Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see . . . 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.” Hebrews 11:1,6
Faith is a difficult thing to express and define, isn’t it? Are there degrees of faith? Can you have a little? Or is it something you have to believe in with all your heart?
We speak of having faith in others and then they let us down. I speak of having faith in God, and then at times, it is as if I don’t have the deep faith I thought I had – at least not with 100% certainty.
If you were asked to express the meaning of your faith in God, what would your response be? I looked in several dictionary sources to see how Webster’s and others might define faith, and all of them seemed so inadequate and devoid of emotion. None of them seemed to describe in a heartfelt way one of the most foundational truths we as Christians have.
The common theme among all of them was: “a belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.” This definition of faith seems to imply that our minds can accept and believe in something that is totally unfounded, and just made by a conscious decision. For some things, that might be true. But, if you have ever tried to convince individuals to have faith, or more faith, in God, you have probably seen how difficult it is to get them to trust and believe. Their minds are filled with questions as they seek proof and logic. And if they don’t feel the need or have the emotions of the heart, having faith just seems senseless and unreliable to them.
Although I believe God has shown and certainly proven His authority and veracity with all of creation and with His presence in our lives and in our world, He has no need or desire to prove Himself. He asks us to accept him purely on faith. Faith is not dependent on a list of doctrines, or on how many times God has answered our prayers. Nor is it even based on our determination to believe in Him.
Our faith in God truly begins in the heart. When we can begin to believe in God – when we can come to the place where we can truly know that He lives in our hearts – when we can feel with all certainty that His presence is with us, when we see His faithfulness in difficult times, and when we truly understand how much He loves us, we can begin to trust in Him. Then the mind can begin to accept or become aware of His truths.
Our faith grows because of our own personal experiences with God, and we can and should help others to trust Him more with our own testimonies about His love and grace. We can never base our faith just on what God has done in our lives without basing it on who He is. We must see Him as our loving Creator and Sustainer of life.
Faith instills hope and helps us to understand the truths that give meaning and purpose to life. As much as we want to believe that if He truly loves us, He would answer our prayers in the way we want them answered, we also have to trust His promise that somehow, someway, He will work all things for our good. As difficult as that is, when we can finally wrap our minds around the incomprehensible idea that He loves us, wants the best for us, and will always be with us, then we can trust Him with all our hearts.
This beautiful definition of faith found in His Word sums it up much better than any dictionary ever could: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Don’t we all long to know that someone truly cares for us and is watching out for us? Wouldn’t it be so reassuring to know that we can depend on that “someone” totally, 100% of the time, with all assurance and certainty, and with no doubt whatsoever, even when we can’t see evidence of it? What freedom to be able to rest in God, to know and trust completely and undeniably in a God who loves us and has our best interests at heart!
We have that, right before us. But to receive that gift of His grace, we must believe IN God and trust IN His promises. To do so is a journey, a process, a “walk of faith”, and as we continue to travel it, His presence and truths will become even more real and precious to us, and our faith will grow if we “earnestly seek Him”.
Dear God, thank you for your promises and truths found in your Word. Help us to increase our trust in You, and to remember all the times you have been faithful to us with your presence, your strength, your comfort, and your love. What greater gift could there possibly be in this life than to know that you are with us and desire what is best for us. We are so grateful for your grace and the promise of eternal life with you. Amen