Written by Evi Idoghor
The word faith means different things to different people. For some it might be their belief system, “what faith do you practice?” While for others, perhaps it is the ability to trust God in tumultuous times. Today I want to shed some light on the topic of faith from a Christian's perspective.
Faith is crucial in our walk with God because it is one of the things our belief system hinges on. As Christians, we believe that God created the entire universe (both things seen & unseen). We also believe God sacrificed His only Son and raised Him for the redemption of humanity. In order to believe all these great things, we’ve been taught and also learned through the Bible, that we need faith because to the natural mind, all these make no sense.
What is Faith?
Faith according to Hebrews 11:1 is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. Simply put, faith is believing that something will happen even when you don’t see any signs of that very thing happening. God requires us to have faith because He needs us to trust completely in Him. The writer in the book of Hebrews also says that without faith, it is impossible to please God. For us to walk this Christian walk, faith is needed.
An Example of Great Faith
Abraham is one that the Bible refers to as the father of faith. As a wealthy man amongst his peers several centuries ago, God had blessed him tremendously. However, amid all the enormous possessions he garnered for himself, there was an issue—he had no child—none to carry on his legacy. It was a deep desire for him and his wife for many years to become parents.
So one day God (in His typical fashion to make what seem like outrageous promises) revealed to Abraham that he would indeed have a child, and the title—father of many nations will be coined for him. He went ahead telling him that his descendants would be as innumerable as the sand on the seashore.
Isn’t it like God to blow our minds with promises that seem impossible? That is because He wants us to trust in His innate ability to make it happen and not ours. If God were a naija (Nigerian) guy, I would have said He was washing (flattering) Abraham, because the thing He promised him was too good to be true. However, God is not human, and can always back up His word with action.
Who remembers their high school physics? In high school we learned that there is something called kinetic energy. An object gains this energy during its acceleration and maintains it unless there are changes due to speed. It is the same thing when God speaks. When He speaks, His word is set in motion, it possesses great energy/power, and the spoken word doesn't return to Him void, rather it accomplishes the very thing He sent it out to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11).
In fact, the Bible says in Numbers 23:19 that; “God is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent, has He said and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” God is not out here playing games; He means business when He speaks. Just reading this passage of scripture again has reinforced my belief in God—that is to keep trusting Him for the things He has promised that I have not yet seen.
Okay back to Abraham. The promises were so extravagant, and Abraham up until that point had not fathered any child, not even illegitimately.
His wife, Sarah, scuffed at the promise. She was of the opinion that at her old age what pleasure was she going to gain from being intimate with her husband, who also was well advanced in age. However after some time had elapsed and it seemed like the promise was never going to materialize, God caused Sarah to conceive.
Then He blessed them with a child, who they named Isaac, meaning laughter. This reminds me of a passage of scripture found in Psalms 126 that says; “When the Lord turned the captivity of Zion around, we were like those who dreamed! Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with singing.”
When God finally comes through on His promises to us, laughter/joy always ensues. God will never do anything for you and you will be like “is that all?” No! He is always able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we can ever ask or think of. The Bible also says of Abraham that against hope, he believed in hope that he was going to become the father of many nations. It also goes ahead to say that he was not weak in his faith—he did not even consider his own body, or his wife’s and he did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief.
He was however strengthened in faith, giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what God had promised, He was able to perform, and therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness. And if we know how the story goes, Isaac and his wife Rebecca birthed a son named Jacob whose name was later changed to Israel by God and I am sure everyone knows that there is a nation today in 2021 called Israel—a total fulfillment of God's promise to His friend, Abraham.
Abraham was a man of exceptional faith! He trusted fully and entirely in God even when it did not look like things were ever going to pan out. I can only imagine how he dealt with the naysayers—those who usually mock you, unintentionally compelling you to give up on your dreams, just because it is taking years to come to pass. Noah (in Genesis) also experienced them, however, God makes it a point to make do on His promises.
Others who exercised exceptional faith were Daniel and the three Hebrew boys (their story can be found in the book of Daniel). Daniel trusted God to deliver him from the Lion's den when he was thrown in there for his belief in God. Also, the three Hebrew boys were cast into a fiery furnace for their belief in God. Nevertheless, they believed that the God who they served could save them, and even if for some reason He chose not to at that moment, they still chose to trust Him anyway.
The biggest contender of our faith is our ability to see. Because most times what we believe God for hasn’t been made manifest, we trust more in the situation right in front of us. And if we keep focusing on that, we tend to lose faith and in turn not receive anything from God. Just like the woman with the issue of blood believed that if only she could get to Christ and touch His garment, that she will be healed of her ailment, we also have to be resolute in our belief in God, even if it is difficult sometimes.
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing of the word of God” (Romans 10:17)
How can we build our Faith?
Our faith can be built by studying the word of God and also communing with other believers. You need people in your circle who believe in God just as you do and even more than you do. Those people are the ones who will encourage you when the going gets tough to keep your focus on Jesus. You also need to fill yourself up with the word of God. You can’t say you have faith and not read the Bible. You can’t say you have faith and not take time out to listen to the word of God (what kind of faith is that?)
If you don’t get acquainted with God’s word, you will be like the foolish man who built his house on sand and when the winds and rains came, his house was destroyed because it wasn’t built on a firm foundation (see Matthew 7:24-27).
Another way to build your faith is through prayer. So while you read your Bible and surround yourself with other believers together with going to church, you have to have an active prayer life. Jude 1:20 says to build up yourself in your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit. Jesus from time to time exemplified this by always withdrawing Himself to spend time praying.
When you pray, your spirit is built up. Your faith also grows and you feel empowered. Heaven releases strength to you when you commune with God; it’s like a divine exchange takes place. You cast your worries on God and in return He gives you His peace, joy, and strength, to be able to keep standing even in the difficult times.
Faith is a necessity for the believer—we can’t say we are followers of Christ if we don’t have faith. We need it to please God, we need it to stand in the difficult times, and we need it in our everyday lives. Do you need a job? Use faith! A house? Use faith! Are you believing God for healing? Use faith! A spouse? Use faith! Finances? Use faith! Dealing with a difficult boss? You better be faithful. Are you praying for the salvation of a loved one? It will take an enormous amount of faith and patience to see the results, especially when it seems like nothing is happening.
The list is endless; there is no circumstance in this life that you will encounter that God will not require faith from you. So, let us not allow doubt, fear, unbelief, or the enemy to rob us of the full life (a life of faith) we can live this year.
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