I have been thinking about faith lately. It is a difficult word to explain. It often feels vague, unsubstantial, and unhelpful. When someone is asked a question about Christianity they do not know the answer to the common reply is that we need to have faith. Faith has become the answer to use when someone does not really want to answer a question. You would be surprised at how few people know how to define faith. Do you know how to define faith?
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). There it is plain as day. The Bible gives a blunt definition of faith. In this definition there is no mention of blind leaping, stumbling around in the dark, or believing in something despite all other evidence. Faith is something that is concrete. It is tangible. It is knowable. Most importantly, faith is something that is real.
We get faith backwards. We often think that faith helps us get to a point where we can trust God completely. We think it helps us reach a strong foundation in our relationship with God. It is the exact opposite. Hebrews is saying that our trust in God is what allows us to have faith. Why is this difference so important?
Faith was never met to be seen as a blind leap. It was never meant to be seen as a copout. It was always intended to be evidence for our total devotion and unshakable belief in God and what He is doing. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. It is not simply hopeful. It is not saying that you wish God would come through. We have hope because we know God will come through. Hope does not feed faith. Faith feeds hope.
Faith is the conviction of things not seen. I may not see God’s promises come to fruition, but I know that He will keep them. Look at Abraham. Abraham was promised many descendants that would be a special nation serving God. We forget that Abraham was not simply promised a son. Abraham was promised a multitude of descendants. How many of those descendants did Abraham get to see in his lifetime?
Abraham was also promised that this nation would inherit a great land that they would call home. Abraham never owned that land. He died before his descendants would have their own country, but he still had faith that God would pull through. Abraham did not doubt these promises. God promised that Isaac would be the one this nation would come from. When God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac he was never concerned. He knew beyond all reasoning that God would take care of everything.
Sometimes we feel God’s pull on our lives to move in a direction we were not originally planning on. Maybe we have our whole lives mapped out, but God throws a wrench in the plan. Change can be a scary thing whether it be moving out of your house or starting a new family. Maybe you grew up thinking you would do one thing with your life and God turns the tables on you. Do you have the faith to move forward without knowing the destination? Do you have the confidence to say that you may not know what God is doing, but you know that you want to go along for the ride? God is going to use people to move this world. It is going to be the ones who already have faith that is brought about by assurance and confidence in who God is and what He is doing. Do you have that kind of faith?