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The Transfer of Faith Begins with Those Closest to You
As great as it is to reach people for Christ, the first of the next generations God wants us to reach are those closest to our family and friends. This is where the transfer of faith should begin. Abraham transferred faith to Isaac, who transferred it to Jacob, who transferred it to Joseph, and so on. . Let’s be intentional about transferring faith to those closest to us. That is our responsibility, let’s not leave it to the church. So often, we cast the responsibility to the church or somewhere else when the responsibility belongs to us. If you are going to make disciples, start close to home.
You May Never See the Legacy You Leave
When you are dealing with unsaved loved ones, this is where faith that outlives you can come into play. You may not see people you are praying for come to Christ in your lifetime, but you keep praying and believing, anyway. God approved the people mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11 for their confidence, even though they did not see the execution of the promise. You can do the same thing.
No prayer, if prayed that God’s will be done is wasted prayer. God never forgets the prayers we pray, especially for those who don’t know him because this is His will.
2 Peter 3:8-9 HCSB Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (emphasis mine)
Whether you see them come to the Lord in your lifetime or you don’t, know that your labors and prayers are not in vain.
Faith is not just about what is but about what is coming. Faith means there will be things we believe for and see in our lifetime and things we won’t. We won’t see the complete effects of our faith until eternity, anyway. The challenge is to understand what it means to live by faith. This means not just living our own lives, but the lives of others. Not just thinking about this generation, but the ones that follow. It means taking actions today that show your hope and confidence, even when you may never see the result.