The word “faith” is one of the most misunderstood, misused and abused words in our language. In modern thought, the terms “faith, knowledge, truth, proof and evidence” have become mutually exclusive. “My truth may not be your truth,” or so we are told. “We cannot know truth,” we are told. Due to these prevalent, but wrong ideas (John 8:32), then we can’t know for sure that God exists, that Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins, that the Bible is the word of God, or even if we are sinners at all.
So “faith” (according to some) is something someone wants to believe, even though there may not be proof or evidence for that belief. Faith becomes an emotion (much like love). One idea is that evidence can carry one just so far, then faith takes over. Faith then becomes a “leap in the dark,” and this leads to the idea that no one can ever come to the light of truth, so we spend our time “leaping around in the dark.” Many go to college and are taught this, but when it comes to applying these principles in other areas of life such as science, we (supposedly) can know the truth about some things. (As I type this on my computer, consider the fact that computers do exist, that they are the result of laws of science and logic that do exist, and that we today have and enjoy (?) what they can do to help us in this world. Is this just a mirage? Do computers work by faith? Do we even exist? Says who? Can we see that this is where such thinking takes us?
What does the Bible say?
John 8:32 – And you shall know the truth, and truth can make you free.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 – Test all things; hold fast what is good.
1 Peter 3:15 — But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. (How can we give an answer if we do not know the truth?)
1 John 3:1-3 — That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life – the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us – that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 5:13 — These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you make KNOW you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
From the above Bible passages, we see that God has NEVER called upon man to believe anything or draw any conclusion without sufficient evidence. (I know some may argue that is circular reasoning, i.e., that you have to believe God exists before you can believe that he said it. This is for another article dealing with evidence for the existence of God).
Let us look at some Biblical examples where God gave reasons why we should have faith.
Moses was the “deliverer” of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses struggled with the idea that he would be deliverer, as his efforts at this were thwarted when he first tried (Exodus 2, Acts 7). In Exodus 4 Moses tries to excuse himself from service, and God gave him miraculous signs to prove to Israel that he was the deliverer (always remember that God delivered Israel – not Moses). As we look at Moses’ excuse, we see that Moses said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice, suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’ “(Exodus 4:1). When Moses and Aaron went to the children of Israel, he spoke the words of the Lord and did the signs in their midst. “So the people believed . . . “(Exodus 4:29-31)
Gideon, in Judges 6-7, was convinced that he was the man to deliver Israel from the Midianites, by the miracle of fire coming upon the rock after he had prepared the sacrifice. Then in Judges 6:36-40 the fleece of wool – at first wet with dew though the ground was dry, then the fleece dry when the ground was wet helped to convince Gideon that he was the man to deliver Israel. The dream by an enemy soldier of the whole camp of the Midianites being routed in Judges 7:9-15 and “overheard” by Gideon proved that he was the man!
In 1 Samuel 3:19-20 we read of Samuel taking the place of Eli, and how was Israel to know? “the Lord let none of his words fall to the ground.” God let none of his words that he prophesied fail.
Elijah the prophet, in 1 Samuel 17-18, foretold that the heavens would be closed for three- and one-half years, and in the “battle” with the prophets of Baal in 1 Samuel he proved that God was the one who should be worshipped. As with all of the above, it was God who orchestrated these things to prove that he does get involved in the affairs of man, and to cause belief.
Despite all of these things, God’s people, the Israelites, had a fundamental problem with unbelief. Despite the miracles in Egypt, the wilderness wanderings in which God fed and clothed them, the wonders at Mt. Sinai, the taking of Canaan, God’s care for them during the reign of the kings . . . God proved time and again that he would do what he said, that his prophets would teach things he wanted taught, and that he would punish and deliver according to their actions. The evidence was mounting, yet they refused to believe and trust God. Do we do any better?
Jesus came to this earth, claiming to be the Son of God – the Messiah. Any man could claim that he was Messiah, and Jesus said, “For many will come in my name, saying ‘I am the Christ’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:5). John the Baptizer questioned if Jesus was Messiah in Matthew 11, and Jesus gave word to John’s disciples to tell John that “the blind see and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5; see also John 3:2; John 20:20-31; Acts 2:22).
The apostles claim to apostleship was based on miraculous gifts, which they were able to pass on to others (Galatians 3:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12; Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:1-4). It was all about the message of Jesus being Messiah, and saving the world through his death.
Beloved, it is all about faith – faith built upon facts, upon proven testimony time and again. It is not an emotion, or a feeling – it is BELIEF that should act upon what it knows to be true. True because of the evidence presented!
How is your faith? Have you acted on it and continued to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18)?
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD
Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11).
It is a part of the “Lord’s Prayer.” Most of us can quote the entire prayer, and hopefully, we allow it to inform or guide us in the ways we need to pray. This prayer emphasizes the following:
- 1.We can talk to God as our Father (relationship).
- 2.We honor him as God (hallowed be your name).
- 3.We ask that his will be done in all things and be done as on earth as in heaven (your kingdom come, your will be done).
- 4.We ask for daily bread.
- 5.We ask for forgiveness, but it is tied with to our willingness to forgive those who have trespassed against us. This means we trust God to forgive us as we forgive others.
- 6.We ask that we not be led into temptation – how many of us pray this on a daily basis? Do you think that it could help our spiritual life if we prayed this more often?
- 7.We ask that we be delivered from the evil one. Tied closely with the previous, do we consider how Satan is working moment by moment of each day to tempt us and lead our hearts away from the Father? Do we realize that we are at war, and that we cannot let down our defenses for a minute, lest we be wounded or even die spiritually?
- 8.If you have noticed the above, it is important that we ask. Why do we ask? Because God is the Father, because he is in control; it is because of our faith in God and what he is capable of doing.
- 9.The closing of the prayer reminds us that God owns the kingdom (it is not ours to do with as we wish). He has all power. He deserves all glory. As Christians, we must seek his glory above all else – not our own.
Faith causes us to pray. Faith causes us to obey his commands. Faith causes us to trust even when we are going through the biggest struggles in our lives. Faith causes us to keep our focus on God and on his word. Faith – are you growing in faith?