Faith Is…

Do you know what faith is?

Have you ever wondered what faith looks like? Yeah, you probably can recite the definition of it. The first verse in Hebrews 11 even gives us this definition of faith; “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” But what does that look like other than just a definition?

The other day I was having another rough day. But in the midst of the pain I was feeling I kept thinking about faith. And I kept thinking about what faith looks like in the midst of hard seasons. It’s one thing to understand the textbook definition, but it’s a completely different thing to live it out. And I needed to know, in the moment I was in, what it looked like for me to live out my faith. This is what I came up with about what faith is…

Faith is taking a step forward, not knowing where you are going. It’s when you don’t know where the path is going but you know it’s the path you need to be one so you take a step forward. It’s a step forward into an unknown future while following a known God.

Faith is moving forward, even when it hurts and when all that is inside you wants to turn the other way. It’s choosing to move and not stay still because you know that God’s calling you somewhere new. It’s moving forward with a hope fully trusting in God.

Faith is taking it one day at a time, and trusting with all your heart that God holds the future and His plans for you are good. It’s is such a beautiful and hard thing to do. It’s believing that in the end there will be God’s blessing even though you don’t feel it in the moment.

Faith is hard. It’s not easy. To truly live out faith amidst all the trials and hardships of life takes so much strength and pure trust in God. But I find comfort in this; Faith is simple. When you really think about you’ll see that it really is pretty simple. It is not about a certain set of complicated rules to follow and turns to take. It’s simply about trusting God. And it’s when we are in the midst of trials that our faith truly is tested and has the potential to shine.

So today, I am simply reminding myself that faith for me is looks like taking just one more step in the right direction and choosing to follow God. When I think about it this way I feel better. I feel like I can keep following God and not get overwhelmed. Because I’m choosing to not focus so far ahead but instead to focus on the moment I’m in and what following God looks like for today.

This is what faith is! It’s simple and you can do it too. It’s less about the definition and more about the simple act of trusting God. So whatever your facing, just keep following God’s call on your life one day at a time and you’ll begin to see what faith is.

Shining Faith

True faith shines the brightest when we reach our lowest low.

I’m realizing something. The more I study the Bible and read about all the different people in the Bible, I see a pattern. All God’s people who were known for their great faith were not perfect people. They didn’t have perfect lives. They didn’t instantly have the faith that can move mountains. But they did have one thing; a strong resolve to follow God and obey God’s voice in every circumstance.

At my church the pastor has been preaching through the book of Hebrews and he currently is in chapter 11. The great chapter about faith. This chapter in Hebrews speaks of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David… to name a few. All these men went through many long seasons of waiting and suffering. All of these men also made some very bad choices that lead to some terrible sins. How is it then that these men are all listed in Hebrews 11 as great men of faith?

I think that we all wish somehow that we could attain such great depths of faith without doing all the hard work of trusting God through every circumstance. That would be everyone’s dream goal, right. To know God deeply without having any of the hard trials and suffering in our life. It’s a great idea but it isn’t really realistic. Because I’m beginning to see that the reason all these men are remembered for their faith is because of all the trials God took them through. They walked with God through the fires of life and never stopped choosing God even when things were hard. They came out with shining faith and even though they sometimes made mistakes, they always turned back to God.

Here’s the thing about faith. Suffering and trials make faith grow. When God’s people cling to God through the hard days and rough waters of life, they become stronger. God grows their character and makes their love and resolve for obeying God even stronger than it was before. Suffering and trials cause God’s people to draw nearer and dearer to God. Here are just a few verses from the New Testament to shed some more light on the purpose of suffering and trials;

"Count it all joy my brother when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness, and let steadfastness have it's full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4
"In this you rejoice, if now for a little while, if necessary, you have been tested by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:6-7

Shining faith is something that is made, not given. Granted, there may be a few cases where God gives people supernatural faith through the work of His Spirit. But more often than not, having great faith is a process. If we want to be remembered for having great faith then we should be prepared for trials and suffering. And there will be times when we make mistakes and fail, just like all the men in the Bible did. Oh what a wonderful thing it is that God promises to only remember us for ways we serve him!

So let us be encouraged that God doesn’t remember us for our mistakes. All the great people of faith in the Bible were sinful people and they sinned. They were broken people. But God remembers them by their faith, not their mistakes. God will remember us for our faith too!

To be broken is only the beginning of being used by God for great things. Trials, suffering, and seasons of waiting in our life are the building blocks of great faith. When trials come, rejoice. When suffering comes, draw near to God. Whatever path God takes you down, stay focused on God. This is how your faith is grown. If you simply allow God to lead you through the trials of life, before you know it your faith will be shining for all to see, just like the great men of faith in Hebrews 11. So let us strive each day for this shining faith that God gives to his dearest of children.