Saturday, July 31, 2010

Faith: A simple definition

For so many years I've asked people what faith is.  I've gotten so many different answers that no sooner than I thought I knew what it meant, someone else gave me a different answer!  And even reading the Bible left me somewhat confused.   Have you experienced that, too?  But that same Bible pointed me to the definition and it was there all the time

So let me tell you right away the definition of faith:  "Knowing that God has the power to do whatever You're asking him to do.  I'll explain more later and then you'll see my point.

Now back to my story:  It wasn't until I lost my race for Congress that I began the process of understanding faith.  I thought if God sends/calls you to do a thing, then you will be succcessful.  And so, when I lost my congressional race, I was in shock.  But what tripped me up is that I viewed success from the world's point of view.  What do I mean?  Well, the world looks at the outcome of some action that you took and then proclaims whether your plan was successful.  But God's idea of success is simply this: " Did you do what I told you to do?"  Put another way, "Were you obedient?"

See, I was having faith in the outcome of the election--that God would cause me to win.  My faith should have been in the One who has the power to make it happen.  Faith doesn't look at the outcome, the end.  Faith looks to the POWER of God.  Faith is KNOWING that God HAS the power (or is able)  to do whatever you ask of Him. 

Here's proof:  Mark 9:23 the man doubts that Jesus has the POWER to heal his son; Mark 5:30 when the woman touches the hem of his garment, she is healed and Jesus says "...POWER has gone out of Me"; Numbers 11:23 When Moses doubts God can supply the meat, God asks Moses, "Is there any limit to my POWER?"; Luke 7:8 The Roman officer tells Jesus that since Jesus has authority (POWER), then Jesus just needs to speak and his servant will be healed.  Jesus then exclaims that He has not experienced this kind of faith anywhere!  And I could go on and on but search it for yourself.

Now, you understand that it takes faith to believe that what the Bible says happened did actually happen.  And that what the Bible says will happen, will infact happen.  It takes faith to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  And when you read Hebrews 11 you realize that all those people KNEW that God had the POWER to accomplish what He said he would do.

Your faith is not a blind faith, though.  It is a proven faith.  You KNOW that God has the power to do whatever it is.   And we are called to prove to unbelievers that Jesus is the Son of God--did you know that.  It's in the Bible.  Additionally, Habakkuk 2:4 tells us that the proud people trust (have faith) in themselves--but that the righteous people are supposed to live by faith (KNOWING that God has POWER) to do whatever.

Here's the deal, if you don't KNOW that God has the power to do whatever it is, you will not want to obey Him, obey him halfway, or take your time to obey Him.  Fear will enter your heart becuase you are doubting that God is greater than your employer, than the drug dealer down the street, than your client who God has told you to witness to.

So, are you sick?  Then your faith should say something like this:  "Lord, I know that you have the power to........heal me.  The first part of the sentence is your faith and the second part is your hope.  Faith and hope are not the same thing.  Are you in need of God's help in some other way?  It's the same sentence, only change the second part.  Remember, your faith is not in the outcome but in KNOWING that God has the power to .....

And I want to quickly say that not everyone who asks for healing, etc will be healed/be successful the way that the world sees it on this side of life.  Timothy wasn't healed of his stomach trouble (as a blog I recently read pointed out).  And consider how many were martyred for believeing in Jesus Hebrews 11:37.

Finally, bretheren and sisteren, faith ultimately comes down to trust.  Now I've gone and done it:  I've thrown in trust right as I'm about to finish.  Listen, faith and trust are not the same thing.  The same as faith and hope are not the same either.  While faith is KNOWING that God has the power to....Trust is RELYING on God's strength, integrity, power, etc.  So going back to my healing example, you would say, "Lord, I know that you have the power to heal me.  And I trust you.  Do whatever You want."  So trust makes yoy rely on God's will.  Trust causes you to rest, to simply fall back into God's arms to be held up by His power.  So, faith, hope, and trust.  It's all there.

But without faith (knowing that God has the power to) it is impossible to please God  (Hebrews 11:6)

Question:  What is faith to you?