As Christians, we hear a lot about faith. But what is faith exactly? Many of us equate it with belief. I have faith when I believe in something or someone. But I have to think that perhaps faith is more than simply believing in something. The Bible tells us that we are called to walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) It isn’t a feeling or an emotion; it’s a way of living.
The book of Hebrews gives us a glimpse into history in order to demonstrate what faith truly means:
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. …By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. – Hebrews 11:1-2, 33-35 (NLT)
The great men and women of God mentioned in Hebrews 11 all have two major things in common. First of all, their faith moved them to do great things for God. All of their stories involve action. Many of them accomplished what most would believe to be impossible.
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. – James 2:21-22 (NLT)
The second thing they all had in common was their hope of a better life after the resurrection. None of them had the chance to serve Christ the way we do now as believers. After all, Christ had not come yet. They trusted in God, however, to have a plan of redemption for His people, and they lived their lives accordingly. They chose to look ahead at the big picture of what God was trying to do through them, rather than to focus on their own personal lives and what He could do for them.
As Christians, we often have to trust in God’s bigger plan. We serve Him even when things don’t make sense. We can easily look back at these great men and women of faith and see how God was using them at the time. These men and women trusted God even without seeing the whole picture. I’m sure that there were many times when they had no idea what God was trying to do in their circumstances. I personally would have been awfully frustrated with God if it had been me sitting there in that lion’s den. We need to trust God in the same way these men and women did. God gave them to us as examples for a reason.
None of them were perfect, but they chose to trust God and to trust that He had everything under control.
Faith requires action. We often hear the phrase “love is a verb.” I believe that faith is a verb as well.
As Christians, we don’t just believe in God…we live for Him.
In addition to living out our faith, we are also called to see the bigger picture. Faith moves us to serve God and obey Him even when things don’t make sense.
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. – James 2:14-17 (NLT)