We hear much about faith these days. People say to us “have faith”. There are”faith-based” organizations and initiatives. There are faith-based movies and other forms of entertainment, and even people named Faith! All of this talk about faith can become confusing, and it is a subject that requires ultimate clarity.
What is faith, and why is it important? The Bible defines faith as “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.” (Hebrews 11:1) Accepting the reality of things we cannot see is key to understanding faith and its’ importance in our lives. We cannot see the wind, but we feel its’ presence. We cannot see our hearts, but we feel and hear them beating. There is evidence that things we cannot see are real. We cannot see God with our physical eyes, but we see His handiwork. The creation is evidence of a Creator, just as a painting is evidence of an artist. The truth is this: we believe in and accept as fact many things we cannot see with our physical eyes. Faith is believing in the reality of things we cannot see.
HEARING THE WORD
We’ve all heard that seeing is believing, that we first see, then believe. Faith states that believing is seeing: that we first believe, then see. Jesus said ” I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, fall into the sea.’ And if you have no doubts in your mind and believe that what you say will happen, God will do it for you. So I tell you to believe that you have received the things you ask for in prayer, and God will give them to you.’ (Mark 11:23-24) First we must use our faith to believe, then we receive what we are believing for.
Having an understanding of the meaning of faith, why then is it important? The Word tells us in Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith no one can please God…” Since pleasing God is the primary pursuit of a Christian life, living faith, knowing faith, and acting by faith are essential for every believer. We CANNOT please God without faith. Since many believe that faith is simply going to church or being a part of a faith-based organization, they may live a lifetime without pleasing God. Others believe that their faith is of their own creation, that they can choose what to believe. This myth is fully debunked in Paul’s letter to the Romans “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The only way to please God is to live by faith: the only way to get the faith that pleases Him is by hearing the Word of God.
TO PLEASE GOD
Don’t be deceived by the world’s understanding of faith or the attempts of the religious to define it. Make it your goal to please God by developing faith through constantly hearing the Word of God. The Word of God alone, the Bible, is the source of faith in the life of a Christian. When the Word becomes the source of faith in our lives that God intends it to be, we will please Him. When we please Him, miracles happen in our lives. Think for a moment about Enoch “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had taken him; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that HE PLEASED GOD.” Pleasing God: What a trip!