Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
This passage of scripture lays out the primary requirement for the establishment of a meaningful relationship with God. In order for us to exercise true faith, we must first believe that God exists, and when the Bible mentions the word "God" it is not doing so in a generic form, but it is rather referring to The only True God who reigns in heaven and on earth. This first important point must be firmly established on Biblical grounds, for in our day when the name of "God" is mentioned by different religions, many people are just not sure anymore who exactly is being referred to. Let's read:
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
It is obviously necessary that our faith and belief be directed to the God that the Bible recognizes. However, having said that, it is also important for us to address the next important point mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, for it also says that there are rewards for those who seek God by faith. The blessings which attend the seekers here mentioned are not "bribes", but are rather the natural result of a healthy relationship with the Lord, for the Bible teaches us that our Heavenly Father delights in giving good gifts unto His children even as an earthly parents take pleasure in giving presents to their offspring.
However there is a very important component to faith that needs to be addressed, especially in our day, because true faith in God is fast becoming a rare commodity, as The Lord Himself plainly stated. Let's read:
Luke 18:8 "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
There is indeed a counterfeit to faith that has surfaced over the years, of which we should all be wary, that of claiming and expecting the promised blessings of God without complying with the conditions laid down. This counterfeit faith has indeed taken deep root in modern society and is consequently preparing millions of people for major disappointment, not only in this life, but also when Christ returns to claim His own.
The promises of God are conditional and unless the stated prerequisites are fulfilled, it is vain to expect the stated results. We cannot expect to reap if we did not first sow, for sowing seed is a first necessary step in order that harvesting may be accomplished. It's the same with the promises of God. True faith in God has it's reasonable expectations based on compliance with the conditions laid down, and a clear understanding that God will deliver the stated results in no uncertain terms.
This is what the Jews, in the days of Haggai the prophet had to learn the hard way. They had become perplexed that the rain was not falling at the appointed time, and try as they might, they could not make ends meet after toiling laboriously for days and months on end. The people had left off the building of the Lord's house in order to take care of their own bills and temporal concerns, and as a result their tithes and offerings were not being returned to the storehouse as is clearly stipulated in the scriptures. The prophet Haggai was then sent to them to explain the reasons for their unfulfilled expectations, and we also in our day need to take heed, for the lessons then given also apply to all generations of those who desire a true faith-based relationship with God. Let's read:
Haggai 1:2 Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built. 3 Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
The experience of the people here plainly shows that they were in violation of the Biblical principle of putting God first in their affections, and as a result of noncompliance with the stipulated conditions, the blessings of God ceased to flow. However, the Lord is merciful to our unrighteousness, and after sending them warning through His prophets, the people finally understood the reasons for their distresses. They then decided to fulfill the conditions laid down by building the house of God, and as soon as they began to lay the foundations, the blessings also began to flow again. Let's read:
Haggai 2:18 Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider it. 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
This lesson is critically important for all Christians, and all those who desire to walk by faith. We cannot reasonably expect the promised blessings of God on the work of our hands and minds if we are knowingly walking contrary to what he has instructed us to do. If like the people in Haggai's day we were to acknowledge where we have gone wrong, and were to confess our sins and return to the Lord, the blessings will again flow as before, and whatsoever we do according to His will, is going to prosper. It cannot be otherwise for the mouth of The Lord has spoken it. We therefore end with a promise that should serve as an encouragement to all to be faithful in fulfilling the conditions laid down. Let's read:
Proverbs 3:9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
May The Lord enable us to walk by faith and not by sight, for in so doing we will certainly reap if we faint not. "Good night" and God bless!