I love to spend time outdoors. I like to hunt and fish and camp and all that other outside stuff. Sometimes when I go hunting it is really cold and dark when we get to our “spot.” I don’t know if you have spent anytime standing in one place while it snows on you in the pre-dawn dark, but there isn’t much colder than that experience. Realize the objective is to stand still and keep quiet so you aren’t doing jumping jacks or anything like that. Then the moment of joy comes…the sun. You can’t wait for it to get above the horizon. Unless it is snowing really hard the sun pierces the morning calm and begins to warm you. No matter how cold the air temperature is the warmth of the sun makes all the difference. You will even find a way to shift your “spot” to get more in the sun. It is a glorious moment as you rotisserie in the penetrating rays of the morning sun. Check out this verse:
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him. (DRA)
I contend that the faith mentioned here is like my hunting experience. Let me see if I can explain. First I’ll start with the Greek because I know everyone loves that stuff. The word “faith” and “believe” are actually forms of the same word which is “to trust.” The word translated “without” is a word that means “space” or “apart from.” The word “rewarder” is a word that means “to give out of one’s wealth or self.” The word for “impossible” is better translated “unable.” The word “please” actually means “to-have-godly-pleased-unto.” OK I hear you crying “enough,” so let me give you a Lance Literal Translation:
Hebrews 11:6 Apart from trusting Him you are outside the place of God pleasing. But when you trust in Him it binds you with Him as you come to Him and believe that He is who He is (I Am). And when we are seeking Him out, He becomes our reward, His very self. (LLT)
I believe that our “faith” is actually about believing in who God is, His nature, and specifically who He is towards us! God is pleased when we believe and trust that He actually loves us. God is happy when we know He is smiling at us. When we see God as the great evaluator or smug school teacher, we are apart from His pleasure. His pleasure is born out of our belief and trust in who He is.
God wants to have a conversation with us. He wants to have an intimate relationship with us. He wants us to learn dependence on Him not to teach us how to be a better person. Every time I look inward and apply self-effort to be a better person so God will be pleased with me I have actually turned to self instead of Him. I have moved outside the “place” of pleasing Him because I am not seeing His goodness. Instead I am seeing Him as conditional. I am seeing Him as looking at my sin when He has forgotten my sin. He really wants us to get this.
The concept of “faith” has really been messed up by the enemy. It has become a self-conceived and self-cultivated, self-produced trait. The truth is it is all from Him and about Him. If you read Heb 11:6 as “I better get right so God won’t be mad” you are actually unable to step into His pleasure. He can’t be angry at you because of what Jesus has done. There is nothing for God to be angry about. The sin has been removed. To see Him with any expression other than smiling at you is to say that Jesus wasn’t enough on the cross. Think about it.
That is why I say “faith” is like my hunting trip. His countenance towards you is always warm and inviting. He is the light that blasts the darkness. When I turn to Him and have faith in how He feels about me, I step into His pleasure. As I am drawn closer, He rewards my approach with His very self. The cold leaves and the warmth returns. Whenever I agree with a thought that enters my mind and says God is anything other than pleased with me I have moved outside of faith. I am listening to and agreeing with the enemy. The enemy wants you to turn away from God. The enemy wants you to do it on your own. God wants dependence. Satan wants independence. Remember the tree?
Think about how much God loves Jesus. That is how much He loves you. Think about how pleased God is with Jesus. That is how pleased He is with you. Can’t you see God smiling at Jesus all the time? He is smiling at you the same way. Your faith in the truth of God’s nature brings you into agreement with His goodness. Imagine you believe that God actually loves you. Now imagine that He is smiling at you. When you see Him smiling He now starts grinning and laughing. Your faith in His pleasure with you brings Him pleasure. It is an upward spiral! It is how we move in power! It is how His love for us, His love in us can’t help but flow from us! We become and reflect that smile He has for us! How awesome is that?