Monday Memo 1160: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Let's go back and look at a verse we mentioned last week when we looked at Joseph as a good example of someone who wasn't too old to flow in his purpose:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13-16, emphasis added).

The specific verse is "all these people were still living in faith when they died." Faith is a lifetime assignment. It's not an event, but a lifestyle. It's not a pill you swallow when needed but a spiritual vitamin we take every day. And faith isn't just for things we think we need that we don't know how we can get them, but it's to be applied to goals and aspirations of things God has laid on our hearts to do.

In the passage above, we see what's involved in faith by the words in bold. First, we live in it. Our whole existence requires faith. When we drive over a bridge, we have faith it won't collapse. When we buy food, we have faith that it's not going to make us sick. When we go to the hospital, we trust that the people there are well trained and competent. So to trust God for provision or to fulfill a promise isn't that unusual of an exercise, since we are creatures who function best by faith—no matter our age.

People of faith also see things. They see the future so clearly, sometimes even the future after they have departed this life, that they welcome those pictures of what is yet to come and work to make them a reality for themselves and for those closest to them. I guess you can say these people are visionaries.

Then faith involves admitting the truth of who we are. Faith never requires us to deny reality. We just don't allow reality to have the final say. We choose to allow God's word to have the deciding vote. Abraham was as good as dead in age, but chose to believe God that he would have a son to serve as his heir. What's more, people of faith say things that are compatible with faith. For example, I never say "I'm too old for this or that." Yes, as I grow older there will be physical limitations but I'm trusting God that my latter years will be as fruitful, perhaps more so, than my earlier ones.

After that, those with faith are thinkers. Faith is rational, perhaps the most rational act of our existence. Faith may involve our feelings, but at the end of the day, it requires that we weigh the evidence and the possibilities and allow faith to have the upper hand. And finally, people of faith are longing for something better, which is the reward of our faith. We have a destination in mind and faith fuels the journey. Now all this occurs regardless of your age. You're never too young or old for faith.

Having said that, how is faith impacting your life? Are you living or simply existing? Are you admitting the truth of your own weakness but trusting in God's strength? Has faith affected your speech so that you are uttering faith words and not those of doubt and doom? And how about your thinking? Are you using your rational capabilities to concoct exciting faith scenarios or fear-filled options for your life? And finally, are you longing for more—to do more, be more, see more, and understand God more?

If you answer yes to those questions, then the final promise of this passage is for you: "God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." I want to be a citizen of God's city and not just someone living on the outskirts of town because I was unable to take up residence in the place God has for me. I would love to have you as my neighbor there, but the price of admission is a life of faith up until the end. I hope you're willing to pay that price. If you are, I look forward to sharing faith stories with you as we talk across our backyard fence on Faith Street. Have a blessed week.


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