What is faith?

(Heb 11:1 NIV)  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

We hope for God promises to be fulfilled in our life even though we cannot see how this can happen in our present situation. That is faith.

What does it mean to have faith?

It does not mean that if we have faith in God, we have to lose all faith in natural methods or in ourselves.

(Phil 4:13 NIV)  *I* can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Faith is believing that *I* can do it – but only with God’s help.

God does use natural methods to help us. When we are sick, He uses the doctor to administer help to us. It does not mean that if we put our faith in God, we have to lose all faith in the doctor.

(Psa 20:7 NIV)  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

This verse does not mean that we do not trust in natural methods. It tells us not to put our trust in them only because the real help comes from God. God, however, can still use chariots and horses to deliver His people. The Bible is full of examples of God intervening in battle for Israel. Yet the people had to fight. They don’t always just stand there to watch!

An aspect of the fruit of the Spirit

(Gal 5:22 KJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…

(2 Pet 1:5-8 NIV) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; {6} and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; {7} and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. {8} For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith is also one of the gifts of the Spirit

(1 Cor 12:8-9 NIV)  To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, {9} to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,

Here the faith referred to is not an aspect of the fruit of the Spirit that is available to everyone who allows himself to be transformed by the Spirit.

This faith spoken of is a special gift of the Spirit, a supernatural faith, which is available to whoever the Spirit wants to apportion to.

Apparently such special gifts of faith refer to the ability to do great acts for God, what Jesus called moving mountains (Matt. 17:20; 1 Cor. 13:2).

Faith is not just mental agreement , it is the way we live our life

(2 Cor 5:7 NIV)  We live by faith, not by sight.

Here is an illustration of practicing faith.

It was a bright, clear morning. A large crowd had gathered at Niagara Falls to see the famous Blondin walk over it on a tightrope. The sun glistened on the cascading torrent as it rushed over the precipice. From below came the ceaseless thunder of the plunging cataract.

The world’s greatest tightrope walker briefly tested the taut strand that reached across to the opposite bank. Then he took his long pole and, balancing himself expertly, started across. The crowd followed every movement tensely. Step by step he moved forward. The people on the shore reacted nervously to every sharp motion of the balancing pole. But their fears and forebodings were unnecessary. The great Blondin not only went across safely, but returned as well—to the great relief and admiration of the spectators.

Turning to the audience, he then made a sensational offer. He would cross the falls again, this time with someone on his back. Who was willing to go? No one rushed forward to accept the offer. Picking out a man at random, Blondin asked, “Do you believe that I am able to carry you across?”

“Yes, sir,” came the unhesitating reply.

“Well, then, let’s go.” Blondin urged.

“Not on your life!”—and the man withdrew into the crowd.

And so it went. One after another expressed great confidence in the tightrope walker, but no one would agree to let Blondin take him across. Finally, a young fellow moved toward the front of the crowd. Blondin repeated his question:

“Do you believe I can carry you across safely?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Are you willing to let me?”

“As a matter of fact, I am.” The young man climbed onto the expert’s back. Blondin stepped onto the rope, paused momentarily, then moved across the falls without difficulty.

There were many in that crowd who believed that Blondin could do it. But there was only one who was willing to trust him to do it.

(Source: Baker Illustration)

Why we should have faith
God will only answer our prayers when we have faith

(2 Chr 20:20 NIV)  Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.”

(Mark 11:22-23 NIV)  “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. {23} “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

The Bible says that the one that does not have faith cannot expect to receive anything from God.

(James 1:5-7 NIV)  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. {6} But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. {7} That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

Faith shields us from the attacks of the devil

(Eph 6:16 NIV)  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

The devil tries to harm us by turning our life upside down. But if we have faith that God is still in control and that He will deliver us, this faith will shield us from the harm that the devil intended.

It is not possible to please God without faith

Never mind not receiving anything from God, not having faith is being displeasing to God. Even an earthly parent would be unhappy if his child cannot trust him for simple things. Yet whatever we ask of God is simple for Him. If we cannot trust Him for them, it would be insulting for Him.

(Heb 11:6 NIV)  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

How to have faith
Exercise our will to believe and have faith in God

We are commanded to have faith. That means that it is something within our control. We can choose whether or not we want to trust God.

(Mark 1:15 NIV)  “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

(Mark 11:22-23 NIV)  “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. {23} “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

Ask God for more faith

(Mark 9:23-24 NIV)  “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” {24} Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Faith is something that is enabled by God.

(1 Cor 12:3 NIV)  Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

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