There are many supernatural,
heavenly resources available to those who have partaken of the abundant
grace, love, and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is the key that
releases those heavenly resources into our situations.
In Mark 11:22, Jesus
instructs His disciples to “… Have faith in God.” The
Amplified version adds the word “constantly.” That is an
important statement if Jesus really means that His disciples should
constantly be in a state of having faith in God.
Is it hope, or is it faith?
The Collins English Dictionary defines “faith” as “strong or unshakeable
belief in something, especially without proof or evidence. (In
Christianity it is) trust in God and in His actions and
God’s Word says in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.”
It is so easy for us to express our hope for
something we want or need, either for ourselves or someone else. We say
it with great conviction and sincerity. Hope, however, is for something
that “will” happen. It is almost always future tense. If we
stay in the hope realm, we may never realize what we are
“hoping” for. Faith “real-izes” our hope. Faith
completes our hope and makes it real. Faith believes it has already
happened and translates our hope into substance that God can work with.
Faith is for NOW!
There are probably very few Christians who
haven’t heard that statement or memorized Hebrews 11:1. But
perhaps there are many who, like me, have asked, “How? How do I
change my hope to faith? How do I know I’m moving in faith and
not mental assent? If faith is substance, should there be tangible
evidence I can lay hold of.”
These are questions that sent me on a quest to
learn more about faith. The Bible says if we seek, we will find when we
seek with all our hearts.
In Matthew 17:20 (AMP), Jesus spoke to His disciples when they
questioned Him about their inability to drive out a demon from a young
epileptic, “Because of the littleness of your faith [that is,
your lack of firmly
relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you
have faith that is living like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to
this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and
nothing will be impossible to you.”
Many of us struggle at times with wanting
desperately to believe but wondering if our faith is strong enough to
meet the challenges. When we are believing in faith for something, we
know our faith must be foundationally based on God. But what does it
really mean to “have faith in God” and to have it
constantly? You may think I’m pretty dense, but I needed that
charge, "Have faith in God," to be broken down in order to
fully understand what Jesus was saying.
The problem some people encounter, especially the
young or immature Christian, is that their concept of God may be
tainted by life experiences. If one has grown up with a father figure
who was abusive, indifferent, or even absent, it’s very difficult
to have faith in a loving, caring Heavenly Father. It is much easier
for the person who has suffered such childhood pain and disappointments
to grow up having “faith” for the negative. How can he (or
she) put his faith in someone he doesn’t know or trust?
I believe that’s why it is important to
examine the dynamic of having faith in God because there is often the
temptation to stubbornly have faith in one’s own strength and
ability, or even to have faith in our faith, as if to say, “If I
exercise faith hard enough, God will surely approve of me and
answer.” I can picture my little grandson sitting with his eyes
and his fists tightly clenched, saying, “I will believe! I will
believe! I will believe!” It is a childish picture, but we must
always examine ourselves to see if this subtle, self-righteous pride is
working in us. Any self-righteousness is bordering on idolatry, if it
hasn’t already crossed the line. We must die to
What, then, does it mean to “have faith in
God”? Are we to blindly, passively trust that God will work
things out on our behalf? He is the Almighty God, the Sovereign of the universe. We may
know intellectually that He is trustworthy, and most assuredly, there
will probably be times when we must blindly trust Him. But that kind of
blind “faith” is passive, like an infant resting in his
mother’s arms. Faith is a very active word. Perhaps that’s
why it is called exercising faith.
Think of a soldier on a battlefield. Does he
blindly have faith that he will prevail over his enemy in the middle of
battle? Does he blindly charge a hill toward the enemy and expect God
to preserve him? As Jesus told the devil in Matthew 4:7, “It is written, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord
thy God.’ ”
No, the good soldier is trained to follow orders
and planned strategy. His training has taught him how to protect
himself while obeying his commander’s orders. Through his
training, he can instantly lay his hand on his weapon, his bayonet, his
grenade, his ammunition, or any other thing he is carrying. He can
react with lightning speed. He has an objective; he knows what to look
for, when and how to move, the range, the trajectory, and the rules of
engagement. He has a job to do, and he is committed. He knows his life
and the lives of others are on the line.
I had an instructor in Bible college who would
always pray on exam day, “Lord, help them to the level of their
preparedness.” Because I always came prepared, I had faith that
God would help me and bring to my remembrance what I had learned. My
exam papers were always returned marked “A.” Second Timothy 2:15 became real to me, especially the part about not
As I sought to understand what it means to have
faith in God, I learned that there are three basic elements involved.
God’s character and attributes
First, faith in God involves knowing God
personally—His character, His attributes, His nature, His heart,
His will. These are absolute, and they are absolutely trustworthy.
It is refreshing to remember that there are
absolutes in our world to which we can cleave. Amid all of its
political correctness, our society, driven by the agenda of the god of
this world, has tried to whitewash many absolutes into an anemic
relativity. “Your truth is your truth, and my truth is my
Well, there is one absolute truth that we can
stake our lives on: God IS! He is God the Father, God the Son, and God
the Holy Spirit. His name YHWH, translated “Jehovah” or
“Lord,” comes from the Hebrew verb which means “to
be” (God is) and emphasizes God’s absolute being.
He is the Source of all being, all reality, and
all existence. Everything else derives its being from Him. He is
utterly transcendent, beyond all His creation. He is without beginning
and without end because He always is. He is all-powerful, all-knowing,
all-present, all-true, all-loving, all-faithful, all-merciful, and
all-righteous. God is wisdom, glory, faithfulness, goodness, beauty,
He is Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider; Jehovah-Rapha,
our Healer; Jehovah-Shalom, our Peace. He is the Lamb of God, our
Redeemer, our Savior. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our
Abba Father. He is Love. He is Truth. God is perfectly holy and
perfectly just. He is Jehovah-M'kaddesh, the Lord who makes us holy (Lev. 20:8 NIV).
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) offers us so much hope and comfort: “‘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.’” This scripture says to us that God is good, He
loves us, and we can trust Him. He doesn’t change.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us that He is pleased only when we have
faith in Him and that He is a Rewarder when we diligently seek Him:
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone
who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those
who earnestly seek him” (NIV).
As we get to know God intimately and learn about
His character—that He is faithful, true, and loving—our
love and trust grow. As the child who so freely propels himself into
his daddy’s arms, we learn that it is quite safe and comforting
to rest, in faith, in Abba’s loving arms, constantly.