Bro. Mike Miller
It seems that the most people think of faith as just believing in the existence of something that you can't perceive with your physical senses. This is totally out of line with the faith described to us in the Bible. Let's look at some things concerning faith in the light of God's Word.
Faith is not feelings. It is never presented or referred to as such in the Word of God. Surely feelings are a product of faith, but faith is not feelings or emotions and is not produced by them.
Faith is not believing (or hoping, which is really all it amounts to) that God is going do something in particular for you, such as healing a disease, or delivering you from financial stress. Faith is just trusting God no matter the outcome. Faith is knowing that God knows all about it, and that He will do what is best for you and the Kingdom of God's sake whether you understand it or not. Job had real faith in God. The Hebrew boys had real faith in God. Neither of these based their faith on whether God delivered them or not. Faith is trusting in the character of God and his love for YOU. If faith is conditioned on God delivering you from whatever you ask Him to, then when He doesn't your faith is annihilated.
"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: " (Job 13:15)
The Hebrew boys said:
"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king." But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Dan 3:17-18)
Faith is trusting God without conditioning it on what He does for you. When we have such faith as this God is then free to do great things for us and grant us things we desire because we truly desire them in order to honor God.
The object of our faith does not have to be something unseen. We exercise faith every day in people and earthly things. Most people trust their doctor more than they trust God. We get in our car and believe it will get us where we are going. We flip the light switch and fully expect light to fill the room. There is no place in time or eternity where faith will cease to be a fact and cease to be exercised. If you have the correct perception of faith then you understand that if Christ were standing before us, and we could see Him with our physical eyes, we would still have to exercise faith in Him.
Faith is trusting - not a magic formula or some kind of mind game to get what you want or to manipulate God or other people.
"Faith without works is dead." (James 2:20)
Real faith produces works in your life. There is no such thing as faith that isn't active and getting something done. It isn't about what your faith will do FOR you, or how it will benefit YOU. Real faith produces works that have as their end the glory of God. (Hebrews 11)
Finally, " faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." Faith is not a gift from God, given to certain ones that He choses, but it is the direct result of hearing the Word of God. Without the Word of God there is no such thing as effectual, saving faith in God.
All types of faith that have their root in something besides the Word of God are vain and worthless, and only an exercise of the emotions and the reasoning of man.
Any kind of faith that is focused on your own needs, or your own desires, is not the kind of faith we are shown in the Bible. Real faith focuses on God and his glory and the furtherance of his kingdom. With this as an anchor of our faith we can endure all the fiery trials that all the devils in the universe can heap upon us.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Prov 3:5)
- Mike Miller (1/13/2005)