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The Power of Small Faith

Something with supernatural power emboldened the heroes of the bible’s ancient stories. Courage, valor, and spirit did not arise in them naturally, but instead were the byproduct of a deeper force. Hebrews 11:1 describes it as a confidence so strong regarding what those ancients hoped for, that it served as evidence for the possession of those things that they could not yet see. That is how the writer of Hebrews introduced the subject of faith. He then went on to name a slew of bible heroes whose confidence in God’s promises compelled them toward acts of courage, valor, and spirit even though they would never see in their lifetimes what God had promised. It is this quality of faith to compel men and women to act that makes it impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6). When you believe God is telling you to do something, and you have trust in him, then you will do it.

Even weak faith produces behavioral results. Consider the story of Gideon (Judges 6:11-27). God instructs Gideon to tear down the altars made to idols in his hometown, then to build an altar to God in their place, and to make a burnt offering on it using the wood from the pagan altars he had just torn down. Gideon knows it will be a dangerous and unpopular operation, so he does it at night. This is a remarkable feat of courage that Gideon did not have on his own. He had described his clan as the weakest in his tribe, and himself as the weakest in his father’s house. Despite these apparent inadequacies, he did what was asked in spite of his fears because he had faith in the God who had commanded him. For this, he’s mentioned in the bible's faith hall of fame (Hebrews 11:32).

Faith always produces behavioral results. Even the weakest of faith does this. In fact, if you are not acting on faith, then your faith isn’t real. Faith that isn’t evidenced by behaviors isn’t faith at all, but just words (James 2:17-18).

Gideon’s faith was put to the test by God not only with the altars, but also with defeating his people's most dangerous enemies, the Midianites. Gideon struggled with this command, asking God to prove he would do his part multiple times (Judges 6:36-40). But God already knew the outcome. He called Gideon a mighty man of valor (Judges 6:12). Even his weak faith was enough to defeat the physically stronger enemy from whom he was hiding.

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