Vol. 11 No. 9 September 2009
By Marilyn LaStrape
When we as Christians try to talk to some people about their half-hearted relationship with God, and how they need to have faith in His ability to take care of them, they respond sometimes by saying, “Faith won’t pay the bills!” This statement on the surface sounds reasonable enough; therefore, they feel justified in their state of unfaithfulness to God. However, it reveals a faith in one’s self and not a reliance on God. Faith won’t pay the bills? Oh, but it does! It depends on what kind of faith is being referenced!
There is a vital distinction that must be made between natural faith and trusting faith. Every day all rational people engage in activities exercising natural faith. We take medicine, drink water, drive our cars, and hundreds of other things exercising natural faith. We take medicine exercising natural faith; we don’t know all the ingredients that are in the pills, but we believe they will make us feel better, so we take them. We drink water exercising natural faith; we don’t know what is in the water, but we believe it is safe, so we drink it. We drive our cars by faith; we believe that they will take us to our destinations, or we would not get in them.
People exercise natural faith in their abilities to work and make money to pay their bills. Most people believe they can do the job they were hired to do; otherwise, why would they go to work? In taking that reasoning a step further, just who do we think gave us our mental and physical capacity to hold a job? Do we really believe that one day we merely “lucked up” on that mental and physical soundness?
Scripture refutes all such notions! Every physical and material blessing comes from God because He sends the rain on the just and the unjust. “…For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” “For He is kind to the unthankful and evil” (Matthew 5:45b; Luke 6:35b).
Noting the major difference between natural faith and trusting faith, trusting faith is faith that comes under the direction of divine authority. Those of us, who are living our lives in accordance with that premise, know that we did not just happen to have arrived at that upward call of God in and of ourselves! The essence of our faith is an active, submissive, obedient, confidence that takes God at His word. It is the faith described in Hebrews 11.
Trusting faith makes us most appreciative of all material blessings, but especially of the spiritual blessings. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
Our trusting faith is the driving force behind every thought, word and action when Christ is the center of our lives! Second Corinthians 3:4-6 reads, “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” Our mental wellness, physical soundness and material blessings have been given to us by God because of who He is, not because of who we or others think we are! Job 34:14-15 says, “If He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to the dust.” From these two passages alone, any rational person should see how all of us are totally dependent on God! Self-made? Who is that? Not on our best days!
The Old Testament description of the building of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant is a striking account of where all of our abilities originated. In Exodus 35:30-35, we have the account of a man God called by name to perform a specific task in the building of the tabernacle. “And Moses said to the children of Israel, ‘See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship to design artistic works…’” “And He has put in his heart the ability to teach in him…He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker…those who do every work and those who design artistic works.”
Exodus 36:1-2 leaves no doubt that God was in control and also directing this massive building project. “And Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the LORD had put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of sanctuary, shall do according to all that the LORD has commanded. Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.” What God plans for He provides for.
Jesus is very specific in pointing out that our abilities and talents are God given. He also tells us that God is going to hold us accountable for the way the talents and abilities He has given us have been used or abused! In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus addresses those abilities in the Parable of the Talents. God’s expectation and the bottom line are plain and simple.
If we have used our talents to further the cause of Christ in keeping His commandments, as we seek God in giving Him all glory and praise, this is what we will hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21, 23). For those who have misused and abused their talents, this is what they will hear: “And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).
Trusting faith pays our bills and everything else that we need in this life! Jesus addresses the material cares that He knew we would have in Matthew 6:19-34 when He talked about food, drink, clothing, and shelter. We have that eternal promise from Jesus when He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
King David, the man after God’s own heart, put it this way: “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed” (Psalm 37:25-26).
We must have this kind of faith that brings assurance, substance and conviction to our thinking about God and how He continually cares for us and continually provides for our every need.