Note: The following is a detailed write-up of Pastor Lia‘s message over the weekend of October 31st & November 1st.
What is faith? To different people, it may mean different things. For some, it can be a feeling; for others, an attitude. Maybe the best source to find out about faith isn’t ourselves, but the Bible! So let’s take a look at what it has to say.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1
There we have it – the most reliable definition of faith. According to the Bible, faith is a strong sense of belief that we can have, especially for things that we have yet to even physically see or touch. With that basic knowledge, we can now move on to understand Pastor Lia’s message even more. Yup, it has only just started!
In life, it is very easy to be fearful. In a hospital room, in an examination hall, on stage. The struggle is not between needles & veins, questions & answers or speaker & audience – but faith and fear.
“11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” – Hebrews 6:11-12
When we are in tense settings like those mentioned above, it is very common for us to respond in fear. It is almost like an instinct for us to imagine the worst that can happen! However, just as described in Hebrews 6:11-12, we should have faith. Because it is through this faith in God that He will lead us to our “promised land”. God is always awaiting to do great things through us and fulfill His promises in our lives. But it is only people with faith – a special kind of faith that will inherit these promises.
Ambidextrous = able to use both left and right hands equally well
Some of you must be thinking at this point, “What exactly is this ambidextrous faith?” Well, Pastor Lia begins to explain with a historical example. Saint Basil of Caesarea was a bishop who lived in the 4th century, when many heretics were preaching and spreading their belief that Jesus was a mere man. In such a time as this, one would normally shrink back in fear. But Saint Basil was different. Though it was difficult, he chose to fight back in faith and spread the truth of Jesus Christ.
As such, his siblings described him as having “ambidextrous faith”. Why? Because with one hand, he held the blessings of God and in the other, the pains and struggles of life. We must understand that both blessings and problems are equally important in bringing us towards God’s plan for our lives! If you read the New Testament, you would realize that the disciples of Jesus understood this principle too. Even they had their fair share of sufferings. Of course, it’s best that we do not encounter such persecutions and tribulations. But if we do happen to, we shouldn’t be surprised! As we accept the good and the bad that is in stored for us, God will use both of them to bring us into our destiny.
“We may never find the reason for our suffering. But we can find the purpose for our suffering.”
Still a little unsure about the concept of ambidextrous faith? Pastor Lia continues with Scripture from Judges 20:13-16 (NLT & MSG). With this passage, she explained that in the olden times, when soldiers are wounded in battle, they have 2 choices. The first is to head home; the second is to stay and fight. The 700 elite soldiers mentioned in these verses chose the latter option, even though their right hands/arms have been wounded beyond function. These elite troops are described to be ambidextrous, deciding to learn how to fight with their left hands and becoming better doing so than they were ever before while right-handed.
How awesome is that? Some of us may have been discouraged in our faith, but we got to choose to be like the 700. We can decide to “go home” and be spiritually handicapped or stay on and continue the fight. Those guys back then refused to quit and became so accurate even with their left hands. The Bible describes them as being able to sling stones at a hair and not miss. They are literally Hawkeye! In the same way, we must keep on going and exercise ambidextrous faith. Sometimes, we may feel like we are neither qualified nor adequate enough to serve God. Or maybe we have stumbled in our faith and feel like we have failed Him. It hurts as much as having our right arms ripped off. But we got to learn how to fight with our left hands. Because where our strength ends, God’s begins.
“15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” – Mark 10:15 (NLT)
The other kind of faith that we need in order to enter into the promises of God is none other than child-like faith. Note that “child-like” does not mean “childish”. What this means is that we have to approach God with a trusting & simple heart of a child. A child looks up to and trusts his father. In his eyes, his Dad can do anything and will do anything for him. At this point, Pastor Lia addressed the congregation.
“Before we get a vision for God, we need to get a vision of God.”
