On Faith

The simplest and most direct definition of faith is "a firm reliance." But a better way of understanding faith is to think of it as tying two things together so that they become one. To say I have faith in something means my mind is in total agreement with it. To act in faith means that my actions are in complete agreement with what my mind understands to be true. It's like the difference between standing on the side of a narrow bridge thinking the bridge will hold me up, as opposed to actually walking across the bridge and experiencing the bridge holding me up. Once I have stepped onto that bridge I am "bound" to it physically and in complete reliance on something other than my self.

When faith is only a mental agreement it doesn't produce any real, actual experience that sustains our faith. Faith requires action to bring it to full substance. ("Faith without works is dead.") That's also what Hebrews 11 is describing. The examples of faith are those that first came into full agreement with what God said to the point they were willing to act, even if they didn't know how God would accomplish things. That action based on belief made the truth of God's promise a substantive thing, giving evidence that the belief was not misplaced. "Faith makes substance of things that were hoped for and produces the evidence of things not previously seen." (My paraphrase...)

Faith in God is binding my mind, will and actions to His will. This "tying together" of the mind and actions to God's will requires trust, confidence, and courage. It also means that the "ego" as something separate from God must be abandoned. That's why "selfishness" works against faith.

Because faith is tying the self together with God, we shouldn't try to define how things will happen. Maybe we need to move mountains, but usually not. The mountain only moves when God's will plus our willingness to act make it move. It really isin't that "my faith" makes the mountain move. The power to move that mountain comes from God. It's my faith in God's power that makes it actually move. What makes it happen is when I declare out of faith that it is God's will - mountain get moving - and then proceed to act as if the mountain is no longer there.

Faith also takes practice. At first it is difficult to let go of our desire to be in complete control of everything. We have to take baby steps of faith first until we begin to see that God will make good on His word if we keep going and don't stop. The first acts of faith usually produce quick results. Later the results to come around quite so fast, requiring us to exercise greater faith. In other words, faith requires patience. (James 1:3)

The opposite of faith is not so much doubt, and not certainty, but rather "double mindedness". Dividing the mind between our own doubt and God's certainty breaks the connection of faith and fails to produce any results. That's what happened to Peter when he tried to walk on water. He "double-thought" and began to sink.

All of these things together make up faith: belief, trust, courage, tenacity, patience, single-mindedness.


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