The physicality of our world tends to limit our grasp of the spiritual realm. If we can't see, touch, taste, hear or smell something, we have a hard time accepting it.
And yet, our thoughts or imaginations aren't perceived through our physical senses but we realize their existence. But how do you explain their existence? By their action or effect.
This is our dilemma with faith. How can faith be proven in a physical or empirical way? It can't. But you can witness the effect and impact of a person's faith by how they live and interact with people and the world around them.
When a person lives by faith they make faith visible, even touchable. Faith may seem paradoxical in nature but it's real.
Faith led Noah to listen when God warned him about the things in the future that he could not see. He obeyed God and built a ship to save his family. Through faith Noah condemned the world and received God’s approval that comes through faith.
Faith led Abraham to obey when God called him to go to a place that he would receive as an inheritance. Abraham left his own country without knowing where he was going. [vss 7-8]
Faith led Abraham to live as a foreigner in the country that God had promised him. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who received the same promise from God. Abraham was waiting for the city that God had designed and built, the city with permanent foundations. [vss 9-10]
(Hebrews 11:7-10 GW) [Context– Hebrews 11]
Faith led Abraham to live as a foreigner in the country that God had promised him
Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
What are 3 things Noah did as a result of his faith?
Did Noah receive God's approval for building the ship (ark) or for listening and obeying God?
In what way is Abraham's faith demonstrated? How is his faith similar to Noah's?
What was Abraham waiting for? What do you think this refers to?
It may be hard to imagine having faith like Noah or Abraham but it shouldn't be unless your idea of faith is misguided.
Faith is about trust. It is a personal trust relationship with God. Its foundation is not the physicality of this earth nor anything we do except putting our trust fully in God (Heb 11:6).
Genuine faith becomes a foundation for our life that enables us to build a life of trust beyond life in a natural sense. We trust God for what we cannot see at first. This is illustrated by the lives of Noah and Abraham.
Faith becomes visible through the lives of believers every day. This is easier to see over a period of time or in a time of crisis. Those who trust God in a personal way see beyond day to day struggles and even crisis situations.
Their faith has a sense of permanency in their lives that becomes evident to others.
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
How do you think Noah knew what God wanted him to do?
Why do you think a person receives God's approval only because of their faith and trust in God?
What did both Noah and Abraham endure because of their faith?
Does your faith have a sense of permanency for your life? If so, in what specific ways?
Here's a free introduction for the book of Hebrews— Intro to studying Hebrews