Are you struggling to understand faith?
To understand faith I always have to put it in terms of a relationship. When we speak of a Biblical faith, we are speaking in terms of having faith… trusting… based upon our relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ.
With that in mind…based on my understanding of Scripture… Here are 10 considerations of understanding Biblical faith:
1. Hope in the Unseen
“A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’
“Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!'”
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” – John 20:26-29
Faith is defined for us as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1-2).
2. Trust in the Lord
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the LORD and shun evil. – Proverbs 3:5-7
Faith believes even when it makes no sense to believe, not because of the proof before you, but because of the trust you place in the object of your faith.
3. Not Your Will, but God’s
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:9-15
Faith is based on the will of that person in whom you place your faith, not my will. You can have faith that the person you love most will never hurt you, for example, but whether they do or not is up to their will, not yours.
4. The Person of God
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’” – John 14:6-7
Biblical faith is in a person, the person of God. (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit… they are One.) Faith is not in me or my abilities, but on God and His abilities.
5. The Power of God
“He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’” – Matthew 17:20
When Jesus used the illustration of moving mountains He was giving an example of the power of God and how we should place our whole faith in Him. He was not talking about the power of my ability to have faith, but rather the power of the One in whom we place our faith. If God’s will is to move a mountain, He will surely move it. You can even ask Him to by faith. (Remember, Jesus also said, “apart from me you can do nothing.”)
6. The Ability of God
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” – Matthew 19:26
When we talk about faith in God then, we are talking about His will, not our will. That’s how Jesus taught us to pray…. “Our Father, who is in Heaven… thy will be done….” Faith is based on God’s agenda, not my agenda. It’s not your ability to move mountains. It is God’s ability. It’s not your will to move mountains; it’s God’s will.
7. The Promise of God
“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God” – Romans 4:19-20
Faith is based on the promises of God, not our hopes or desires. When you struggle with faith, you don’t doubt your ability; you doubt God’s ability. Sometimes we get upset that God hasn’t done something we think He should do, but God never promised to do it. It may have never have been His will.
8. Rejoicing in God
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” – Philippians 4:4
When you pray by faith then, you are praying that you trust God to do His will in your life, based not on your wishes or desires, but on what He has promised to do. Some things we can always have faith that God will do, because he has promised to do them, such as “love you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), “work all things for good” (Romans 8:28), and “never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). We can’t always know that God will heal every sickness, for example, because He’s not promised that He will. In fact, He promised we would have trials, but that throughout it all we could rejoice in our sufferings.
9. The Holiness of God
“Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.” – Psalm 22:3
God is trustworthy… worthy of our faith. I love how The Message Version puts 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!” Do what? His will. Faith in the person of God is based then on your trust that He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do.
10. The Intimacy of God
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
When your faith lines up with God’s will, you can absolutely, positively, unquestionably claim by faith that God’s will be done. One of the reasons it is so important to know God personally is so that we will know His will, so we can know how to pray in God’s will (Romans 12:1-2).
What would you add in understanding Biblical faith?