The word “faith” is a familiar, frequent topic in churches, but what precisely is faith? It’s not exactly something you can reach out and touch. We often hear “Have faith in God,” but how do you do that?
In a world where people often want to see something first before they believe it, God asks His followers to first believe something before seeing it. That’s called faith.
First Believe, Then See
Many scriptures in the Bible talk about faith. In Hebrews it says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
So faith is believing that something will happen, even though it hasn’t happened yet. To some, this may seem silly or even crazy, but this is the Bible’s meaning of faith.
Second Corinthians says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” We don’t believe based on what we see with our eyes but with our faith – what we hope to see.
Romans explains, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Faith doesn’t just happen; it comes by hearing the truth about Jesus and the life and hope that He brings for those who trust in Him.
This is why it’s so important to go to church and listen to the sermon, to listen to God-honoring music, and to listen to godly friends. What we listen to really does matter; it will affect our faith in God positively or negatively.
Similarly, we must be careful not to listen to things that will destroy our faith. There are many voices and a lot of negativity around us; our job is to trust God and believe that what His word says is true.
Every time you sit down in a chair you have faith that the chair will hold you (otherwise, you probably wouldn’t sit down in that chair). First you must believe the chair will support you, then you experience (see) the chair supporting you after you sit down.
Likewise, we can put our faith in God, in men, or in Satan (evil). When we expect (“hope”) bad things to happen, we are not putting our faith in God but in evil. We must be careful who or what we put our trust in.
Faith and hope are closely connected. We cannot have faith for something if we aren’t hoping for it. What are you hoping for or expecting?
This is how the Kingdom of God works: First we must believe (because we have heard), then we will see.
Faith Pleases God
The book of Hebrews states, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
Without faith, we cannot please God. When we come to Him we cannot be full of doubt and unbelief. As we sincerely seek Him, we need to believe that He exists and that He will reward us for our faith in Him.
Even though we cannot see God with our physical eyes, we can please Him by believing that He will keep His promises. No matter what is going on around us or in us, having faith means believing that God will see us through it.
Having faith means trusting that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He’s said He will do.
Faith Compels Us to Do Good Things
Some people get wrapped up in doing things for God, thinking that they can please God by what they do. Others believe they must “earn” God’s acceptance or salvation by doing good works.
However, Hebrews makes it clear that God is pleased by our faith, not our works. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing good things, but that’s not how we please God.
In fact, here are some verses from the book of James on this topic:
“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. … Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? … Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”
The Bible makes it obvious that salvation is a gift from God (John 3:16) because of Jesus’s death and resurrection. A gift cannot be earned.
James points out that our faith in God should produce good deeds. If we say we have faith in God, but we don’t do good things, then the genuineness of our faith is questionable.
Faith Moves Mountains
In the book of Matthew Jesus was hungry, so he went to a nearby fig tree. But there he found only leaves and no figs. So Jesus cursed the tree, and it immediately withered up and died. His disciples were astonished.
“Then Jesus told them, ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, “May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.’”
This is quite a promise! We can pray for anything, and if we have faith, we will receive it.
But let’s be sure we put this in perspective. Jesus doesn’t mean that if we use our faith, we can get a new sports car so we can keep up with the Jones’s. It’s not that He’s against sports cars, but it’s about the reason for the car.
And just because we have faith that God will give us something or do something for us doesn’t mean that we will definitely get what we want. Sometimes, He has something better. He’s sovereign, and we must trust that He knows what is best for us.
Jesus wanted the disciples to know that as they advanced the Kingdom of God, any obstacle in their path could be removed if they just had faith in God.
The same is true for us today: faith in God will conquer any difficulty standing in the way of the Kingdom of God advancing in our lives (such as healing, finances, peace, etc.). This is our expectation and our hope despite what we see, and that is called having mountain-moving faith.
~ Written by Jennell Houts