Faith. What does that word mean? What does it mean to have faith? How do we acquire it, use it, maximize it for our good? You might be surprise how simple it is and why it's been made so difficult to get!
What Is Faith?
“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4
What does it mean to live by faith? First, we must establish an accurate contextual definition of the word faith.
Faith is commonly taught as an action one takes in response to belief in God's Word. So faith becomes this power or tool used to bring things to pass. As a power or tool, one must be trained in its operation.
Is there a manual on how to use faith? There is! But not as a power or tool. The training is a manual of examples of faith and the circumstances in which it is demonstrated. That manual is God's Word!
So, what is faith? It's simple. Faith is trust/belief. That's it! And it's difficult to understand because people complicate it. I'll prove it to you…
Faith In Action
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8
Because Abraham believed and trusted God, he left his home and traveled to a strange country. He traveled with no map, no specific destination. He just trusted God to guide his footsteps to the land He promised.
“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” Hebrews 11:11
Yes, Sarah did, at first, laugh with doubt with the angel said she would have a child in her old age. That was understandable. But after God confirmed His Word, she trusted He would perform it. And He did, in Issac.
Again, Abraham was put to the test. Now that he had Issac, God challenged Abraham to offer Issac as a sacrifice. No doubt Abraham was troubled by the request. Still, because God is faithful, Abraham took his son of promise to the altar.
But Abraham did not doubt he would return home with him. Think about it. How could Issac be the promised heir of future nations, yet become a sacrifice before that time? Abraham could have argued, “God, you promised!” He didn't.
“And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.” Genesis 22:7-8
Is There Such A Thing As “Now Faith”?
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Here is where many people stumble. And it's understandable. Unless you realize how the scriptures were translated, mistakes can be made in interpretation.
“Now Faith” is not a term found or expounded anywhere in scripture. So, we should presume the intent of the author and the thoughts of the translators were not in sync. The verse should begin as thus:
“Now, faith is the substance…
See how the correct punctuation changes the context? The word ‘now' is an introductory word, since it opens or introduces the chapter and concept of faith. Thus, it should be followed by a comma (in this case).
Faith Is Given By God
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3
So what was Paul saying to the congregation at Rome? Every man believes or trusts God differently. In other words, some have greater or stronger trust than others.
Faith grows over time as we gain experience with God in our lives and gain more of an understanding of His Word.
Faith For Needs, Not Wants
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:15
You might think you can argue my last statement with the verse above. Let me help you with that…
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14
Context, context, context. Not just ‘whatsoever', like the “Anything means anything!” group. Whatsoever according to His will! God supplies according to His will. See, we can't say, “Whatever your will is Lord.” and then ask for OUR will to be done.
Need more money? Do what you need to do (within the law, of course), to earn it! You need a new car, house, whatever? Buy it! If you have the ability, go for it. You don't need faith for that. Just be sure you can afford it. I wouldn't say God blessed me with something I wanted and bought when I didn't need it. That would be lying on God because if you lose it later, who's fault was that?
Beyond that, you can always make your desires known to God. He will withhold no good thing from those who walk upright before Him. Note the qualifier!
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Psalms 84:11
Just consider this. Your idea of a “good thing” may not be His…
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
A Little Trust In God Goes A Long Way!
“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20
Start where you are. Begin now to put your trust in God for provision. Not the provision you hear most televangelists and such talk about. God does not run a cash exchange. He will supply our daily needs when we look to Him to do so.
“Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:27-31