There are essentially 62 passages in the Bible related to faith. The most famous of which is Hebrews 11:6 that defines faith: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (NIV).
We are taught that with faith in God — he will answer our prayers. The fact of the matter, however, is that no matter how much we profess our faith in God, the majority of us will at some point in time experience a crisis that will test us as believers.
During the time that Moses led the Israelites through the desert his faith was tested and decreased. It was decreased so much that God did not allow him to enter the promised land. In fact, in Numbers 20:12 the Bible tells us “And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”
Remember Cain and Abel in the Bible? Although we remember Cain for having killed his brother, Abel, he was also lacking in faith. It is stated in Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
Could you really stand a serious test of your faith? Do you have the faith of Abraham? If God asked you today to offer up your son as a sacrifice, could you really do it?
We are told as believers that Abraham was willing to do so. The Bible informs us that Abraham was faithful in the following passages from (Hebrews 11:17-19) “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”
When I think about modern-day exemplars of faith I am reminded of the deceased, Mother Teresa — affectionately called the Saint of the Gutters. She won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in the slums of Calcutta, India. What we don’t know about Mother Teresa that has come to light in her letters written to special colleagues and friends is that for almost 50 years leading up to her death, she admitted not sensing the presence of God in her life.
Question: Was her lack of faith the result of her believing that God should show himself to her because of her work with the poor?
In her letters that were supposed to have been destroyed upon her death she stated, “How can you assume the lover’s ardor (God) when he no longer grants you his voice, his touch, his very presence? The more I want him–the less I am wanted” (http://time.com/4126238/mother-teresas-crisis-of-faith/). Even though her work did not appear to suffer because of her lack of faith, she was, in fact, tormented the latter part of her life.
Too often we experience and witness so-called Christians who are simply “public” believers. We all know them. They attempt to impress others about how serious they are about their faith in God and go to great lengths in doing so.
As a result, there are too many Christians who believe that they actually have the power to determine who will go to heaven or hell. They are quick to correct those whom they believe are not well grounded in their faith according to their belief.
If they ask you how you are doing, your answer by their estimation could be an indicator of your faith in God. If you say, “I am fine,” they may quickly correct you by saying “you a blessed,” my friend.
I make the mistake occasionally in referring to a Southern delicacy as “deviled eggs.” I am promptly corrected by some Christians who believe by that very mistake that I must be a nonbeliever.
Are you really a believer that truly has faith in God? Think about it.
Dr. Glenn Dowell, a LaGrange native, is an author and columnist who lives in Georgia. He has been an instructor at Texas Southern University, guest speaker on major college campuses and appeared on TV programs including ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ He may be reached at [email protected]