Let me start with a disclaimer that this is not an attempt to define faith in a blog. People write books on it. People make a one sentence definition of it. I’m not trying to define it as much as put down lessons from it that I have learned as it is exercised and even more so the past year. I intend it to be encouraging. I think that, if any of you are like me, you are all too aware of your deficiencies of faith. Or think that that you have to really try hard to apply and display what you believe to be the proper Christian face of faith. Also, if you’re like me, you tend to feel defeated or at best discouraged. We end up like this because we are applying misconceptions and end up disheartened or confused. Here are some lessons I have learned. I’m sure many of you can add to the list and feel free to in the comments.
- Faith is not our feelings. We can “feel” things will turn out good or turn out bad, but that has nothing to do with with nor any indication of the amount of faith we have.
- Faith is not derived by looking at what is around us. The evidence of what we can actually see, be it favorable or unfavorable, does not dictate our faith.
- We are not ourselves the source of faith. If we look within ourselves to see if we have the faith necessary, we won’t find it. Faith is given in the measure that God sees fit. It is from God and God alone and it is for the asking.
- Faith doesn’t mean that we won’t hurt or grieve. To have faith doesn’t mean that we are indifferent to our desires, trials, and troubles. It doesn’t mean we have to put on a happy face in order to have faith or to show people that we do. The honest confession of hurts and grieving before the Lord is one of the most sure signs of true faith that I have found. But there comes a point, like David, where we get up, wash our faces, and move on to the tasks at hand.
- Related to the above, not liking what is going on does not mean that you don’t have faith in God. I am not at all embarrassed to say that I do not like what I see going on all around me. Personally, spiritually, nationally, there are several areas where I do not like what I see or what has happened. Faith is where I take it to God and talk to Him about it and asking that He helps me keep the proper perspective as well as the wisdom and discernment to act on the things that He doesn’t like either.
- Not having a prayer answered is not a tell tale sign lack of faith. No, faith stands on, even when a prayer isn’t answered, that God is still who He says He is and that He is good. And that it works all things out for good to those who love Him. When we hang our hats on this, we know we have strong faith.
- You don’t have to strain or conjure up enough faith to be prepared for what is on up ahead. God gives us the faith that we need to step into what comes…as we need it, when we need it and not before.
- Faith isn’t a one and done event. We constantly need our faith to be strengthened and conditioned.
- Faith takes us past the things our flesh wants to depend on for hope and pleasure. Instead, it takes us to the throne of Jesus where we realize there’s nothing else but Him worthy of delighting in.
- Faith doesn’t put a time frame on God’s promises.
- Faith doesn’t go it alone. There are times where we need others to have faith for us when we can’t seem to hold out anymore. I have found one of my greatest comforts is when a friend is willing to continue to pray, ask, and believe God on my behalf when I’m weary.
- The faith only enough to not “curse God and die” as Job’s wife suggested, but to make your case before God is enough faith to move mountains.
- Faith enough to offer up a song of praise even when it hurts is enough faith to be pleasing to God. Maybe even providing a sweater aroma to our Lord.
- Faith’s primary role isn’t for miracles and blessings. It is to see, to know, and to proclaim that Jesus is Lord and that He paid or penalty now seated at the right hand of God eagerly waiting to unite with His Bride. We stand on that type of faith, we can remain standing in whatever is to come.
Hope this is encouraging and gives you assurance that you don’t have to beat on yourself when you are afraid you don’t have the faith that it takes to please God. First we learn to recognize what faith looks like in a real life, real time manner and second, learn that we are to go to Him as the author and finisher of our faith.