TO CHEW ON: "... through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." Hebrews 11:33-34
There is a group of lizards—chameleons— who change color with the changing temperature of their surroundings and their emotions. Paul's description of faith here reminds me of chameleons in the way its outworking changes with the situation. It's another way of looking at the various outworkings of faith we talked about yesterday...
For Jacob faith meant blessing Joseph's sons (and in an unconventional way, trusting that He was hearing from God in this).
For Joseph it meant instructing his descendants to carry his bones back to Canaan. It was faith that God would bring the family back to the promised land.
For Jochebed it meant keeping her boy baby Moses alive, hiding him and, when he could no longer stay hidden, abandoning him to God by setting him adrift in a little pitch-covered boat.
For that same Moses, faith meant aligning himself with his fellow Israelites, though he had been brought up on Pharaoh's palace. It also meant obeying God's instructions to carry out the first Passover, and leading the Israelites through the Red Sea even as the Egyptians were in hot pursuit.
And so we could go on, tracing the changing color of faith on display through the entire chapter of Hebrews 11.
I have often asked myself when I hear missionary stories or stories of people persecuted in places where belief in Christ is forbidden, Would I be as strong as they are? If I were in their situation, would I have their faith? The truth of the matter, though, is that's not the faith that God is requiring of me at the moment. A better question to ask would be, Do I exhibit faith in the situation in which God has me right now?
I reflect on the color that faith takes in my life. It's faith to finish a writing project, trusting that God has a purpose for it. It's faith to keep praying for the family members and friends in my little circle of acquaintance and responsibility who have yet to come to Jesus or who are ill or needy in some way. It's faith that God is leading me in and out of commitments. No, it's not the big stuff of Hebrews 11, though it often feels big to me!
What color is faith in your life?
PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for this inspiring people-of-faith list and the examples of how faith was lived out in their lives. Help me to live with faith today. Amen.
For interesting information about chameleons and why they change color check out this article on the Reptile Knowledge website.
"Fooled by Nature: Chameleon Colors" is a video on howstuffworks.com that shows chameleons changing colors in different situations.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.