What is Faith in God?
So what is faith in God? Let me start by saying, I love the ocean! There is something deeply therapeutic about breathing in the salty air…it’s my happy place!
On our last trip to the beach, I convinced myself that I wanted to swim out and touch one of those orange buoy markers in the water.
So what’s the hold-up!? Jump in and start swimming!!
Sounds easy in theory, but in reality, all I could think about was some creature from the deep pulling me under and enjoying an afternoon snack at my expense (cue the theme song to the movie Jaws.) As the day went on, the more I talked myself out of the maiden voyage to the buoy and back.
I was afraid…of the unknown…of what I couldn’t see.
Going Into The Unknown
As I played out different scenarios in my mind, I came to a reasonable conclusion…”I can’t risk going out blind into the unknown. ‘Hoping’ nothing happens to me wasn’t enough to move me to action…I needed convincing…I needed assurance.”
As the day progressed, I watched brave souls “risk their lives” to swim out to the buoy…and without fail each of them made it back to shore with all their fingers and toes. With each new survivor that emerged from the water unscathed…the evidence began to weigh heavily in favor that a safe swim to the buoy and back was possible…even probable! I noticed something happening to me internally as the evidence became convincing…so was my confidence! My ‘hope so’ was becoming an ‘I know so!’
There was only one thing left to do…to take action…to step out…to take a calculated risk…to get in that water and start swimming.
My buoy story reminds me of the biblical definition of faith, found in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is not blind, it does not tell us to leap into the dark. Faith is the assurance that even though it seems dark, I am convinced that if I plunge into the dark something is going to catch me.
Anyone who has enjoyed a good courthouse drama on movies in general can relate to the word “conviction.” Slick tongued lawyers battling it out in an epic attempt to convict a criminal of his or her crimes. A conviction comes by a set of irrefutable facts that convinces a jury to act accordingly. In the end, a decision is made because of the evidence that has been provided. Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Faith is a know-so, not just a hope-so…it’s a conviction.
What Does Faith in God Mean?
James 2.14-16 (MSG)- Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” And walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup-where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
Faith is not blind, but it is a risk.
Our faith journey will eventually take us to a moment where we will have to take a risk on our conviction. We can’t play it safe and live a life of faith in God. The two are like oil and vinegar, they are incompatible.
Faith is not passive, it’s active. In other words, if you don’t do anything with it, it’s not faith. Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? I like to say it like this, “The faith we have in our heart has to show up in our hands, or it’s not faith.” In other words, faith internally has to show up externally, or it’s not faith.
Faith in God means that we have gathered enough evidence to act on it.
What is faith in God? In short…it’s a call to action.
Hebrews 11.6- It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.
In no way at all do I assume that I am answering all your questions about faith. That’s not my goal (or possible.) What I am hoping for, is that these few thoughts on faith might become embers for your fire. That they might propel you in your faith journey with the Lord.
This is my life’s mission and my great passion, to see people discover the abundant life they were created to live! It’s a life that is pleasing to God…which is impossible to attain without the key component of faith.
I love how the writer of Hebrews ends this incredible thought on faith, by giving us a glimpse into the character of the One we call upon as God. Our God is not some distant, detached, uninterested God…but He takes careful notice of our small attempts to reach out to Him. Let me encourage you, that every little step of faith you take towards God, catches God’s attention! So keep on taking steps, even if they seem insignificant!
Our small attempts to reach out to God are so significant to Him that He promises to respond. Your faith moves God. This is where people get stuck because they buy into the lie, that if it’s not some mind-blowing monumental act of faith, that it somehow doesn’t count. Friends, every single small faith step towards God moves God’s heart and He will respond!