“Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who truly want to find Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NCV).
After reading this verse a few times, I understood that faith must be more than just believing that God is real, that He exists. Otherwise it would be a bit confusing, because who would want to “come to God” or want to “please God” without believing that God exists? No, the faith described here must be more than just believing that God exists.
Believing that “He rewards those who truly want to find Him” can really help me in my life. I must believe that if I truly want to find Him, that if I live according to the will of God and fight against sin and my own sinful nature, that He will reward me, and His reward is that He will completely change me. There are things that have always been impossible for me, such as always being patient, thankful, loving all people, not becoming disappointed or irritated; in all of these things, God can change me so that I become completely new on the inside.
I can read that and think that maybe it is not so hard to believe that about other people, but when I think about myself, it is easy for me to lose courage.
Faith and discouragement cannot go together
I have felt discouraged at times. The feeling often comes when I am suddenly aware of the sin that lives in me. Then thoughts come up about what a long way I still have to go. I think that I will never be able to become free from my ugly nature. Thoughts like these do not come from God; they come from the devil.
Faith or discouragement—these two are complete opposites. If I believe that God can completely change me, is there any reason for me to be discouraged? No, I cannot say that I have faith if I doubt at the same time. These things simply cannot go together! But how can I break free from that discouragement?
Use faith as a weapon
The answer is that I must arm myself with faith and use faith as a weapon against discouragement, which comes from doubt. “At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One.” Ephesians 6:16 (GNT). This is exactly what Abraham did when God promised him a son.
“He was then almost one hundred years old; but his faith did not weaken when he thought of his body, which was already practically dead, or of the fact that Sarah could not have children. His faith did not leave him, and he did not doubt God's promise; his faith filled him with power, and he gave praise to God. He was absolutely sure that God would be able to do what He had promised.” Romans 4:19-21 (GNT).
Abraham did not become discouraged even though God’s promise seemed completely impossible.
We must choose to believe and arm ourselves with the shield of faith, because if we follow our own thoughts and reasoning, we will quickly get discouraged. “The shield of faith” is not just believing that God exists, but it is believing in God’s power which is able to do miracles in anyone. It doesn’t matter what my personality, my past, and my nature is, anyone – including me – can become totally different with God’s help. God is mighty to do miracles. Faith in this is my weapon.