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Research conducted by Columbia University found that "People with religious
faith are markedly less likely to abuse alcohol and illegal drugs than
Why would faith make such a difference in substance abuse? The study
cited the positive impact of religious teaching or the sense of belonging
to a group or that faith fills a need that makes substance abuse attractive.
Another study shows that Church goers live longer. Certainly some of
the longevity is explained by healthy habits promoted by the church, like
not smoking and drinking, but even after adjusting for those things, researchers
are still saying that Church attendance promotes longer life. Doug Oman,
the leading author of the study said, "We wonder if there's something else
going on-like inner peace."
Personally, I'm not qualified to analyze the research or have an opinion
why those who attend church abuse drugs less and live longer, but I am
confident that following the teachings of the Bible will improve a person's
life on earth, but more importantly, it will point a person to a path that
will lead to eternal life.
But I'm left asking, in what other tangible ways does faith work in
Well for one thing, the scripture teaches that FAITH BRINGS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Philip. 3:9 (NASB) Paul wrote, " and may be found in Him, not having
a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through
faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of
faith," Faith is the way God transfers His righteousness to us. Jesus said,
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall
be satisfied." Matthew 5:6 NASB
Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Have you ever really been
thirsty? What kinds of things would real thirst drive you to do?
In the midst of a drought in Kenya, thirsty monkeys attacked Ali Adam
Hussein and his fellow herdsman who stopped to water their herd. The wild
monkeys barraged them with rocks, resulting in Hussein's death. When hunger
and thirst reaches a critical stage, it becomes a primary motivator. It
causes the thirsty to do things they wouldn't ordinarily do.
What would happen if our spiritual thirst for righteousness was as strong
as our natural thirst for water? (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
Society needs righteousness. We need righteousness, and God will give
it to us if we hunger and thirst for it. He with give it to us through
What else does faith give us? FAITH BRINGS HOPE AND SECURITY. The writer
of Hebrews wrote, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) One of Susan's brothers
recently told me about his journey back to faith. He was raised in a Christian
home, but stopped having faith many years ago. After their father died,
his spiritual interest was piqued again. He said to me, "I don't feel like
I have to prove that God exists to doubters for me to believe. If I want
to love Jesus that's my business, and I do love Jesus." Faith is the proof,
it is the substance of our hope. My brother-in-law is right, he doesn't
have to prove his faith in anybody's test tube. If he wants to love Jesus,
it is his business.
How sad it would be to live life without hope. A recent study indicates
that those who are not "hopeful about the future" are more likely to die
than those who have hope for the future. Over a four-year span, from 1992
to 1996, researches asked 795 people aged 64 to 79 whether they were 'hopeful
about the future.''
Around 9% responded, "no." Five years after the survey, the researches
found that 11% of the hopeful died, contrasted with 29% of those who were
not "hopeful about the future" died.
When life jack-hammers our souls into pulp, it is easy to lose perspective
and drift into despair. Like the urge to scratch a mosquito bite, we are
often compelled to do irreparable damage to ourselves and others when we
are hurting. But faith allows us to find hope in the rubble of our lives.
A severely wounded survivor of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon
is telling how God's grace helped him recover. Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell
says his faith helped him overcome massive burns that left him in intensive
care for a month.
As he recovered in the hospital Birdwell said, "By the grace of God,
I'm still here. [I] couldn't have gotten to where I am without Christ being
in my life. And Mel being my wife."
The couple wrote a favorite Bible verse on an erasable board in Birdwell's
room. I Peter 5:10 that says: "After you have suffered for a little while,
the God of all grace who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ
will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."
Although Lt. Col. Birdwell still has a long way to go in his recovery,
he draws strength from faith. .He knows he will make it with help of his
Hebrews 6:18-19 NASB says, "God did this so that, by two unchangeable
things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take
hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.  We have
this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner
sanctuary behind the curtain,"
Hope is the anchor for Lt. Col Birdwell's soul and it is for our soul
Yes, faith brings righteousness and hope, but it does more than that.
IT PLEASES GOD AND GOD USES IT TO SAVE OUR SOUL.
Hebrews 11:6 NASB says, "And without faith it is impossible to please
Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a
rewarder of those who seek Him." It is not what you do and say that pleases
God; you please God when you live your life by faith.
Ultimately, the greatest benefit of faith is it is what God uses to
save your soul. Acts 16:31 (NASB) says, "And they said, 'Believe in the
Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.'" Salvation
comes through faith. It matters what you believe. The gospel is the object
of our faith.
Saving faith is faith in the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mark 1:15 NASB says, "and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom
of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'"
The gospel is the good news that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a
sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose victoriously from
the grave on the third day. If you believe the gospel and ask God to save
your soul, He will.
The gospel isn't a human invention. It is God's plan. 1 Cor. 2:5 (NASB)
says, "that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the
power of God." It is God's power that will save you, not human words or
religion. Today, you can know Christ as your Savior and Lord and be forgiven
of your sins.
Yes, I believe going to church and living a Christian life has great
benefits. I'm not surprised that those who do live longer, happier lives.
Faith works. But the greatest benefit of faith, is that God will use it
to save your soul.