Defining Faith | Hebrews 11:1
Faith is an essential part of our Christianity. Without it, we wouldn’t truly be able to call ourselves Christians. You see, we do not automatically become Christians by being born into a Christian family. And we do not become Christians by attending church every Sunday. Our Christianity is the result of us believing in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Our Christian walk begins when we have faith in Him, and our Christian faith is sustained by our faith in Him too. As it says in Hebrews 10:38, “And my righteous ones will live by faith.”
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. So the basic definition of faith is believing in something that we cannot necessarily see. As Christians we have faith in the one, true God. Even though we cannot actually see Him, we sense His presence all around us and we know that when we draw near to Him, He is there.
The unfortunate thing is that for a lot of us although we have an ‘idea’ or ‘concept’ of faith, we don’t necessarily have true faith. We know how to define it but we don’t know how to apply it. And that’s because we only have a basic definition of what faith is. Faith is more than just believing.
When we dig deeper, we see that the true definition of trust contains two aspects: intellectual assent and trust. I guess that you could say that there is a formula for faith –
intellectual assent + trust = faith
Intellectual assent is the belief part of faith. It is simply believing something to be true. For example as Christians, we believe in a certain set of facts. We believe that God is who He says He is. We believe that He is the God of heaven & earth, our sustainer, our provider, our comforter and so on.
Trust then, is actually trusting or relying on that fact to be true. So as Christians, we aren’t just called to believe that God is who He says He is, we are also called to trust in Him. We are called to believe that He is who He says He is and trust that He will do what He says He will do. For example, we must believe that God is our provider, and then trust in Him to provide for us. This trust that we have truly completes and defines our Christian faith. It allows us to have unshakeable and unwavering trust just as God desires. Yet this is the part that many of us lack.
Many of us believe in God but we simply fail to trust Him. We proclaim that God will provide us with ‘our daily bread’ but we don’t actually trust Him to do so. We proclaim that He is our comforter, but we don’t trust in Him to comfort us. And this is where we fall short in our Christian walk. We are called to ‘walk by faith’ (2 Corinthians 5:7), and we do everything but that.
What we have to understand is that by failing to have true faith in God, we fail to truly walk this Christian walk with Him. As it says in Hebrews 11:6 – “But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him”. So we walk to a certain point, but our lack of trust becomes a stumbling block that prevents us from going any further. Like Peter, God is calling us get out of the boat, and walk on water but our lack of trust in Him prevents us from doing so. A lack of trust in our faith will not only prevent us from doing what God has called us to do, it will also prevent us from being who He has called us to be.
What we have to understand is that our lack of trust in God is generally due to our lack of relationship with Him. We don’t really trust Him because we don’t really know Him. The reality is, how can we trust Him in someone that we don’t really know? Think about it this way, who are you more likely to trust; a stranger who you have just met or someone that you’ve known for 5, 10, 15 years?
As you build your relationship with God, you will be more likely to trust Him thus having the confidence that truly pleases Him.
Take time to journal your thoughts;
- Is your faith lacking true trust in God?
- If God called you to get out of the boat, would you be willing to do so or would your lack of trust hold you back?
- If your trust is lacking, how do you think you could grow it?