Most of the time, we Christians may only think that what matters to God should matter to us. But we must also realize that what matters to us, matters to God. Never forget the love of God and why we want to do great things for Him in the first place. Before Pastor Lia wrapped up her sermon, she shared with us a quote.
“What if faith and not fear is your default reaction to threats?” – Max Lucado
Can you imagine how different our lives would be if our “default mode” is always faith? God will be able to do amazing things in our lives! When we live by faith, knowing that we are children of the Most High King, we will inherit His promises and be fruitful. In Genesis, God just told Adam & Eve to be fruitful and multiply. He didn’t even need to explain fruitfulness to them because they were by default, already living in an environment of faith and fruitfulness! They instantly got it. If we let faith be our default mode in approaching our careers, schoolwork, relationships, sicknesses and life in general, we will walk in fruitfulness and miracles and sometimes not even know it.
The reason why I go to Heart of God Church every weekend without fail is this very reason – it’s an environment of faith. Through the worship, sermons and people, faith always leaps from one corner of the church to another and fills our hearts. This is why I have the strength to conquer every single week that comes. It isn’t just positive thinking! Trust me, if you ever step into our church on a weekend, you will leave it forgetting what “Monday blues” even mean. I dare you to try, especially if you are not yet a Christian. You may be thinking “Let me see God first, before I believe in Him.” But remember what faith is in its very roots? Have faith in Him today and believe first. Then, you will see Him for who He truly is.
“29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”” – John 20:29
Before I end off this post, I must say that I did not exactly follow the order of Pastor Lia’s sermon! Honestly, there are also certain parts of the message that I’m very sure I did not include in here too. So if you’re in Singapore anytime soon (or if you’re Singaporean), do drop us a visit and you may just hear the woman of God for yourself! It is way better than reading this for sure.
Now, I am going to conclude this article with a story that Pastor Lia originally shared in the middle of this sermon. It is the story of a young man in our church who possesses ambidextrous faith, and I would like to share it with you here to end off today’s post.
Calvin has been a member of our church for the past few years. He serves in the Videos Ministry and you would often find him in our Media Room, giving his best in serving God. These are a few things in church that he does amongst others that make up his purposeful life. But what makes him so special? What makes him such a man of ambidextrous faith?
Well, until recently, few of us would know that he was born with a deficiency – color blindness. This condition causes him to see certain colors as others, and also renders him unable to tell apart shades of the same color. You must be thinking now if I made a mistake about him being in the Videos Ministry. Nope I didn’t; the church has seen his work before too! Calvin just didn’t let his condition be his conclusion.
Just like the 700 elite troops, he did not let his deficiency be a disadvantage or excuse for himself. As soon as he got a vision from God one day to do videos for Him, he just ran with it with passion. He got trained, got into the ministry, and the rest is history. He has done so many excellent videos to this date and is on his way to doing more, and none of us could ever tell that it was done by a man who has his condition.
In fact, for 4 long years, nobody knew about his deficiency! It wasn’t because he was insecure and wanted to keep it a secret. He just didn’t look at his disability as an issue worthy enough to raise. In his eyes, it’s nothing! He did not look at this disability first and let it stop him from pursuing the dreams that God has given him. With the help of his friends in the ministry, as well as with his determination, he is able to produce awesome videos like the rest.
Just to put you into context with an example, other video crews would usually just work on a video and choose colors for it easily. But for Calvin, if he wants to have a certain color for a video, he would need to go through a longer process of searching up the hexadecimal code of that color (e.g. Gold #ffd700) and pasting it into the editing software, before applying it on the video itself.
Has these slowed him down in producing videos? Maybe a little. But has all these slowed him down any bit in terms of chasing his vision? Not at all. That is why he is our hero of ambidextrous faith.
Why am I so convinced that only God can be responsible for such faith? How am I so sure that Calvin’s story is true? Well, have I ever mentioned before that I also serve in the Videos Ministry? Haha.
He’s my friend.