Questions - What is Faith?
I was asked a question a while back that has sent me exploring with God. I was asked if there is a difference between believing in God and believing God. It’s been a curious process. This is some of what I discovered.
To believe in leans towards ideas, concepts, or the potential of something. For example, I believe in democracy. I believe in the goodness of humanity. Or I believe in God. The concepts and ideas are impersonal until an individual or group who represents these concepts comes into my experience. A government representative may or may not reinforce the “believe in” democracy concept. A humanitarian group who takes care of a more needy segment of society may reinforce the goodness of humanity concept. To believe in God is to believe in his existence and His promises. For me to believe in God means I believe in His lovingkindness, in His power, and in His amazing grace.
However, to believe adds depth and personal dimension. For example to say, I believe God when He said,
“For here is the way God loved the world-He gave His only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life.” (John 3:16 TPT)
This particular scripture is full of potential and concepts, right? “So everyone who believes in Him….” I not only believe in this concept or the potential of it, but I believe God. He said it, He did it and I believe Him.
This scripture came to my attention:
“We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has for each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it.” (Eph 2:10 TPT)
I heard the Lord ask, do you believe in the promise or do you believe Me? (Clearly when God starts asking questions, it isn’t because He doesn’t know the answers, right?)
It can be limiting to only believe in promises and not believe the Person who gives these promises to each and every one of us. He isn’t asking us to stop believing in His promises; rather to draw closer to Him because of the promises. His desire is to increase connection to Him (intimacy).
Which brought up the second part of this process: Faith. His question was “where do you place your faith? In an outcome or in Me?” Honestly, the description of faith in Hebrews routinely left me scratching my head. It’s a substance; it’s evidence; it’s foundational. Yes, but what IS it? I found a resource online that gave me some structure to understanding faith. Faith has three components: Being persuaded, surrender, and action/works.
Being persuaded means that one is convinced. As believers, we are convinced that Jesus died for us; that God is lovingkindness personified; that Jesus lives in each of us, etc. We are surrendered to God, not just concepts and promises, but to Him. And from this place we live out our faith (action/works).
Of course, I realize that we have places, seasons, circumstances that challenge us. However, if we remember that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that He is where our faith rests, we can find courage to continue to be convinced, surrendered, and walking in this faith.
An interesting clarifying process to strengthen intimacy and faith. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering who asked the question a while back, it was God. It was like He was sitting across the breakfast table saying, “Hey, let Me ask you something.” And away we went.