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A Christian’s Heart
“A Faith-Filled Heart”
Watch on YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj1OVSfxnVw
Today, in our series on the qualities of a Christian’s heart, we’re going to looking at a faith-filled heart, or a heart that is filled with faith.
However, if a faith-filled heart is what we need, then the first thing we must determine is exactly what is faith.
Webster’s dictionary defines faith as a “belief and trust in and loyalty to God,” and a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.”
Oxford’s dictionary says it is a “Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.”
What we’re faced with in these definitions are that they come up short as to what faith actually is, and so instead of going for some dictionary’s definition, let’s go the Bible’s description of faith as found in the book of Hebrews.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)
The word, “substance” in the Greek language means to have a foundation or the assurance of something. It’s having the guarantee of what we’re hoping for.
The word, “evidence” in the Greek language means to have a conviction concerning the truthfulness of something.
With these two definitions, this description of faith can easily be expanded the way the Amplified Bible translates this passage.
“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].” (Hebrews 11:1 AMP)
Faith then is being sure of what we don’t see and yet hope for. It’s seeing the future in the present.
Faith is an act of both the mind and heart to believe what is not made assessable to our natural senses. But it goes even further. It’s also the actual possession of their reality, and that is what the title deed represents. The person who holds the title deed to a piece of property actually possesses the property. It’s not a future possibility; it’s the actual possession.
By faith, therefore, we possess those things that our souls and spirits long and hope for, which are God’s promises including heaven and eternal life. It’s not that they will be ours, rather by faith we’re in possession of heaven and eternal life right now, and they’re as substantial as the chairs we’re sitting in.
Faith then possesses God’s promises completely convinced of their reality, even though we cannot see or perceive them with our natural senses.
Faith is actually the exact opposite of the modern rationalistic mindset that says, “Believing is seeing.”
Faith, however, says we need to believe, in order to see.
I like the way Saint Augustine said it. “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” (Saint Augustine)
It is like an architect planning a building, or an artist creating a work of art. They have to believe and envision it before they can accomplish it. Therefore, we have to believe in God’s promises before they ever become possible.
Many, however, refuse to believe in God because they cannot see Him, yet by faith we see God in everything around us. The Psalmist said the heavens declare God’s glory and work (Psalm 19:1).
The writer of Hebrews confirms this saying, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3 NKJV)
Everything we see today is made out of things we cannot see, which science has proven. Things like atoms and quarks. And when we look at creation and the universe the only logical conclusion is that it didn’t happen by chance, which is the faith position of evolutionists, but rather this universe and our world had a design, and every design must have a designer.
By faith, therefore, we believe in the existence of God, even though we cannot see Him face to face.
The rest of Hebrews chapter 11 fleshes out this description for us in the lives of those men and women that are described therein.
It says of Moses that, “by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27 NKJV)
In keeping with this description of faith, what we can conclude is that a faith-filled heart has these three main characteristics or qualities.
A Believing Heart
A believing heart is a heart that believes without seeing.
It was such a heart that Abraham possessed, and God blessed.
“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3 NKJV)
Listen to the writer of Hebrews description of faith through the life of Abraham.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore, from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude–innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.” (Hebrews 11:8-12 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul took it a step further in describing Abraham’s faith.
“He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” (Romans 4:20-21 NKJV)
Abraham had no idea where he was going, but he believed God and left, because by faith he saw the heavenly Jerusalem, his future home, his future possession that waited for him.
Now, Abraham and Sarah had no human ability to have kids, Sarah being barren and well past her childbearing years, and Abraham being about 100 years old. But by faith they believed, and Sarah conceived, and the Jewish nation was founded.
Faith demanded Abraham act on nothing more than God’s promises, and He was rewarded for his faith, materially, relationally, and spiritually.
A faith-filled heart is therefore a believing and trusting heart. Actually, the same Greek word that is used for our word “faith” is the same Greek word where we also get our words “belief,” and “trust.” Therefore, it is such a believing and trusting heart that God is calling for us to have.
It such a trusting faith-filled heart in God that Solomon tells us to have as we walk through this life.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)
He tells us to trust in the Lord and His understanding of what we’re going through instead of trusting in our own natural thought process or the circumstances we find ourselves in. It is only then that we’ll be able to navigate through life’s highways and byways, not to mention valleys and mountaintops.
But to do this we need to know God in an intimate way, a way we never have. This comes from the Hebrew word used for “acknowledge.” To acknowledge doesn’t mean we’re giving mental assent to the presence of God; rather it means to know God in an intimate and personal way.
The story of Abraham naturally leads to the second characteristic or quality of a faith-filled heart
A Patient Heart
The writer of Hebrews says that Abraham obeyed because he had a faith-filled patient heart.
“He (Abraham) waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:10 NKJV)
This was the heart of King David as well.
David said, “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1 NLT)
If there is any truth in advertising, it’d be the room people sit in for their doctor’s appointment. It’s a patient’s waiting room. (Think about it)
One of the most difficult things to do is to wait, especially when we’re in a hurry, like when we’re on an expressway and the traffic is anything but express, or in the express lane at a grocery store that’s going nowhere fast.
God is telling us to sit in His waiting room. This is where we want something, like one of His promises, but God wants us to wait patiently for it, because the timing is not right, or our hearts and lives are not ready yet to receive them. Waiting patiently, therefore takes faith, because our desire is to help God out.
This was Abraham’s dilemma. God promised that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in heaven and sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:7). But it had been over 20 years and no kids. Sarah was still barren, and they were both well beyond the child making years.
