The subject of faith is just one out of the many beliefs of the Christian faith that has constantly been misunderstood, misapplied, abused and misused by many a Christian and non Christian folk alike.
Hebrews chapter eleven gives a lucid description of faith: it is the substance (concreteness, tangibility) of things hoped for, as well as the evidence (proof) of things not seen. In other words, faith means taking steps to see beyond the superficial, to repose absolute trust and confidence under God, in the possibility of something that others may see as a hoax and a phantom.
While faith is the trust and absolute confidence in God’s ability to do all things, faith should never be seen by the believer as an alternative to doing the things he should do at the right time.
The Christian student is on campus to shine as light for Christ, preach him in words and demonstrate his lifestyle in character and comportment. In addition to these, he must blaze the trail in his academic pursuit as God’s word contains myriads of promises for His children to succeed. The believing student is by virtue of these promises expected to perform better academically than his unbelieving peers.
However, what is the reality today? Most children of God in spite of these many promises see themselves barely managing to pass their courses while a few keep recording recurrent failure in their semester performances.
Has God become unfaithful? Have the promises of God become of none effect? How would a believer trust God for success in academics, pray fervently for success the night before his exam and still end up bagging a D, a C or even an E grade once results are published?
The reason is not far-fetched. God does not bless idleness.
Some unbelievers burn the midnight candle, go for night classes, sign up for extra lessons, read up materials ahead of time, ‘photocopy’ their mates’ assignments and submit same in time, look for colleagues who’ll fill attendance form for them in their absence, have friends who’ll write tests and submit for them in their absence, go to great lengths to cheat the academic system in the exam hall and outside of it. And at the end of the day, they achieve success even though God wouldn’t be in it.
However, some fervent believers will remain passive and nonchalant to studies, they’ll seldom do assignments and will gladly skip tests for flimsy excuses, fail to attend lectures because of the lecturer’s godless character, attend night classes only on the eve of examination day and spend a greater portion of the class time claiming God’s promises for success while the brain is left empty of any cocept relevant to the course they’re sitting for the next day.
That is not faith. That is foolishness. And God does not bless acts of foolishness.
The believer who is careless with his academics will perform woefully in the end even though he may be on his way to heaven. But why must we as children of God allow habits of laziness to debar us from possessing that which is rightfully ours? Why?
Just as the believer who has received promises for bountiful harvest must cultivate his field and “sow not among thorns…”, just as the one who has received promises for higher spiritual experiences must thirst and pray to receive them, just as the one who desires the blessings of Abraham must be a child of Abraham by faith, just as he who desires a life of holiness must take responsibility for being righteous; so must the believer be diligent in his academic business so as to stand before kings and not before mean men.
We must not neglect the things we ought to do in the name of trusting God for a miracle.
We must not tempt God through our careless and frivolous lifestyles. God expects us to be up and doing with whatever business we find ourselves in. When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. We must do the things that are in our power to do and leave the ones that require supernatural intervention for God to take care of.
For instance, when we eat healthy, stay safe and exercise routinely and aright, God promises us healing and health. But when we eat anyhow and embrace unhealthy habits and unhygienic environments, we are sure to break down in health. This is not caused by God’s unfaithfulness or His inability to bring His promises to pass anymore, but a clear testimony of our carelessness, as “…the curse causeless shall not come”.
So long as Israel remained pure from all sins, there was no enchantment against Jacob, neither was there any divination that could stand before them. But the moment they fell into whoredom and large-scale idolatry, the wrath of God was poured out upon them in grievous plagues.
Every promise of God comes with a condition. This does not mean that God cannot go out of the way to help His children without imposing stiff conditions on them to fulfill. It does happen, in truth. But this is the exception rather than the rule. He has mercy on whom He will have mercy.
Let’s not claim the promises of God any longer without desiring to contribute the part that God has left for us to play. Even when He rains down manna from heaven, He expects us to go out to gather it, heat it with the pan, and beat it with the homer.
He will not rain down barbecued chicken from heaven, but live quails that need to be slaughtered, plucked, dressed, and cooked before being eaten.
The promises of God are raw, potential manifestations of His authority and ability, waiting for us to put our faith to work in their refining so we can excel beyond human limitations.