What is faith?

“What if I don’t have enough faith?” With her head down and eyes brimming, she took a deep breath and almost whispered the question. It was loaded with the unspoken weight of other people’s expectations, personal fear, and a real sense that her current faith was insufficient for today’s struggles. The honest answer was, “you probably don’t.” But that wasn’t the point.

Faith is often talked about in terms of a commodity that can be gathered, earned, grown, and stored up for later. As if it were toilet paper during a quarantine. “Well, honey, you just need a little more faith and things will work out!” (read in a sweet midwestern grandma voice) To be sure, faith can be increased. But not in the way one increases time through efficiency or money through wise investments.  Faith grows in proportion to trust. 

Faith or trust?

There is no faith if there is not first trust. See, faith is the reaction to an assurance. You have faith that the money to pay your bills will be available at your next pay period because you have trust in your employer and bank. The employment contract (and the fact you show up every day and do the work assigned to you) is the foundation of trust that you will receive your paycheck.  Furthermore, the simple reality that you have gotten your paycheck on time in the past increases your trust in the next check. The same is true for your bank. Their FDIC logo says that the government backs them as a financial institution so you can trust them and the fact your money has been available in the past creates personal trust between you and them. It is highly unlikely you would have the same faith in a random employer who emailed you about a “great opportunity” and then wanted to deposit your pay in an unknown on-line bank (with no FDIC logo, physical address or contact information). Experience and instruction have taught you those situations are not trustworthy.

Deliberate Confidence

Spiritual faith is the same in that it is directly proportional to the trust you have in God.  Or, more specifically, in the character of God. You cannot trust what you do not know. As Oswald Chambers said, “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” Faith does not require you to fully grasp the why nor does it demand you follow blindly. Moreover, faith is developed as you get to know the trustworthiness of the one you choose to believe in and (in a bit a circular thought), belief strengthens as trust is proven.  

Faith is the payoff of the journey of discovery. It will grow or die based on how much trust you invest along the way. 

7 thoughts on “What is faith?

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