When all is said and done, there’s a record of how we’ve lived. For those who lived thousands of years ago, God kept a record as well. For some of them – and, I believe, especially for those of us who claim to be His children – God kept a record. He recorded what mattered. You’ll find those folks in what we call the Faith Chapter: Hebrews 11.
If you grew up in church and heard the Bible stories from little up, you’ll know the characters. You’ll know what they did (or didn’t do.) What strikes me most is that these folks did what God told them to do – by faith.
The record of their obedience is proof to us that they were people of genuine faith. They proved their love to Him by acting out their faith.
Jesus said that if we really, truly love Him, we will love and keep His commandments. God gave specific instructions to those heroes of faith. Not only are their names listed, but what they did is listed as well.
By faith . . .
- Abel brought the offering required by God. [Later he was murdered because of it.]
- Noah built an ark and spoke to warn others. [In spite of ridicule.]
- Abraham left his familiar, comfortable home and became a stranger in a foreign land; he packed his bags when he didn’t know where he was going. [How’s that for not having a GPS?]
- Sarai conceived and bore a son in her old age. [This one makes me tired just thinking about it.]
- Abraham offered his son as a sacrifice because he reasoned that God could raise him from the dead.[Could I really do this?]
- Joseph gave instructions for the burial of his bones and prophesied about the exodus from Egypt years before it happened. [After being sold into slavery.]
- The parents of Moses (Amram and Jocabed) hid their son Moses for three months because they saw he wasn’t an ordinary child and because they were not afraid of the king’s edict. [They knew they could lose their lives in defying the king’s edict.]
- Moses chose to be mistreated and counted his disgrace for the sake of his people to be of greater value than the treasures of Egypt. [He claimed his people.]
- Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, crossing the Red Sea. [And boy, were they stiff-necked!]
- The walls of Jericho fell down under the leadership of Joshua. [Six days of marching without anything happening.]
- Rahab was saved from death because she received the spies and kept them safe from harm. [A forgiven prostitute.]
- Gedeon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David, Samuel and the prophets, through faith, subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword and were made strong out of weakness. The list (and their accomplishments) goes on and on and on.
Adam and Eve with their slain son Abel
The way I see it, it wasn’t an easy road. In fact, it was more difficult than pleasant, harder rather than easier.
They obeyed, and they persevered.
That’s why they are listed in the Hall of Faith. It was their obedience. Surely, they loved God. Yet the only way to show their love was to obey.
It still works the same way, today.
To love means we obey.
What are the things He is asking you – or me – to do? Sometimes He asks us to go somewhere. Sometimes He asks us to be someone. Sometimes He asks us to forgive, or to share, or to give. Sometimes He wants to change our relationships. Sometimes He asks us to change the places we go or the places we aren’t willing to go. Sometimes He asks us to make changes in the things we wear or the things we do, or the things we say. Sometimes He wants us to spend more time with Him. Sometimes He asks us to step outside our comfort zone.
This I know: if we ask Him, He will tell us what He wants us to do.
The most accurate measurement of our love for Jesus is our obedience to Him.
Jesus said to those who claimed to love Him, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” He also responded to the crowds following Him, “Why do you call me LORD,but do not the things that I say?”
He is still responding in the same way to those of us who declare our love for Him.
What cities is He asking you to march around? What sacrifice is He asking you to put on the altar? What offering is He asking you to bring?
We can’t say we love Him if we’re not willing to do those things.