'Faith' can sometimes be boiled down to being a classic Christian buzzword, and that’s a shame. There probably isn't a word more jam-packed with juicy meaning than ‘Faith’!
The bible defines faith like this:
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
You may have heard that verse mentioned a whole lot too, but let’s dig in and dissect. We have to remember that the book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians, probably in Rome, who were going through a seriously tough time.
They’d been chucked out of the Jewish community – losing family and friends – and they were probably being hunted down by the Romans. All because they had become followers of Jesus!
The writer was pleading with the Jewish Christians to not give up hope but to consider the concept of ‘faith’.
So what’s the verse getting at?
God is utterly reliable. Why’s that important? Well, it means we can cling to the things He promises because we know He’ll keep them!
For example, Jesus said
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
That’s a promise! God gives His peace to those who love Him – the same peace Jesus had. The Jewish Christians sure needed this peace.
The Bible is peppered with moments where God has proven Himself to be a promise keeper.
Let’s go with the second half
Having true faith means that you’re content with finding hope in things that are unseen. But this is hard to do.
The problem is that we tend to put our faith in things that are far less reliable than God, because they’re visible and look strong. Family and friends can let us down sometimes despite our faith in them!
Everything may be falling apart, but God isn't. That’s what the Jewish Christians in Rome needed to hear as they considered abandoning their faith in Jesus for something visible but unstable.
So if we put these parts together, it looks like true faith in God sees Him as reliable and able to deliver on His promises despite the fact that He is unseen! But wait, there’s more…
We can’t create our own faith in God
That’s not actually a problem. If we were able to create our own faith in God, we’d have a reason to boast in our own abilities, and that leads to pride. Thankfully, God is the giver of faith!
We can only get true faith in God by Him giving us faith in the first place. We must ask Him! We must ask God to open our eyes to how reliable He is and how hope-filled His promises are, so that our faith in Him will grow even more.
Keys, phone, wallet, faith
1 Peter 3:15 says: ‘Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.’
For MAF’s pilots across the world, having a strong faith is super-necessary for sharing Jesus with those we come across!
Stuart King, one of MAF’s founders, had to exercise incredible faith to trust that God was calling him to world mission, even when his plane crashed in South Sudan in 1948.
The Bible tells us to always be prepared to share the hope that we have. But without the faith that makes us hopeful, that’s difficult!
This applies to where you are too! You might be in a rural village or a bustling town, but it makes no difference. A strong faith will always inform your hope.
We must ask God to help us grow in faith so that, through us, God might give the gift of faith to others!