The Deliberate Exercise of Faith
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In our bible study last Thursday, we read Hebrews 6:11-12:

We desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the very end, to the full assurance of your hope, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

The full assurance of your hope.  Of what things are you fully assured?  Those, for example, who from their heart have received Jesus as Savior, have no question about the existence of God, any more than you would question the existence of your spouse or close friend.  God is not some set of theological doctrines, but Someone we know personally, first-hand.  We have a full assurance of this fact, which is unshakeable.

Yet, as the writer of Hebrews points out (vs. 5:12-6:3), different individuals are at different levels of maturity in their faith.  There may be some things of which you are fully assured and confident, and there may be other things which you know, or know of, yet your heart is not fully and deeply assured.  One example of this might be God's deep and abiding love for you.  Here, then, is where the diligence comes in.  The diligence we need to apply is to the knowledge and understanding of God's word, and the deliberate exercise of faith in that word.

What is the deliberate exercise of faith?  Simply put, it's actively choosing to take God at His word, and to lay to rest all doubt and inner conflict.  It's the choice to trust Him, the choice to believe in Him, and to believe in His word.  As it says in Psalm 138:2,

For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.

The deliberate exercise of faith, like all exercise diligently applied, will strengthen us, until we come to the full and unshakeable assurance of our hope in Christ.

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And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight — if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
— Colossians 1:21-23