What are the benefits of having faith? Is it really worth it to believe? Here’s a list – a “Faithlist” – to consider in making that decision…
That Was Then
The older I get, the more I enjoy parsing God’s Word.
I consider myself a student of the Bible, having been reading it consistently since I was a child. I’m so old that, when I was in second or third grade – mind you, this was in a public school – I had a class called “Bible Study.” In that class, we were required to memorize verses.
I distinctly remember memorizing Psalm 23, which remains one of my favorite scriptures to this day. Like every other kid in that class, I had to get up, go to the front of the room, and recite the totality of that scripture in front of everyone.
This Is Now
Can you even IMAGINE if “Bible Study” was a standard part of the curriculum in any public school today? Even to me – and I actually LIVED in a time when this was the norm – given the climate of today’s hyper-politically correct culture, it seems almost incomprehensible that Christianity was ever taught within a public school context. If a public school tried to do this today, it would make national news and a whole slew of people would lose their jobs.
But I digress.
Back on point, I love to read the Bible because – even though I have read it cover-to-cover many times, and even though I’ve read certain sections, chapters and individual verses literally hundreds if not thousands of times – every time I read it, I still seem to pick up on some phrasing or nuance that somehow escaped me to that point.
Or, for reasons I can’t quite explain, I will read something completely familiar to me with a fresh set of eyes, such that I see some part of a scripture, a verse of a chapter in an entirely different way than I had ever seen it before.
The Faith Chapter
Today, I did exactly that with Hebrews 11, AKA, the “Faith Chapter.”
I read that chapter again this morning – simply because I like to read certain things in the Bible on a consistent basis to remind me of some powerful truth that I want to keep front and center in my mind, my heart and my spirit – and Hebrews 11:1 just happens to be one of those things.
And even though I’ve read that chapter hundreds times, I saw it from a completely unique perspective than I had ever see it before: I saw it as a list of the fruits of faith.
That is, I saw it as a detailed summary of the benefits we can receive when we have faith.
In the order in which they appear within Hebrews 11, here is a list of the benefits faith can produce in our lives. With sufficient faith, we can:
…understand that God formed the universe (Hebrews 11:3).
…produce children well past childbearing age (Hebrews 11:11-12).
…sacrifice the most treasured things in our life and God will reward us (Hebrews 11:17-19).
…reject temporal pleasures and end up with an even greater reward (Hebrews 11:24-27).
…receive supernatural protection and intervention from God that literally defy the laws of science and nature (Hebrews 11:29).
…invoke God to destroy our enemies on our behalf (Hebrews 11:30).
…receive selective protection in the midst of a group of people who are killed (Hebrews 11:31).
…conquer kingdoms (Hebrews 11:33).
…administer justice (Hebrews 11:33).
…gain things God promised us (Hebrews 11:33).
…be protected from wild animals (Hebrews 11:33).
…extinguish fire (Hebrews 11:34).
…escape deadly weaponry (Hebrews 11:34).
…have our weaknesses turned into strengths (Hebrews 11:34).
…be made powerful in battle and rout armies (Hebrews 11:34).
…receive back the dead (Hebrews 11:35).
I’m not sure what you think, but – to me – that’s a powerful list of benefits.
Reasons to Believe
In total, that is a compelling argument in favor of having faith.
Not only that, but the list I created from what appears in Hebrews 11 is not even remotely complete.
There are many more instances detailed in the Bible in which God did something amazing in response to people having faith.
If we can actually receive help, assistance and divine intervention of the magnitude inherent in that list, all I can say is this: Give me more faith, God!
I’m Not Saying It
Am I really suggesting that, if you believe in the God of the Christian Bible, He will actually do stuff like that in your life?
I’m not saying that.
And, trust me, He’s WAY more trustworthy than I am.
That said, I have found God to be 100% reliable throughout the course of my life.
Two days ago, I was talking with someone, and I said this:
“I have been through a lot of stuff in my life. I have suffered a number of serious injuries, I’ve been in multiple car accidents, I lost four months of my life to a skiing accident and another four months to a motorcycle accident, I have formed businesses that have failed spectacularly, I have been on the edge of bankruptcy at least twice, I have been threatened by people, I have been in trouble with the law (when I was young and really foolish), I have avoided a DUI that I never should have avoided, I have been let go with warnings from the police so many times I have lost count, and there’s a lot more that I could share in terms of the troubles I have seen and experienced.”
“And yet, through ALL of that, I have come out unscathed every single time. EVERY SINGLE TIME.”
They replied: “How is that possible?
My response: “Faith, that’s how. There is simply no other logical, reasonable explanation.”
The thing is, in almost every one of the instances I referenced above, when I was in the midst of the situation, I was terrified.
I was not positive things would work out well for me.
But even in those moments of stress, anxiety and despair, I never lost my faith. Even when things didn’t make sense to me, or when I knew I was being treated incredibly unfairly, I never lost my faith.
And every single time, God was faithful and rewarded my faith.
I wrote about one example of this recently here.
As it is written at Hebrews 11:11: “And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.”
That’s exactly how I view my own faith: I consider Him faithful who made the promise: God.
It’s not something.
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