13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.
Hebrews 11:13 (NLT)
Welcome to the eleventh installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11:13 highlights the common ground for all the people who lived in faith. They kept their faith for life. Faith is not meant to be temporal. God wants us to have faith at every moment in our lives.
If you are to set time limit like saying, “I trust God for my first million dollars and if I don’t get my first million dollars in one week I will quit faith.” you might as well quit now. Why? By setting the time limit, you are telling the Satan that all he has to do is to focus his forces on you for a week only to defeat you. He will definitely give his best effort for one week to block your one million dollars.
Likewise, if you set failure targets like, “If I fall again for ten times, I will quit.” Satan will focus all his available resources to knock you down ten times. You might as well give up now to save time.
What should you do then? You have to determine that no matter how long it takes and how many times you have been knocked down, you will not give up your faith. Satan has no defense over that. Why? He does not know how long must he commit his resources to attack you. He has finite resources that can be used to attack us. So, it is better for him to focus his resources on those who have higher chances of giving up after a few setbacks than those who refused to give up no matter how many times they were knocked down. Kenneth Hagin has once said, “If you are determined to stand forever, it will not take very long.”
As long as you refuse to give up your faith no matter how Satan has attacked you, he will have to give up. He will have second thoughts. He will consider diverting his attacks to easier targets, those that will give up after some setbacks.
Have you ever wonder why Satan loves religious people? Their faith is in the circumstances. The situation around them is their God. This makes them easy prey for Satan. When Satan gives them some disease, they will think it is God’s way of calling them home. They thanked God for the disease because they believe disease will lead them to heaven. When Satan gives them a financial crisis, they will say that it is God’s will because God wants them poor. They don’t fight. They cannot tell the difference between God and Satan.
Satan has used them to attack us and used all kinds of manipulative tactics to get us to give up our faith and be religious like them. If you read their writings, you will find that their arguments are no different from what Satan has been telling you to get you to give up your faith.
This is why persistence is so important for us to win in this spiritual warfare.
The second part of the verse tells us that they did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. People of faith do not believe in God after they get what was promised. They believed what God said is true even before they receive what was promised. They saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.
What does this mean for us? We do not allow the natural circumstances to decide on our faith. You may be suffering from some symptoms of sickness right now but that does not mean Jesus did not take all your sicknesses and diseases at the Cross. Being in faith means you choose to believe you are healed by Jesus’ stripes even if the symptoms are still there. As long as you don’t give up and determined to fight on no matter what the situation says, the disease that is attacking you now must go away. I don’t care how “incurable” that disease it. My God is greater than them all.
The Bible tells us that Jesus died poor to make us rich. Just because you have no money and deep in debt now, it does not mean that the Bible is wrong. God is faithful and he is exceedingly rich. It does not matter how deep you are in debt, he is fully able to clear them for you and give up some leftovers that can make you far richer than you dare to dream of. All you need is faith. Through faith you are giving him the permission to prosper you. Why does he need our permission? He is not a tyrant. He does not enforce his blessings on people who reject them. Therefore by having faith we are opening the floodgates of God’s blessings in our lives.
The last part of the above verse tells us that they agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Didn’t Jesus said that we are in the world but not of the world? As Christians, we may be physically living in this world but we don’t belong here. We don’t have to live like the rest of the world. The people of the world do not have a faithful God as their anchor in their lives. The are swept by every tide and wave that come along. When there is a plague, they are afraid of being infected. When there is terrorism, they are afraid to get killed. When there is recession they are afraid of losing their jobs. I find it very pitiful to live like the world.
Thank God, we are not of the world. No matter what plague, terrorism or recession the world throws at us, we have the power to overcome them.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
Even in recession, we can be rich because God has guaranteed our prosperity through Jesus’ death at the Cross. Don’t you feel like thanking God for his love and faithfulness for you?