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What is faith? – Part 1

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”   ~Hebrews 11:1

This is the Biblical definition of faith, but how can we ever really understand the depth of this word? Only by literally walking it out, day by day, can we learn to fully trust and believe God.

But how can we ever learn to trust an invisible God? Well. . . we may not be able to see God, but we certainly can see the results of Him. Through every aspect of creation we see the results of the reality of His existence . . . and if we give Him half a chance He will show Himself to us in a multitude of various ways.

“For by faith we understand that the worlds were formed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”   ~Hebrews 11:3

By faith in Him—believing that He is who He says He is—we also see Him through the end results of our prayers. By acknowledging Him and trusting that everything in His word is truth we then allow Him to show Himself in every aspect of our lives.

God will not force Himself on anyone, nor will He force any of His endless gifts on us either. God wants to bless us, He wants to answer all of our prayers, but we must first ask, and then most importantly, believe that He hears us and desires to help us.

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”   ~1 John 5:14-15

We all have freewill. God will not ever force us to do anything! We must choose to willfully surrender . . . or not. It’s our choice. However, surrendering our will to someone we don't know very well is just about impossible. It’s not until we accept that we need to spend time with Jesus—get to know Him personally through His word—that we will ever be able to fully trust Him.

Look at it this way, do we just automatically trust someone the very first time we meet? Don't we have to spend lots of time with them to learn if they are truly trustworthy? We need to test them in a variety of ways to know if they will follow through in everything they say to us. Only through time and trial can we know if they are completely trustworthy, right?

No one would expect you to just jump in with both feet and believe without first testing the validity of someone’s word, right? Well it’s the same with God. He encourages us to learn of the seemingly endless promises of His written word, and then, by faith, walk them out until we learn that we can always take God at His word!

Here is a very short list of just a few of God’s promises:

(Just click on each one to see the Bible verse)

The list goes on and on and on . . . God’s list is of promises is seemingly endless! And it seems the only stipulation to these promises is that we ask in faith! “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…” ~James 1:6. We just need to muster up this one little drop of faith and pray.

So then, what exactly does it mean to take God at His word? It simply means to learn of His promises and then walk them out, one by one. We must pray for everything, for whatever it is that we need. We must pray, in faith, believing that God will come through and then just wait and see what happens. It may not happen the way we think it will or in our timing, and that’s where the faith part comes in. God creates patience in us through the act of waiting.

“Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”   ~James 1:3-4

But I hate waiting . . .

The waiting part is, by far, the hardest part of this equation for me. I absolutely hate waiting! I’m a very impatient person and having to wait is utter torture to me. Sometimes I just feel like shouting to God and saying, “Where are you? . . . why is this taking so long? . . . what are you waiting for?!”

What are you waiting for?

I get extremely anxious when I’m made to wait. I get anxious because . . . I want to do something! I want to be in control, I want to be proactive and get moving with fixing my problem! I want to do something to change my situation . . . but sometimes all I can do is wait on the Lord, surrender it up to Him, believe He’s got it and know He will give it back to me all fixed.

Waiting truly does make me crazy, but wait I must. I can’t force God’s hand or change His perfect timing. I simply have to accept that there is a good reason for the delay and know that He always has my very best interest at heart.

He is in complete control, even though it might not seem that way sometimes. He knows everything, He has the playbook of my entire life, and He has everything handled. He has a plan, a really great plan, for all of us. And this leads me to my very favorite Bible verse . . .

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   ~Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Now that we’ve begun to understand what faith is, let’s dig a little deeper to learn more. What is faith? —Part 2

Get more insights about the power of faith on my next post, or sign up below for an email reminder.

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You might say that I was a rather late spiritual bloomer, tripping my way into the Lord's arms not all that long ago. Nevertheless, I've been on the fast track ever since through a decade of Bible study courses and daily devotion. Changing careers a few years back and becoming a published author of Christian motivational books, leading to spiritual children's books and now this blog.

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