What is faith?

FAITH – WHAT IS IT?

We as humans need words to communicate.

To pass on Ideas. To present things for decision making purposes. To help form conclusions. To help solve problems.

Faith is a problem to many folks. Can the use of reason sort out the problem of faith for these folks?

After the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral I was struck by what a reporter said whilst giving her view on the unfortunate event. She seemingly wanted to quickly put us right by confessing she did not believe in God.

Perhaps she did not want to appear hypocritical in bemoaning the great loss, afraid that others would think her expressed regrets were somehow religious, or something to do with faith?

Some might want to say her regret was shallow, as an unbeliever – it therefore having nothing to do with any faith associated with the cathedral? 

She had other reasons for regret at the loss. Although I’m not exactly sure what they were – apart from the loss of part of a cultural monument.

Proverbs 3/Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

But back to faith and words. Jesus calls all of mankind to believe in Him. To not lean on our own understanding – and of course it is the very first thing we do when it comes to the subject of faith – i.e. we immediately try to reason and come to a conclusion on the subject. Doing the very thing God tells us not to do.

He says TRUST (that’s faith in case you didn’t know) – trust in The Lord and lean not on your own understanding.

Does this mean we are to become mindless and therefore blindly accept Christ?

No – but we are to recognise the limitations of our own reasoning powers. We have minds and we are meant to use them. We are not to accept things without question. Far from it.

However how far can we go in our understanding? How far does our own reasoning abilities take us, when it comes to spiritual or supernatural matters?

We need a higher intelligence to help us. To plug the gaps or give us further understanding.

Faith is not to be in ourselves, because of our limitations, regarding spiritual matters.

Neither is it to be a blanking of the mind and it’s reasoning power.

So what is it then? Faith will involve a denial of our own limited reasoning power – and a reaching out to embrace the higher intelligence of God’s word.

We believe that those who penned God’s dictation in the Bible, reached a higher place or plane of intelligence, and transcribed what they were given.

Isaiah 55/

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

So faith is embracing the higher thoughts of God. Another way of putting this is ‘faith is embracing God’s message to mankind’.

Embracing it – is believing it, not just as a good ‘humanist’ doctrine but embracing it for what it truly is – the revelation of God to mankind.

So it is not faith based on blind acceptance, or faith in the unknown, or mental gymnastics in some mind-blanking exercise.

It is hearing a message and accepting it and The Lord God, through His Son Jesus Christ, who brought us the message.

 Faith should inevitably involve spiritual experience that accompanies the acceptance of the listened-to word of God.

There is more to be said about faith. And there is a whole chapter in the epistle of Hebrews, (chapter 11), that speaks of it.

When Peter was transfixed by his heart and mind on Christ – he walked on the water, when suddenly the sight of his natural eyes and his own reasoning took him away from The Living Word, The Word made Flesh – as a result he began to sink. That’s how limited the natural mind is when left to its own devices. That’s why we need to take the higher intelligence of His Word into our innermost beings. (Matthew 14)

We can debate faith from all kinds of angles, but at the end of the day it is simple dependence on The Lord Jesus, personified in how He was dependant on the Father.

This child-like acceptance of Christ is hard to come to, for the reasoning researching – resourceful – intelligent – intellect of the sceptical – but when we ‘give-up’ and submit to The Word of the gospel – we encounter The Living Christ in spirit.

But what of we who already believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, where does our faith go from here?

I was recently preaching at the beginning of a payer meeting. And drew the folks attention to the epistle of James, where it tells us that Abraham’s faith was made perfect through his works (James 2/22).

And of course the chief spiritual work a Christian should be engaged in is Prayer. As we pray – our faith is matured, it grows, it is developed into greater and greater assurance. The prayer life must be maintained if faith is to grow to maturity.

So how is your prayer life? Perhaps in response to these WORDS you might pray?

And perhaps for the first time in a long time? If you come to Jesus in prayer, regardless of how small you think your faith is – it will grow.

Spiritual Blessings are coming your way!

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