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We need to believe that believing is in our best interests. Many good blessings come from truly believing in God, and we can be thankful that God's plan of salvation involves such things that make this life better, as well as give us the hope of heaven. Unfortunately, we sometimes think we can be happy now or happy in eternity, but not both. Yet Paul said that "godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come" (1 Tim. 4:8). God's plan gives us the best life in this world and an even better one in eternity.
The apostle Peter wrote concerning our faith: "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Pt. 1:6-9). The salvation of our souls is, of course, the ultimate "outcome" of our faith. But even before we get to heaven, real faith results in the ability to "rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory." Clearly, good things come from believing.
Most people observe sooner or later that "trust" (which is what "faith" means) is a necessary part of the character of the joyful person. The cynic, the doubter, and the distruster never drink very deeply of the goodness of life. It's only those who are willing to open up and trust others that experience joy. If that is true in human relationships, how much more important is the willingness to trust God.
As we make our way through the various activities of this week, let's observe how many ways faith can help us. Let's look for projects that we will do a better job on if we have genuine faith in God. True belief in God is a wonderfully practical thing -- there are benefits of faith that we have never tapped. Let's learn more this week about how the faith God wants us to have is productive of the good life.
Monday: Romans 15:13
Key Idea: Joy and peace come from true faith.
Questions for Family Growth: What does Paul say God can fill us with "in believing"? What is joy? How would you say that joy is different from happiness? What is peace? How does faith help us to have these things?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:3.
Tuesday: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4
Key Idea: Diligence in our work comes from true faith.
Questions for Family Growth: Why did Paul say he was thankful for in the Thessalonians' lives? What three things did he say he remembered about them? What do you think the "work of faith" would be?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:4.
Wednesday: Hebrews 11:24-26
Key Idea: A willingness to sacrifice comes from true faith.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Moses do "by faith"? What are some reasons why would it have been hard for Moses to give up what he did? What was most important to him? How did Moses' faith help him to sacrifice for God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:5.
Thursday: Hebrews 11:32-40
Key Idea: Strength and courage come from true faith.
Questions for Family Growth: In this passage, what are some of the amazing things people did in the Old Testament? What does it mean that they did these things "by faith"? How does faith help us to have courage?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:6.
Friday: Ephesians 3:11,12
Key Idea: Confidence before God comes from true faith.
Questions for Family Growth: What does this expression mean: "boldness and access [to God] with confidence"? Should we be afraid of God? Why not? What does 1 Jn. 4:17-19 say? How are love and faith tied together?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:7.