Faith is an interesting concept, for in the most part it is used rather loosely by sincere Christians who do not have a real grasp on its meaning. In many cases the word is treated like a commodity, as if faith can be purchased or lost.
We hear comments such as – ‘If only I had more faith’ or ‘That persons faith is weak’ or ‘That person has the gift of faith; wow’ or ‘If they have more faith they would have been healed.’
When I was in Sunday school one dear teacher explained faith in this manner - When you proceed to sit in a chair you flop right in with no thought of , ‘will it hold my weight’ – that is faith in the chair. Same with God; for in God we trust.
Do we really understand faith? I believe for the most part our understanding of faith is based on a secular understanding. We know the biblical verses, often off by heart in some cases, but that does not follow that we fully comprehend the meaning of faith. If pushed we might even explain, with some smugness that the Greek word is pisteon and pistis.
There is a verse in Hebrews that the Holy Spirit keeps bring to the forefront of my mind that I cannot push away. It reads - “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
The obvious question that this verse raises is – “Is the faith we profess, pleasing to God?” Plus – “Does God reward our faith?” Look at the Context.
Chapter eleven of Hebrews is the faith chapter and the faith of these ancients has one outstanding quality; that is; they did not waver concerning the promises of God. Noah builds an ark with no hope of launching it. Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son knowing that if he did so Gods promise of a nation would cease. Moses led the people out towards the Red sea rather than take the high way. We could give example after example of such stories of faith in the Old testament. Ordinary people who had faith that God would keep his promises, that God would no lie and and go back on his promise.
This faith pleases God. This faith cannot be defined. This faith needs to be experienced. This faith God rewards with his glory.
Another two verses from Hebrews caught my eye -“But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
I do not want to be in the class that shrinks back and walks by sight not faith. The moment that we as believers trust our own intelligence, our own skill set, our own knowledge and wisdom we are not walking by faith. Instead we are trusting in the flesh, which ever way we may sugar coat this ‘flesh trust’ with a prayer or a verse from scripture, it is still not faith that is pleasing to God. To walk by faith is to trust that Gods word is true and he will never leave us nor forsake us, and he will supply all our needs.
The Bible tells us – “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Why do we not believe this promise? God has abundant riches to bestow on his children, but these are with held, for we choose to trust and believe in our own wisdom and knowledge. The Bible also tells us that we live by the faith of the Son of God – God has given us the faith of Jesus the moment we were sealed by the Holy Spirit. This faith is a gift that we are to use and live by. Instead many of us bury this ‘faith talent’ because we believe more in our own skill set and knowledge. Work out your own salvation says God – work out the faith of Jesus that I have given you with fear and trembling so that we may not slip back into our old habits.
Let us have to more talk of not having enough faith, or that our faith is weak. Use the faith that God has born into our hearts and trust him to supply all out needs. For God is not a liar and he will carry out all his promises, every one of them beyond what we imagine or dream of.
When we refuse to walk by faith, we stand exposed and naked before the world exposed to every disease of doubt and unbelief and we make out that the Lord is heartless, cruel, uncaring, and helpless.