Two of my favorite things to keep up with are basketball and history. I especially love basketball history. So this week when Kobe scored his 30,000 point and the talking heads on ESPN were going bananas about his place among the Top 5 players of all time, I was glued to their reactions. Naturally, I thought they were off base and had the order of the players all wrong. As they were talking about his Hall of Fame career, Hebrews Chapter 11 and the Hall of Fame of Faith popped into my head.
I love Hebrews Chapter 11. Many of the verses start out “by faith……” Just look at the list
- Abel offered a more please sacrifice to God
- Noah constructed an ark
- Abraham obeyed and went out not knowing where he was going
- Sarah received power to conceive
- Abraham offered up Issac
- Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter
- …the walls of Jericho fell
- Rahab did not perish
I am inspired by this list. In fact, this list (and my own narcissism) was part of the scriptures that inspired Amy and I to move to Belize and really step out on faith. We have never been more fully alive and at peace than when we stepped out, committed to moving and told the Lord that we were all in. Man what peace. Man what life!
My favorite verse in all of Hebrews 11 is verse 6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God….”
We’ve been down here in Belize 4 months; we had faith to move down here. But as I think about the next year and the year after that, my thoughts drift to what it would be like to be back in the states at my old job, in our old house, living with my old friends. I am overwhelmed by support raising again. Where would the money come from? What if we didn’t get it? What would we do?
How easy would our old life be? When our car was broken into, I thought to myself if they only had come in then we could go back to the states. One day Joseph had a mild seizure when we were eating lunch. I thought for a second “what if it’s something serious…oh then we could go back.”
I was driving the other day and thinking to myself where is your faith Josh? Where is the faith that brought you here? And the Lord told me faith is a choice in the face of a decision. The reality is that those people in the Hall of Fame of faith…didn’t have faith once and it carried them through their entire life. Abraham CHOSE faith when he left his home land and he CHOSE faith when he offered up Issac. Noah, Joshua, Moses, etc. all of those people CHOSE to walk by faith each time and some each day of their life. Even Christ in the Garden said Lord if it is your will, take this cup from me. Jesus had the power to stop his own death but He CHOSE to have faith that he was accomplishing God’s plan.
Many of us in the organization are like me. We left jobs we could have retired early on, sacrificed more prestige, money, or time to make calls and lead trips. The reason we have done this is because we have CHOSEN to live by FAITH. We have chosen a life of faith that would please Him than live a life without faith.
Let me be real, the life of faith is NOT the easy life. But God didn’t say He would make our life easy (wish He did). We live to bring him glory and we bring Him glory by choosing faith daily in our lives.
Kobe Bryant has played 17 seasons in the NBA. Really his longevity is unprecedented. I was listening to an interview with him one time and the sport’s writer asked how he is able to continue to go, continue to play. He said he makes many choices each day, to wake up early to work out, get to a shoot around early to work on his game, rest his legs, etc instead of going out. He said he makes choices on what to eat, what to drink, to not go out with friends and so on. His number one reason for making those choices is that he wants to be the best basketball player ever. He has to make choices daily, hourly, to reach his desired Goal.
What’s your desired goal in life? Mine is to live a life that is pleasing to God….a life of faith.
It’s easy to choose faith once (like choosing to work for a missions organization) and then forgetting about living by faith after that. Throughout this week, I pray that we can all examine ourselves honestly, don’t be discouraged if your mind slips into longings of the world like mine does here all too often. But be encouraged that we have chosen a life of Faith and we can continue to choose faith daily, weekly, monthly, yearly! I know I will try to do the same.
For without Faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God! – Hebrews 11:6