When you hear the word “faith,” what do you think of? Whether you realize it or not, faith is an essential part of life, not just Christianity. For example, every time you sit down on a chair, you have faith that the chair will hold you. You are trusting that the chair won’t collapse under you.
That’s faith – being sure of what you’re hoping for – being certain of what you don’t see or experience yet. The Bible defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
1. Without Faith, it’s Impossible to Please God
Why is faith necessary? Because without it, we cannot please God.
Hebrews 11:6 states, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Let’s face it – believing in a God we cannot see and believing that He is who He says He is takes faith! And it pleases God.
2. Jesus Notices Our Level of Faith
In the book of Matthew, we see two different people with two different faith levels.
Matthew 15:28: “Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
Matthew 14:31: “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’”
The woman was a Gentile who had faith that Jesus was the only hope for her sick daughter. She wouldn’t take “no” for an answer from this Jewish Rabbi, so Jesus – moved by her faith – granted her request.
The man with little faith was Peter, Jesus’s own disciple! Jesus was walking on the water and invited Peter to come to Him; Peter had the faith to walk to Jesus on the water, but when his eyes focused on the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. We too need to keep our eyes on Jesus instead of our circumstances – this will keep our faith strong during difficulties.
3. Faith Moves God to Act
Why is faith important to God? Because faith – not need, doubt or fear – moves God. Mark 2:5 says, “When Jesus saw [his friends’] faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’” The lame man got up, grabbed his mat, and went home! When Jesus saw the faith of the lame man’s friends, He moved on their behalf and healed their friend.
As Christians, we often petition God, asking Him to meet our needs, to heal our bodies or relationships, or to give us wisdom. But as James 1:5-7 says, unless we ask in faith without doubting, we won’t receive what we’re asking for.
4. Faith Strengthens Us During Trials
Because we live in a sinful, fallen world, we will face difficulties. But our faith is what helps us remain strong during hard times. We have an enemy, and it’s our faith that acts as a shield to protect us from his schemes and plots: “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16).
We should not be surprised when our faith is tested; James 2:3 says that “the testing of your faith produces patience.” As we stand firm in faith through trials, God gets glory: “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).
5. Faith Fuels What We Do
We demonstrate our faith in God by what we do and how we live. James 2:26 states, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
Picture this: Faith and Works are each an oar in your row boat of life. They work together to move you forward. Genuine faith is validated by actions that follow; likewise, actions done without faith are useless. We must always act in faith!
James explains it like this: “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:17-18).
6. Our Faith Can Encourage Others
Unshakeable faith is noticeable, and it can encourage others to be firm in their faith too. Colossians 1:3-4 says, “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints.” It’s easier to stay committed to faith in God when you see others doing the same. Choose to stand strong in your faith and inspire others to do the same!
Timothy was a young pastor who was being mentored by the Apostle Paul. Paul states in 2 Timothy 1:5 “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” When our faith is strong and true, it can be passed on to others including our family and friends making a difference in their lives as well.
7. Faith is the Foundation of Salvation
When Jesus walked the earth, the Jewish people were sure they had to keep all the rules of the law in order to be acceptable to God. But when Jesus came, He redefined righteousness: “… a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law …” (Galatians 2:16).
We are made right with God through faith in Jesus, God’s Son; we are not made right before God by what we do or don’t do. This was a radical shift for the Israelites. They were so used to earning their salvation. But as Ephesians 2:8-9 declares, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Finally, we must guard our faith. 1 Timothy 6:11-13 reminds us “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called ….”
We must be prepared to fight to maintain our faith during the storms of life which will try to derail us. In fact, as we preserve our faith in God, it will sustain us through the toughest trials, for the glory of God.
~ Jennell Houts