What is faith? Webster defines it as ‘allegiance to duty or a person; firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete trust, something that is believed especially with strong conviction.’ What do you have faith in? We can have faith in ourselves, in our innate abilities, in family loyalty, in the education system, in the country’s ideals, in those in leadership roles, or in a ‘Higher Power.’ There are things we have faith in that we take for granted. We have faith in gravity to keep our feet on the ground; we believe the sun will come up in the morning, we know wind is a powerful force though we cannot see it.
Why do we need faith? The faith pendulum swings from what we take for granted to what we need to survive. Unless a person knows what and why they believe, they can be swayed to follow the latest trend. It’s not a big deal if we are talking about fashion sense, but it is critical to know what you believe to have a solid sense of self. Everyone needs a sense of purpose and meaning for life. Without faith in reliable truths, we can drift through life without direction, without achieving our God-given potential, and end up being persuaded to go places and do things we never intended. Also, it is key we believe in reliable truths, not ones that will eventually deceive and fail us.
How can we grow faith? I believe to have a sense of self a person needs to be nurtured spiritually. My spiritual strength comes from the Lord. He provides the true foundation upon which I base the essentials of my character, my morals, my ethics, and he governs how I treat others. My faith grows continually through circumstances where he proves over and over I can trust him. While, for example, I can trust the education system to impart knowledge, I do not necessarily have faith it will produce wisdom. I can trust my wages pay on my bills, although I do not have faith money brings happiness. With God, however, I can trust that the end result of spiritual faith in him will bring growth in all areas of my life. When we lose faith in others, in ourselves, in things around us, that’s when our faith in God can grow. He sustains my hope while I struggle in the valley of disappointments, and he celebrates my victories when I am on the mountaintop of success. When life is not going my way, I know where to look for continual encouragement and direction; when life is going well, I know who deserves my thanks and trust.
So again, what is faith? I like the Hebrews 11:1 definition: ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ Substance implies materiality, something of weighty importance. Evidence attests reality, something actually exists. Spiritual faith is of utmost importance. It’s unfortunate that sometimes I reach rock bottom before I observe his outstretched hand patiently waiting, waiting for me to find a little faith, even faith as small as mustard seed, to take hold of his promises. Once I chose to believe, spiritual faith wells up from deep within my soul, it spreads a warm glow of hope throughout my being, and re-establishes the tone of complete trust in the Lord. Faith makes all the difference in my life, the difference to believe there is unseen evidence that he is at work for my good regardless of my circumstances. By faith, I have learned to find blessing in brokenness, joy after a night of mourning, peace while the storms of life rage. I live by faith in God because I can sense his presence with every fiber of my being. May your soul find such faith to bring more meaning into your life.