You cannot live the Christian life apart from faith. (See Hebrews 11:6.)
But sometimes we pray for something, and get the opposite. This is why Hebrews 11 was written—to show us that some escape by faith (see Hebrews 11:32-35), and some endure by faith (see Hebrews 10:35-40).
Some people are fine…until the crisis comes. Then they quit. They have immature, superficial, sometimes superstitious faith. But these three principles will help you have mature faith:
1. Believe in God’s Supernatural Power
If God doesn’t do it, it is not because He cannot. All of the deliverances in Hebrews 11:32-35 are supernatural. We all love those stories from childhood! Daniel in the lions’ den. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. David slaying Goliath.
If you have walked with Jesus for long, you have a story like that—where God inexplicably worked in your heart and life. God can do anything—except fail! That is mature faith.
2. Bow to God’s Sovereign Purposes
We love exciting victories, but sometimes they don’t come.
Hebrews 11:37 says that some champions of faith were stoned. Some were sawn in two. Early Christians were sometimes dressed in animal skins and turned loose in the woods so the dogs could bay after them in the hunt. They were fed to lions, sewn up in bags with poisonous serpents, or tied to beaches at low tide to drown slowly when the tide came in.
These are things that happen to the victorious! God has not promised that we will never know difficulty; He has promised that we will know ultimate victory. (See Romans 8:35-37.)
God has promised never to leave us, never to forsake us. (See Hebrews 13:5.) If you pray for God to do a miracle, and He does not, it is not because He cannot. It is not because He is limited. It is not because He does not love you. Are you willing to let God be God? You want faith to escape, but do you have faith to endure, if necessary?
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
3. Base Your Faith on God’s Promises
“For all the promises of God in [Christ] are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20; word in brackets added).
“And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Hebrews 11:39-40).
In plain English, God has a wonderful plan, and it includes not only the Old Testament saints and early Christians, but all of us. These people had faith, even if they did not have the answer in hand. They had it in their hearts—based on the steadfast promises of God.
Sometimes we expect too much of life and not enough of God. He has not forgotten His promises. When faith seems to fail, it may be that you are asking of your faith something God never intended for it.
Mature faith believes in God’s power, bows to God’s sovereign purposes, and is based on God’s promises. And one of the greatest promises is this: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31).