“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Have you ever read Hebrews 11? The passage is all about faith in action and doing things when you have no clear vision of what’s to come next. The author gives examples of thirteen people from the old testament who acted on their faith in God and did some pretty crazy things.
In faith Abel offered a costly sacrifice (v. 4); Noah obeyed divine warnings a built a giant ark (v. 7), having never seen a drop of rain; Abraham when God tested him, offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice (v. 17); Moses chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin (v. 25); People passed through the Red Sea (v. 29); the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days (v. 30).
Faith is an intense form of trust to follow God’s commands. None of these individuals described in Hebrews 11 knew the finer details. They had “confidence in what they hoped for,” surrendered to God’s will, and went for it because He said so.
There are sixty-six books in the bible and the common theme that runs throughout all of them is the principle of surrendering.
If you like to be a macho man like me, you might think that word surrender sounds weak. Passive. Like we are giving up. It’s almost opposite and contradictory to what we’re used to hearing in life.
But in some situations, surrendering is an act of strength. It shows a lot of self-control to surrender when you don’t want to. And the most important aspect of surrendering is when it applies to following God’s lead.
“God will handle all the details.” This is a message I’m hearing lately. Someone asked a long time ago, “How do you know if God is speaking to you?” Well, I honestly don’t hear a loud, deep, audible voice that’s clear as day. I do hear Him, however, in the Word and wisdom from scripture, books, people, videos, etc., and the signs and answers just keep coming. This, of course, takes a lot of attentive and intentional seeking. I must look for it.
I won’t hear Him if I don’t take time to stop and listen.
I think we try to be God way too often in life. We try to predict the future. We try to draw up the entire blueprint. We won’t budge unless we sketch out all the details.
A big decision needs to be made and we say, “Well, I just don’t think it’s the right timing.
Wonder if it is in God’s eyes?
A big investment needs to be made and we say, “Well, I just don’t think we’re going to come up with the money.” Wonder if God is waiting for you to put all the chips on the table before He shows you where the rest is going to come from?
A big step needs to be taken and we say, “Well, I have no idea where I’m going.” Wonder if you’re supposed to just start walking, take it step by step, and when God sees you’re committed He’ll start casting the vision?
Read about anyone in the bible that followed God and I’m not sure we’re supposed to know all the details.
If we knew the details, then the decision would be easy. If the decision was easy, then everyone would be doing it.
It seems clear in Hebrews 11 that the followship of God requires one to:
1. Just say yes.
2. Listen and do your part.
3. Walk and take steps even if you have no idea where you’re going.
4. Respond and react when you feel that tug on your heart.
5. And He’ll handle all the details.
I was at a fitness competition this past weekend with my good friend Dave. The event consisted of a series of 7 fitness challenges. Each challenge required you reset your mind, get ready to go in front of a crowd of athletes watching you, give it your all, then rest for seven to ten minutes, and repeat. Over a course of two and a half hours you had to keep ramping yourself up for the next challenge.
Dave and I kept laughing that most people who absolutely hate this. Each challenge was anxiety provoking. Your mind messed with you. Part of the mind game was that you didn’t know the finer details. You had no clue how you would feel during the next challenge and then afterwards for the remaining ones. It was a constant process of shutting down your thoughts, surrendering your action plan, and just trusting that your training would pay off. When the ref said to line up, it was time to just GO.
I love fitness training because it is such a metaphor for faith. You put in the training, you do your part, and then when the call comes and it’s time to compete, you just trust and GO.
What I’m discovering throughout my life is that God doesn’t want you to know the details because the message is in the Magnitude of His Mission. If you knew all the details when you acted on something, then again, the credit can be given to you. People can say you were the wise one, the ready one, the resourceful one who pulled it all together. And even though it’s true you worked hard and did your due diligence to follow God’s commands, at the end of the day, He deserves all the credit.
When people see that something wasn’t possible through you alone, there’s no way they won’t see God’s hand all over the mission. That’s a conversation starter and through your actions alone you can be a witness without even saying a word to someone else about your faith.
When you read through Hebrews 11, the writer makes a point that many of these faithful followers did so even in the midst of life-threatening circumstances. Some of them also died without receiving what God had promised. Furthermore, some accepted the fact that they would never realize the full blessings of God until they entered heaven.
“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning;[a] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Heb 11:32-40)
If we’re honest with each other, most of us do not have to worry about being tortured for our faith. We’re most likely not going to be flogged, imprisoned, stoned to death, sawed in two, or killed by a sword. We’re wandering in suburbs and luxurious homes with way more than we need, not caves and mountains or holes in the ground.
Yet what are we so scared of?
Is there a move you need to make in your life right now?
Do you need to stop worrying about the details and just go for it already?
Are you still trying to do this on your own instead of fully surrendering your faith to God?
I say give it up and let it go. Rise up and do your part. Put your foot on the start line and just go.
You don’t need to be fully prepared. You don’t need to know what the response will be
You don’t need to know where the next check will come from or if you’ll succeed or not.
God will handle all the details.
Don’t take my word for it. Act by faith alone today. And it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.