This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from Enrique Palacio (from Cuba, Senor Palacio writes using a pseudonym), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
By faith, Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:5-6)
The first verse of Hebrews chapter 11 gives us a definition of faith. It is synonymous with assurance and conviction. Hebrews 11:6 indicates that faith has such importance, that it will be impossible to please God without it.
God exhorts us to be faithful unto death.
'Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life' (Revelation 2:10).
A road that is 1,000 miles long begins with the first step. Likewise, the first step of faith for salvation is the beginning of your communion with God. But although the beginning is important, we must persevere, day by day, week after week, year after year, until that day when we too will be translated to be in communion with God through eternity. The continuation of our communion with God will then be rewarded: and so shall we be with the Lord forever.
A moment of introspection: In his writing, the Lord led Enrique to the definition of "faith"--and we will start therewith: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1). Enrique is "spot on", as our friends in England would say--when he points out that faith is but a starting point in our walk with the Lord...only the beginning of our communion with God. There's more to faith than at first meets the eye. James speaks of the need to work out our faith: (James 2:18) "But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." He calls into question a life resting on faith, but lacking communion with God (viz. a life devoted to serving God in this world). Take some time to read James 2:14-26. How does Enrique describe this working out of our faith in God? He reports "But although the beginning is important, we must persevere, day by day, week after week, year after year until we too will be translated to be in communion with God through eternity." Senor Palacio might agree with a common slang expression to the effect that we have to "keep on keeping on" throughout life--we have to persevere in "keeping on" or, in working out our faith through godly deeds and lives.
I am forever reminded of the ship's helm resembling the life of an obedient Christian. This image, along with an explanation of its members, can be found at the following internet location:
We aim to enter into eternal communion with God, well-seasoned and faithful servants. Matthew 25:21 reflects the goal of our lives--which is to be received with the words, "...'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness.'" Notice here the amalgam of James and Enrique--"Faithful servant". Faithful in deeds given by God, in communion to the end of meeting these challenges throughout life, and succeeding in such life assignments at life's end or before. Let us not rest on our faith, but find divine direction for a life filled with service.
We have chosen the path of caring for the persecuted and down-trodden, suffering Christian brothers and sisters around the world. This avocation of prayer is but one of the picture's spokes, and we aim to be faithful in each area of obedient life. As the old saying starts, "there is more to life than..."; perhaps we might add "There is more to an obedient Christian life than..." faith shown forth at our decision for Christ. We serve; we work out our faith; we seek to be obedient to God and His Son; we seek daily communion with God for strength and perseverance and edification and wisdom, and... (we all could elongate the list of reasons for communion with God). Without faith, it is impossible to please God; with faith, we please God, and we look to serve Christ, Who is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).