Enoch is one of two men in the Bible who never actually died. Both he and Elijah were taken up into heaven by God and, as such, represent those who will be alive at Christ’s return and “caught up to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) Enoch is also one of two men in the Bible of whom it is said, he “walked with God” (the other was Noah, see Genesis 6:9). In Hebrews 11, we learn that Enoch’s faith led to his being taken by God, and that before his translation “he was commended as having pleased God.” (v5)
Then, in verse 6, we discover that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Faith is presented in Scripture as trusting God, depending on him, and obeying him. Every blessing flowing from the atonement of Jesus Christ comes via the avenue of faith, and the Lord is pleased when we walk by faith, daily trusting and obeying him. How can we know that our faith pleases God? What are some of the characteristics of that kind of faith?
1. Steadfast in Adversity.
“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10) How we respond to adversity is a good reflection of the strength of our faith. Consider the great men in the Bible whose faith was unshaken by life’s difficulties. I think of Job, Moses, Joseph, and Daniel, men who stand out as examples of great faith in the face of great adversity. Trusting God in the midst of great trials means we don’t allow our circumstances to shape our perception of God. Ask yourself, “Do I begin to doubt the Lord’s wisdom or question his love when things don’t go my way?” A faith that pleases God is steadfast in any and all adversity.
2. Humble in Prosperity.
I have to wonder if the prosperity we enjoy in America has been detrimental to our faith. In my own ministry I have observed people whose faith helped them hang tenaciously to the Lord during the lean times yet could not handle prosperity. Wealth has a tendency to make us self-sufficient, and we begin to make our own rules. Lifestyle begins to shape our faith instead of faith shaping our lifestyle.
In Genesis we read how Joseph’s faith kept him strong enough to resist temptation, even when he held a position of privilege and power in Potiphar’s house. As Christians, despite any financial gain we might enjoy, we remain completely dependent on God. He is the one who gives us the ability to get wealth. A faith that pleases God never trusts in riches and understands that we cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
3. Perseveres through Time.
Another observation about a faith that pleases God is the ability to wait on the Lord. Often, I have had to remind myself that God’s timing is perfect. I may be in a hurry, but the Lord never is. A faith that pleases God is a patient faith. Abraham believed God’s promise but had to wait many years before Isaac finally came. His faith was strong even though his body was reproductively dead. (Romans 4:19-20) Indeed, the Lord may require you to wait a long time and even then, bring the promise to fulfillment in ways you never expected.
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Considering these three simple characteristics of faith, could you say God is pleased with you? Do you remain confident in God despite adversity? Is your faith immune to the temptation to trust in material wealth? Do you joyfully wait upon God, trusting his timing? Let us strive to walk with the Lord like Enoch, whose faith brought pleasure to the heart of God.