“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” – Hebrews 11:23-26
In this excerpt from Hebrews chapter eleven, known by some as the “faith hall of fame” the author approaches the obvious challenges that occur when anyone looks to live a life of faith in Jesus Christ according to His holy word. This article will look to answer some of the important questions that when accurately understood will help us all to live a life better positioned to give Jesus Christ glory and receive the revealed promises that accompany the obedient child of God.
God’s word tells us that “the righteous live by faith” (Galatians 3:11). Living by faith simply means embracing the person of Jesus Christ as God and fully relying on His word as the only truth. Out of this embrace and reliance comes a natural rejection of the world and every other voice that is not the voice of Jesus, the voice of the God of the Holy Scriptures. We will then have faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and complete trust in His word. We will live our life according to His word.
Out of this faith will come conflicts with the world that we live in. We will be put at odds with the world and the choices that we make will reveal our peculiar loyalty to Jesus. This will in turn shine a bright light into a very dark place. And the darkness does not respond favorably to the light. They are contrary to each other. They are at odds with each other and will not abide one another. The darkness will look to destroy the light and the light will look to eliminate the darkness. This is conflict in its purest form. Authentic children of God who look to walk by faith will find this conflict all around them. There will be few areas where they will not encounter it. Work, recreation, family, community, even the church. This is where the rubber meets the road. If there is not any conflict then there must not be any faith.
It is these conflicts of life, the conflicts of faith, that looks to make us compromise our faith. Adversity comes to test our commitment to Christ. Conflict makes us choose between our perceived risks and benefits, both short term and long term. Unfortunately, too many of us make the wrong choice when put under the pressure of our faith conflicts. We choose short term gain over short term pain. And as a result, we trade long term gain for long term pain. That is why there are so many Christians living defeated lives. But this should not be.
Moses goes in a different direction. He chooses to walk the path of righteousness, which most often is not the easier path. Moses chooses to reject the easy path of the comforts of the palace and the accompanying pleasures of sin (short term gain). Instead, he chooses to be mistreated with the people of God; he chose the reproach of Christ, because he was looking forward to the coming reward (long term gain).
Our main question must be, “What does Jesus want?” or “What action can I take that brings Christ the most glory?”. The conflict of faith that Moses has is the same conflict of faith that we all have. Do I do what is easiest for me, or do I do what most honors Christ. This is the tension between the Spirit and the flesh. It has been here since the Garden of Eden and it will be here until Christ’s return. Verse twenty-five reminds us to make the right choice not based upon a quick pleasure (short term gain). Sin can feel good, but that feeling only lasts a short time. Eventually, the sting of sin reveals itself and this is a lasting effect that too often leaves a mark on us and on those that we love (long term pain).
We thank God for Jesus and His atoning death on the cross, that through faith in Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection we might have eternal life. It is the result of God the Holy Spirit living in us as an authenticator of our true relationship with God the Father through God the Son that we have the power to correctly choose in our moments of faith conflict. Every day, we just as Moses, will have to choose between the momentary pleasures of sin and the lasting joy of honoring Jesus. If we are going to gain God, we must give up allegiance to this world. The seemingly short term pain of doing life Christ’s way will yield a glorious future to wonderful for us comprehend in this moment.