Faith is an integral part of our walk. Unfortunately, it is not something we grasp easily; especially as adults. It’s difficult to place trust in something that violates everything we’re taught about perception. We learned this week that Knowing Faith, however, is not as difficult as we once thought. Once we learn what faith is, from where it comes, and how to use it, we can soon start to exercise it. Then we will see the ways that faith impacts our lives every day.
So what is faith? In Hebrews 11:1 Paul gives us the very basic concept; the initial step of being able to allow faith to be demonstrated in our lives: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” The concept here is simple: humans rely on our five senses to perceive the world around us. But just because we can’t see it, taste it, touch it, smell it or hear it does NOT mean that it doesn’t exist. On the contrary, like love or gravity, the things not seen are usually the things on which we depend most to help us maintain.
And from where does faith come? In Corinthians 12:9 we’re told that faith is a gift from God; one given freely and through which we’re ultimately given our salvation. In Galatians 5:22, however, we’re told faith is a fruit of the spirit; one of the characteristics of God. So what is it? Is faith a gift or a fruit? Both! Every person is given a single measure of faith; no more, no less (Romans 12:3). It is given: that means there is no price we can pay to get it, and there are no strings attached. Faith, however, still has other characteristics. In particular the one that makes it easy for us to liken it to fruit: it can be cultivated, developed, and trained. Like a muscle, it can be made ready to use quickly, efficiently and effectively.
So now that we know our faith, it’s important we start to know its workings. Once saved, by faith, we find ourselves called to “take up our cross and follow [Him]” (Matthew 16:24). So faith, our Pastor tells us, becomes a call to die; not a physical death, but a spiritual one. We must die to our flesh. We must learn to trust our knowledge of faith and allow it to supersede our human desire to follow our five senses. We must learn to leave our human desires and needs aside, holding fast to something we do not always understand –moreover, something we cannot perceive with our five senses. Difficult, I know. But this is the beginning of our cultivation, and the power of exercised faith is the power to overcome.
We see now that faith is being at peace with the things we don’t always understand. It’s the opposite of fear. With faith, fear is overcome. With faith the size of a mustard seed, we can say to a mountain, “be thou removed and be cast into the sea” (Matthew 17:20), and it will happen. The power of cultivated faith is truly miraculous but, as we learn in John 6:63, we’re not able to touch God with our flesh; only with the spirit. We have to reach out to our Father and connect on a spiritual level so we can truly watch our faith grow, and then exercise our every day. It’s through God we can truly watch the faith we’re given multiply, develop, and become mighty.