Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:1-40
I love playing tennis! When I was learning the game, there were a few foundational instructions that I was given upon which all my playing was to be built. It didn’t matter how good I was ever going to get, my instructor was emphatic that there are some basics every tennis player must keep in mind.
One of them was about treating every shot as different. When your opponent hits the ball at you, as much as possible, you must never assume it’s the same hit as the last shot you played- treat every hit as different. You must move your feet appropriately to be well positioned for the new shot (sometimes that’s just moving an inch or two), you must ‘refresh’ your grip on the racquet, you must keep your eyes on the ball intently, and so on. That’s how you hit the right shot every single time.
It sounds really basic, but the truth is I don’t know one single professional tennis player whose game isn’t built on this foundational awareness.
When you run around in the thick of a tennis game, you’re going to deal with all kinds of hits from your opponent- some seem tougher to play than others, some seem more demanding than others, some seem similar to others, and so on- but through it all, each one must be played in the awareness of a different shot. You need to be prepared for each one. You need to give your intensity to each one.
I like that the Bible teaches that our victory over all that the world is lies in our faith
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 1 John 5:4 NKJV
Our faith brings us to a place of deep reliance and dependence on Jesus, who has once and for all overcome the world.
We’ll ultimately find that depending on Jesus might look different in different situations. Hebrews 11, which we read today, is a story of people depending on Jesus in a whole lot of different real-life situations from barrenness to homelessness, from downpours to death, and so on. What we’ll find is that our faith is that invitation to constantly be finding out what depending on Jesus looks like in all the situations of our life. What does it look like when a loved one is sick? What does it look like when everyone is fine? What does it look like when we’re in need? What does it look like when we abound? What does it look like when things seem to be working? What does it look like when they seem not to be?
Let me remind you what it means to be a christian: Move your feet appropriately towards the hit, refresh your grip, keep your eyes firmly on Jesus and then play that out. Every single time.
Faith is never in denial of what’s in front of us. Instead, it plays a Jesus perspective every single time. Faith implicates Jesus in the story of our lives. Every single time.
Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:16 NKJV
When Paul wrote to the Ephesians about quenching ‘fiery darts’ with our ‘shield of faith’ it was such a practical and relatable analogy for them. In olden times, when warriors fought at battle, they dealt with enemies using fiery darts at them. These fiery darts would hit on a shield and then burst out into flames. What the warriors began to do in defence was to soak their shield in some substance that would quench the fiery darts when they hit. No-one would stand up in war without a freshly soaked shield.
Right there is a beautiful picture of what my faith must look like this year- freshly soaked! I’m not unaware that we deal with all kinds of fiery darts that can explode on us. There’s all kinds of pressures, challenges, situations, fears and concerns, but a freshly soaked faith will quench them all!
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. Romans 10:17 CSB
Can I challenge you today not to allow the hits of life outpace the freshness of your faith? Determine to keep yourself in a strong rhythm that feeds your faith through every day and season of this year. If our victory lies in our faith, then we can’t afford to live off the mark in faith. We need it every single time!
In Prayer Today
- Pray today to be strong in faith through all seasons of this year. Pray that your faith will stay fresh no matter what you deal with.
- Pray for the Lord to bless you with the opportunities you need to feed your faith adequately and help you to make wise decisions in that regard.