Faith… one of the most heard, if not the most heard word in any religion today. Everybody talks about faith, and for a believer you must understand the basics on faith as it pertains to Christianity.
We know that the bible says that, “For without faith it is impossible to please God.” [Hebrews 11:6]. There are really pressing questions on faith that most believers might have been asking for a while, and we will attempt to answer some of those questions by the authority of the scriptures; the word of God.
Some of these questions are:
What is Faith?
This is probably the easiest question to answer on paper, but do we understand it practically? The bible in the book of Hebrews which most people believe was written by Paul the apostle, tries to explain the concept of faith to believers in simple words we should understand. He says:
“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [conviction of their reality – faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”
- Hebrews 11:1 AMP
“Faith is the unwavering feeling of assurance and confirmation of the things that you have hoped and prayed for, and then you also begin to rejoice over them as if they were there already”, this is the definition of faith put in another way. It comprehends as fact, as true and existent even the things that you cannot yet see or touch physically; that is the character of faith.
Jesus teaches us what it means to have faith when he said:
“There I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
- Mark 11:24 NIV
There it is without mincing words Jesus says it. Faith is that confidence that drives you believing that you already have it.
How do we get faith?
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
- Romans 10:17 NIV
This is the source of faith: “the word about Christ.” The faith of a believer is born when the persuasive power of the message gains understanding. It is being boldened by the light of the word.
“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
- Psalms 119:130 KJV
It is not just hearing the word as it were, but really hearing the word means the word is received in our spirit, and light is born; this is how we gain faith.
Is faith in measures?
Whether faith is in levels? Well, the answer to this would be a yes. Because if we remember the encounter of Jesus and his disciples on the sea, when the winds and waves were stirred, Jesus said:
“… You of little faith, why are you so afraid?…”
- Matthew 8:26 NIV
If they had ‘little faith’, it means that they could have ‘more faith’. Many times, Jesus questions the faith level of the people; sometimes he would say, “You of little faith”, and sometimes “Have faith”.
Also we hear Paul say something like:
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
- Romans 12:3 KJV
But how is this measure of faith gotten? Is it something that is totally dependent on God, or we also have a role to play in it? Well, I think a bit of both, because if God gives you a measure and you don’t fan it up, then it will be as useless. Every man has been given a measure of faith for the work that is delivered into their hands. It’s not like a prophetic faith is different from an apostolic faith, I don’t think that’s the context, but is more like you have the power to work in the office given you and you can increase the ability in you to do more in that capacity.
How does faith operate?
For the believer, the book of Hebrews and the eleventh chapter is really a compendium of all that we need to know about faith; its workings and its total character.
In that same chapter, we are made to understand that without faith, we will be utter unfruitful in our walk with God.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
- Hebrews 11:6 KJV
For without faith, there is no fruitful journey for the believer. For us to enjoy the promises of God, we must sustain the faith to believe and walk with him.
This is what the whole chapter is about, teaching us about fathers of faith like Abraham, Noah, Deborah, Jephthah, Barak, Isaac, Jacob, etc., all who have received the promise by faith.
How much do I need?
Well, there is no SI system of measurement for the faith we need in order to overcome the forces that confront us, however, Jesus was wise enough to try to make a physical picture of the measure of faith a man may need. He said:
“… if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
- Matthew 17:20 KJV
The faith we need for exploits more like comes really from our understanding of God’s power and his systems of operation. It starts like the mustard seed (the tiniest of every seed), then it grows into a big tree that birds make their dwelling. This is the character of the kingdom of God and of faith also. [Mark 4:31-32]
We have the Spirit of God that teaches all things and stirs up faith in our hearts. So let us walk circumspectly understanding the power that is at work in us and what he can do. That is faith!