New To Bible Marking? CLICK HERE
Jesus often commended the faith of those who went to Him for help. To the woman who pleaded with Him on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter, He said, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish” (Matt. 15:28). To the woman who had been physically suffering for years, He said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well” (Matt. 9:22). To the woman who humbly brought her sin-sick life to Jesus, He said, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). These individuals had experienced the power of Jesus over their seemingly insurmountable difficulties. His touch, His words, or even just the hem of His garment, changed their lives. Yet He credited their faith, too, for their healing. Remarkable. And also a little sobering.
I know I need to spend more time thinking about and growing my faith. Yes, I responded to faith in obedience when I put on my Lord in baptism (Gal. 3:26-27). Yes, faith has laid out guidelines for my life in the areas of morality, worship, and my roles (Matt. 7:21-23). But what about the kind of faith that believes in God’s care no matter what? Many people came to Jesus and asked things of Him but He didn’t commend all of them for their faith. Peter, “seeing the wind…became frightened.” Jesus said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:30-31). During another storm, He said to His disciples, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Here’s what I know…there are times when I’m still afraid. When I see the wind in my own life, is my faith commendable? From the biblical examples mentioned, we see that great faith is complete confidence in the One in whom I’ve placed my life. It’s asking Him for help knowing I can turn everything over to His control. That kind of faith is life-altering. There are a multitude of Scriptures about faith but let’s focus on a few that show what living by faith looks like.
In the front of your Bible, write: Living by Faith- Mark 9:20-24
…Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
Circle all occurrences of “believe/ unbelief.” A man went to Jesus on behalf of his son and said, “if You can do anything…” Jesus called him on it. “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” If you’re a parent, you can empathize with this man. We often plead with God on behalf of our children. Perhaps we also doubt God’s ability to help. As we begin our study, underline what must be our prayer, too: “help my unbelief.” At the end of verse 24, write Lk. 17:3-5
…The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
Circle “faith” and underline “increase our faith.” In this instance, the disciples were asking for help in order to do something hard and maybe even unreasonable in their eyes. It would take a greater faith than theirs to offer frequent forgiveness. Living by faith means asking God to help us do anything that seems beyond our ability or willingness. At the end of verse five, write Rom. 4:18-21.
…Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was also able to perform.
Circle all forms of “belief/ faith.” This example concerns Abraham. In verse 18, underline “in hope against hope he believed.” In verse 19, underline “without becoming weak in faith.” Underline all of verses 20 and 21. God promised that Abraham would be the father of many nations. Abraham was very aware of his old body. He looked at his body, “now as good as dead,” but his faith was in God’s performance. Notice what Abraham did before God kept His promise even though the wait was long. He 1) did not waver, 2) grew strong in faith, and 3) gave glory to God. In the margin next to verse 20, write “how to live by faith.” At the end of verse 21, write 2 Cor. 5:6-9.
…For we walk by faith, not by sight…
Circle “faith.” To understand this familiar phrase a little better, go back and read the end of chapter four (v. 16-18). The discouraging things we see around us are temporary. The glory to come is eternal. Underline “walk by faith.” In the margin next to it, write the meaning of the word “walk,” which is “live; conduct ourselves.” Living by faith means keeping our eyes on Heaven. Notice what Paul says that looks like. Squiggly underline “being always of good courage” (v. 6), “we are of good courage” (v. 8), and “we also have as our ambition…to be pleasing to Him” (v. 9). What an outlook! Instead of growing fearful because of what we see or experience here, we can live courageously because of what is waiting for us there. At the end of verse nine, write Heb. 11:6.
And 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 seek Him.
Circle “faith” and “believe.” It’s not enough to believe in the existence of God. Underline “must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Draw a square around “and” in that phrase you just underlined. That’s the kind of faith that pleases God. This is clearly seen in this chapter full of examples. Look at each one mentioned and see what they did “by faith.” Without even being able to see the big picture, they lived obediently, righteously, and courageously through difficulties. At the end of verse six, write 12:1-3.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Circle “faith.” This passage becomes especially powerful after spending time in chapter eleven. Just like those examples of living faith, the “great cloud of witnesses surrounding us,” we can lay aside every burden and every sinful habit. We can run with endurance. Underline “let us lay aside,” “let us run,” “fixing our eyes on Jesus,” and “consider Him.” Squiggly underline “you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the greatest example of living faith, is how we can keep from being discouraged. In the margin next to “fixing our eyes,” write “look with undivided attention” and “(see also 1 Tim. 4:1).” As the author and perfector of faith, perhaps this is how He perfects our faith, too. At the end of verse three, write 1 John 5:4-5.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Circle “faith” and “believes.” Underline all three occurrences of “overcome(s) the world.” Draw a square around “victory.” Being born of God involves belief, love, and obedience (v. 1-3). The continuance of these three things brings the victory we’re all striving for, overcoming the world. This is living faith. At the end of verse five, write v. 13-15.
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
Circle “believe.” Underline “you may know,” “confidence,” “we know He hears us,” and “we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” This brings us full circle, doesn’t it? God hears, acts, and intervenes on our behalf. This confidence is emphasized all throughout 1 John. (For your own personal study, you might go through the short letter and highlight “know” and “confidence.”) Does this kind of faith change how we pray? And if our prayers are that steeped in faith, won’t it affect how we live?
“Glance at the problems,
but gaze at the Savior.”