Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
August 12, 2007
The Faith That Makes God Proud
Earlier this year a tragic shooting took place at a shopping mall in Salt Lake City. In a three-minute span a young man randomly discharged his shotgun into nine victims, killing five of them. From the midst of that terror, stories of heroism emerged. In one case, a 17-year-old female clerk had the presence of mind to usher her customers into a back room. More than that, she had the courage to risk exposure to the gunman by going to the front of the store and locking the door. Needless to say, her parents are proud of her.
Have you ever wondered what makes God proud of us? Hebrews 11:16 speaks of believers who have gone before us and declares, “God is not ashamed to be called their God!” Hebrews 11 exhibits the lives of people who made God proud! What was it that brought them His praise? The answer, of course, is faith. But what kind of faith?
The faith that makes God proud is faith that acts on God’s Word.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” The faith that makes God proud means living for what we can’t see with our eyes and for what we can’t touch with our hands. In other words, faith means basing every choice, every value, and every investment we make on the promises we find in God’s Word. God was not ashamed to be called Noah’s God because Noah responded to His warning about “things not yet seen.” Noah’s faith made God proud because he acted solely on what God said and hoped only in what God promised.
The faith that makes God proud is faith that hopes in God’s reward.
Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that the faith that makes God proud is a faith that believes “…he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Do we really believe that? More important, does our professed belief show up in the choices we make? Later in this chapter we learn that God was proud of Moses because the choices Moses made demonstrated that his faith hoped in God’s reward. “By faith…he chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time…because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
Are we like Moses? Are we convinced that our choices today determine our reward tomorrow? How often do we choose the momentary pleasures of sin over God’s infinite reward? How many times do we trade heaven’s treasures for fleeting popularity or for momentary comforts in this life?
We need to lift our eyes. We need to see eternity. With eyes of faith we need to see the reward God is preparing there for us. More than that, we need to live for His reward! That’s the faith God looks for. That’s the faith that makes God proud.
The faith that makes God proud is faith rooted in heaven’s soil.
Speaking of those who made God proud, Hebrews 11:13-16 says, “…they admitted that they were strangers and aliens on earth. …If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one.”
The faith that makes God proud is a faith rooted in our heavenly home. The moment we trust Christ as Savior and Lord we become citizens of heaven. But all too often, we forget to fill out a change of address card. If we’re really citizens of heaven, why do we fit in so well on earth? How often does this world drive our agendas? How often does this world determine how we spend our time and money? How often do we share the values of the unbelievers around us? It’s time to make God proud! It’s time to admit that we’re strangers here. It’s time to live like aliens on earth because we long for our heavenly home.
Is your faith the faith that makes God proud? (Dean Shriver)