Who are the great people? Are they the ones whose names appear in the headlines of news articles? No. The great people of the earth are those who allow the Lord to be great in their lives. They are more concerned about what people think of God than what people think of them.
Through faith they stand the test. Across the centuries of human history, they made a difference for God and for good because they were willing to be different for Christ’s sake. They were encouraged by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever. My heart’s desire is to be among their number!
Read what the Word of God says in Hebrews 11:32-40 and notice the lives of these noble souls who are marked by this expression, “through faith.” We understand that the Christian life is a faith life. The intent of the author of Hebrews is to point us to Jesus Christ, “the author and finisher of our faith.”
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The object of our faith is the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not have faith in faith. It is not faith that does the mighty work of God; it is through our faith in God that God does His mighty work. We read in John 15:1-5,
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have now spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
The Lord Jesus said, “without me ye can do nothing.” The great battle ground is one’s heart and mind. Will it be our way or God’s way? Dying to self is absolutely essential to serving the Lord. The Lord receives glory through our lives only as we die to self. Read what the apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20.
Our Lord’s disciples said to Christ in Luke 17:5, “Increase our faith.” Have you prayed for increased faith? Often people want their ability increased, their training increased, or their equipping increased. Of course, we need to be trained and equipped. But there is no substitute for faith. Faith brings eternity near. It brings the invisible to us. We live in a world that cannot see what we see through eyes of faith. We live in a world that will not believe what we believe through eyes of faith. We must be people of faith.
As we come to the concluding part of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews and the Lord gives us this summary, it is as though the human penman is rushing to tell us more, “And what shall I more say? for time would fail me…” In other words, everyone cannot be named. Those of us who have some familiarity with the Bible will notice that it is not necessarily given chronologically and there are people who seem obviously left out. But there is a reason, a divine intent for including these people God includes. Man looks on the outward appearance, but where does God look? The Lord looks on our hearts. God truly sees if we are faithful people.
We admire people for the way they look or the way they articulate things. We admire the ability some people have to be winsome and get things accomplished. When the Lord looks, He is looking for one thing. That one thing is an indicator that we are placing the priority where it should be placed. Our confidence must be placed in God. Does the Lord see us as people of faith? We are to live our lives “through faith.”