Hebrews 11:1 (NIRV)
Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see.
The old phrase ‘Seeing is believing’ just doesn’t cut it when we are talking about faith. As soon as you have proof of something it no longer is an element of faith. Doubt is the enemy of faith but having doubt doesn’t mean you cannot grow your faith. Jesus snatches the doubt ridden Peter from falling into the sea…
Mathew 14:31 (NIRV)
Right away Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “Your faith is so small!” he said. “Why did you doubt me?”
We can grow our faith by hearing (accepting) the word of the Lord….
Mathew 14:31 (NIRV)
So faith comes from hearing the message. And the message that is heard is the word of Christ.
It isn’t enough to simply have faith. You hear the term ‘Exercise your faith’. That is to put our faith into our actions; make it part of lives as we interact with the world around us.
James 2:26 (NIRV)
The body without the spirit is dead. In the same way, faith without good works is dead.
It is by faith that our salvation is assured.
Romans 3:27-28 (NIRV)
So who can brag? No one! Are people saved by obeying the law? Not at all! They are saved because of their faith. We firmly believe that people are made right with God because of their faith. They are not saved by obeying the law.
So where does faith step in? Where do we exercise our faith? At what point do we cross from things we ‘know’ to those things where our trust in God and his providence nurtures the faith to believe beyond the visible?
I’d suggest that this begins with that very first step of faith. When we hear the story of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for all our sins past present and future. That is the beginning. The first place faith steps in. Though small as a mustard seed Jesus tells us we can move mountains with it! That beginning is nurtured every time we give over to God our burdens, for in doing so we embrace our reliance in God and his providence. Can we see that? Normally no we can’t but we often see the after effects. The results. How often do we find ourselves standing on the other side of trouble bewildered by the fact that we made it? That was the product of providence. We can take that and ‘know’ (not faith) that God has intervened on our behalf but more importantly grow our ‘Faith’ that God providence will always be there for us.
We exercise our faith when prayerfully ask for guidance, request the healing power of God, and put our trust in the fact (not based on knowledge) that God’s hand is in control and by surrender of our will to his own, will work to our benefit. (Romans 8:28) Everytime we claim a promise made by God to his people we exercise our faith more. Every time we place our fate in the hands of God. With that faith comes joy, peace, freedom, and confidence.
So, surrender the outcomes to God. Step out on faith. Exercise it. Believe in the things yet to be. It is when we give it all to God and step out knowing that God is going to keep us security in his hand that faith steps in.