So instead of waiting patiently, Sarah and Abraham took matters into their own hands and had a child, Ishmael, through Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant. From this hastily conceived union came animosity that still exists to this day between Ishmael’s descendants, the Arab people, and Isaac’s descendants, the Jews.
But Abraham still believed God’s promise in spite of what he saw and how long it was taking. This brings us to one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible about Abraham waiting in hope.
“Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’” (Romans 4:18 NKJV)
I love that description; that contrary to hope, or beyond all hope in hope Abraham believed.
God is calling us to wait in hope, not in despair. This is seen in Psalm 46:10 where God said, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
To be patient is to wait, to be still, and cease our striving because we know that it will all work out to our good, because it’s God who is working it out.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV)
But, it’s not easy to patiently wait. It’s not easy to move forward when circumstances are lined up against us. It’s not easy to hold onto the promises when no reward is in sight. But now is not a time to give up. Instead, it’s a time to trust and obey.
A faith-filled heart then is a heart that patiently waits and believes because by faith we know God.
A Child-Like Heart
Child-like faith is a heart that is filled with such faith that it believes God at His word, and there’s nothing too hard for God. This is what Jesus was saying when He told His disciples they needed to become child-like when it comes to faith.
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Mark 10:14-15 NKJV)
So what are the child-like qualities Jesus was referencing?
Jesus said, “Whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4 NKJV)
Years ago, when I was doing a Passover Seder, I ran across a saying that was used in a 4th century Haggadah.
It said, “Man was created on the sixth day so that he could not be boastful, since he came after the flea in the order of creation.”
Children don’t try to be something they’re not. They come as they are. There is no boastings or pretense, and this is how we’re to come to God, as children humble in our opinion of ourselves and respectful of our heavenly Father.
Humility is seeing others as better than ourselves, and it’s humility that we’re to clothe ourselves in (Philippians 2:3; Colossians 3:12, and 1 Peter 5:5).
In the end God honors such humility.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 NKJV)
Children go where no one has gone before. They get into just about everything, say whatever’s on their mind, and are generally afraid of nothing.
When my daughter was two years old, she was climbing and opening cabinets that had childproof locks. One morning as I was dosing in the living room Danielle opened the childproof pantry and proceeded to rub Twinkies all over her face. I guess she was giving herself a beauty treatment.
When Billy Graham arrived in a small town to preach, he had to mail a letter. He stopped and asked directions from a small boy. He then told the boy that if he came to the church that night that he would hear Billy Graham tell him how to get to heaven.
The boy replied, “I don’t think I’ll be there; you don’t even know how to get to the Post Office.”
It’s with such boldness that the Lord says that we can come before Him.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Now, I’m not saying children are innocent, that is, without sin, but they really have no guile. And this is something every parent knows and dreads.
I remember watching the Art Linkletter’s show, “Kids Say the Darnedest Things.” I remember they would tell on their parents so fast. I’d see parents cringe in the audience.
Jesus said to His disciples, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NKJV)
Paul tells us to be wise to what is good, but innocent as to what is evil (Romans 16:19).
Part of this innocence is having complete trust.
A child recognizes their dependence upon their parents that they will care for them. In the same way we must recognize our utter dependence upon God, that we cannot make it through this life on our own and we need our heavenly Father to care for us.
So, we now come to the question, “Why is a faith-filled heart so important?”
Without faith we cannot please God, nor receive our reward if by faith we don’t diligently seek Him.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrew 11:6 NKJV)
It was by faith, the writer of Hebrews says, that the elders obtained a good testimony before the Lord. It’s this same good testimony that the martyred saints will obtain in the End Times who, because of their faith, will be able to overcome Satan and the forces of evil.
“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelation 12:11 NKJV)
And probably the most compelling reason why having a faith-filled heart is so important is that in the last days the love of many concerning their faith in Jesus will grow cold (Matthew 24:12), and many will actually fall away from the faith (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Where does having a heart filled with faith begin? It begins with having faith in Jesus Christ, that He is both Savior and Lord, and that He came born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died upon the cross for our sins, was buried and on the 3rd day rose from the dead, and is now alive in heaven.
The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NKJV)
Only then will someone have a heart filled with faith, that is, a faith-filled heart.
Before we end our time together, I’d like to talk about our need, everyone’s need, to take a personal spiritual inventory. If we haven’t, then it’s time to take stock in our lives today.
Inventory is the lifeblood of every retail business as to whether it’s going to make a profit or not. To maximize profits, businesses must make sure they have the right number of products without over or under stocking. To accomplish this, they will regularly take inventory.
In the same way the Lord is asking every one of us to take inventory of our lives and see if our faith is in line with Him.
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian Church, he said, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Where are we in our relationship with Jesus Christ? This question needs to be asked and answered by everyone.
If we’re not in the faith, if we don’t believe in Jesus Christ, if we haven’t asked Jesus Christ into our hearts, and we don’t have that born again relationship that Jesus says is necessary (John 3:3), when we enter the next life, we will indeed be disqualified.
This isn’t a game; instead, it’s serious business. This isn’t something we can put on the back burner thinking we can visit it at a more opportune time. Now is the time for salvation, and that’s because no one is promised tomorrow.
Before tomorrow, we may die and shed this earthly body for an eternal one. But if we haven’t made that decision for Jesus Christ, asking Him to be our Savior and Lord, then we’ll spend an eternity in hell, rather than heaven.
Therefore, let’s take the time necessary to find out where we stand before God.
Are we in the faith? If not, we need to ask Jesus Christ to come into our lives, and forgive our sins.
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, youwill be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
Wednesday Evening Bible Study