- Earnest: Serious & intense; zealous & sincere; with determination.
- NKJV uses diligent: persevering & careful in work; hard working; done with careful, steady effort; painstaking.
In this chapter we see that we have faith if we seek God; seeking God =faith. If we didn't believe He could or would help us (unbelief) we wouldn't seek Him. If we seek Him earnestly, He rewards us. It's a fact! God said it in Hebrews 11:6.
Our options for places to place our trust come down to three things: ourselves, others or God. As we receive God's gift of salvation, we become His children. He then, as our Father, is our provider, protector, deliverer, etc. As we shift our belief system from confidence in ourselves to confidence in God, we demonstrate to God that we do believe Him, and receive His rewards as we take steps of faith.
STEPS OF FAITH: It is in an action that faith is proven genuine. If one never takes a step in the direction of believing, there really is no faith. We see it in the miracles that Jesus performed, the healings all had someone with faith, either the one being healed or those bringing the one to Jesus for healing, or the one performing the healing.
Of course, for a "what not to do" example, the journey of the Israelites in the desert (after leaving Egypt) came up. In Psalm 78, Asaph summarizes their journey...much of it faithless, which resulted in angering God (though His mercy triumphed~He held back His anger to a degree). They questioned His ability to provide, they willfully put God to the test. They spoke against God, taunting Him. Complaining.
We determined that we tend to react like them if we don't have our eyes fixed on God and His Truth. We question Him in hard circumstances, "Where are you?" or "Do you still love me, do you really love me?" etc.
A favorite story of faith is found in Luke 7: 1-10
When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue." So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
In this story, Jesus rewarded the centurion's 'earnestly seeking' Him by healing the servant.
We looked at the incredible stories of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego...Daniel in the Lion's den...how they expressed their faith in God by continuing to honor God with their loyalty even though severe consequences were awaiting. And God rewarded their faith with dramatic rescues. Divine protection surrounded them.
In 2 Timothy 4:-18 Paul finds he is deserted by everyone, and states that God rescued him out of the "mouth of the lion". He was in a situation that he equated with Daniel's experience, and like Jesus in the garden, had been abandoned by all his friends. We find that often as we are pursuing the work God calls us to, people don't understand or support us. By faith, we must keep doing what we know He is calling us to. Even if we go into a "lion's den"!
As we take steps of faith, God rewards us and our faith in Him grows. As we walk with Him, stepping out when He calls us, going outside our comfort zone, we increasingly see Him do things that no human could ever do!
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Walking with God will always require us to do things we cannot do without His power. That is what faith is...conquering giants, taking ground from the enemy, staying steady in storms, staying faithful even when threatened with fire or lions or floods...