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 (Hebrews 11:6, KJV)
The Lord makes this categorical statement of fact to emphasize the importance of faith in our relationship with Him. He clearly states that it is impossible to please Him without faith. He did not say it is difficult, but impossible. Faith is mandatory if we have to walk with God.
I had misunderstood this verse growing up in the faith, partly based on what I was taught. This verse is often being interpreted to mean faith is what pleases God, meaning the thing God is pleased about is your heart believing in Him. That implies when God sees faith in your heart, it pleases Him. This is not the correct interpretation of what this verse is talking about. The context of the entire chapter shows us what these heroes of faith DID because of their faith. Faith is presented as a MEANS and not the END. It is a means by which we function and relate with God. What God is looking for is not your heart to just believe in Him. He is looking for what happens to you after you believe.
Let me illustrate this point using examples from verse 3. Heb. 11:3 states “by faith we understand…”. Faith is required to understand God. Faith allowed the heroes of faith to grasp truths about God. Verse 4 says “ by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than cain..”. His faith made it possible for him to offer a sacrifice that was more acceptable to God. It was not just Abel’s belief in God that pleased God. His belief in God made him offer a sacrifice that was pleasant to Him. Faith is required to do things that please God.
Verse 5 continues that “by faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death..”. Enoch walked with God and pleased Him so much that God could not wait for him to die but took him to heaven. His walk with God was made possible by his faith. The same pattern continues throughout the chapter. If you ever want to be, live or do things that please God, faith is mandatory. It is not faith, meaning merely believing in God. It is the works that follow that please God. James rightly told us that faith without works is dead. Faith in its broader sense is not only believing but includes believing and the things you do because of that believing. Faith = believing + works!
What does Heb. 11:6 above say is the reason why it is impossible to please God without faith? What is the difference between “impossible” and “difficult” in the context of Heb. 11:6 above?
APPLY THE WORD
Pay attention and invest in your faith. If you want to live a life that pleases God in the way you live, then faith is mandatory. Do not have dead faith, meaning, full of believing in your heart but nothing to show for it. Live out your faith. You are already doing it. Reading this devotional is already a simple act of faith because you believe in Christ and you are seeking to build your faith! Walking in faith does not always mean moving mountains or doing some jaw-dropping miracle. It simply means everything you do or speak that is the result of your faith in God. For example you are living a holy and righteous life. That is also a result of faith! Let your walk be pleasant to God so that your name will be in the longer list of heroes of faith in heaven!
Ask the Spirit to help you please the Lord as you start allowing your faith to guide the way you live and the things you do and say.