By: Sandy Mittelsteadt, Valley Ag Voice
A faith that demonstrates the very presence of God is a transforming faith. It is moving, alive, and active in God’s people. In Second Timothy, the author writes a history of the faith in Timothy’s family, beginning with his grandmother and then passed on to his mother and then to himself. This is how many of us were first brought into the family of God; we had faithful parents who knew of their own God-given righteousness and then passed this gift on to their children. But again, it’s all God’s doing! In Luke 17, Jesus’ disciples boldly ask their teacher to “increase our faith.” Jesus explains that even a small amount of faith can do great wonders. What does it mean to have this sort of faith? I am talking about a faith that can serve God’s purposes here to truly be God’s work and yet it’s done with our hand.
Before we proceed further, let’s define “faith.” Everyone has some kind of faith; everyone trusts something or someone. It is impossible to live without trusting in something, even if is only what we see with our own two eyes. The object of our Christian faith is what makes all the difference, since Christianity is a faith–based religion founded on God and his Son, Jesus, and that is where we place our faith. Most people think that faith is “belief without proof,” but I reject this definition and you should too. Faith is NOT belief despite the evidence, but rather it is an all-embracing trust in someone or something. This is the very heart of Christianity. To know God is to trust Him and believe Him, and if we don’t know Him, the more apt we are to believe in earthly wisdom with its naturalism, materialism, skepticism, and atheism and walk by sight and our own perception.
These world views and our perception of reality causes us to struggle with faith. This is due to the fact that we don’t really know God. The answer to have a transforming faith is to spend more time reading the Bible and getting to know God and His Son. This will remind us of what Jesus has done for us by dying on the cross to take away our sin. In fact, Paul in Romans 10:17 states that “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”Faith is in the present. It is not a one-time activity, but is continual, so you have to stay exposed to the Word of God.
Faith is seeking God’s will and His Kingdom. Matthew 6:33 says: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” It is choosing to trust Jesus and not ourselves as in Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” And, it is being confident in what we hope and sure of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 states it as: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Warning: Faith will not only affect our words and actions, but it will also filter into our attitudes and thoughts. We will start to think God’s Word and anticipate victory over defeat. Second Corinthians 10:5 describes it as: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Having faith will cause us to start acting like God acts and to see our victory in advance. When we believe we are on God’s team and we are going to win, we begin to understand who we are, and it gives us peace and joy in the Spirit. Praise is an expression of faith; in fact, it is the language of faith.
Summing up this article on faith, we need to be mindful of the example of the disciple Thomas. Thomas hears about the resurrection, but he, as a skeptic, refuses to believe without direct personal experience. Jesus did accommodate Thomas’ lack of faith by personally coming to Thomas and allowing him to even touch Him. At this, Thomas reacts in worship and Jesus tells him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29.Hebrews 11:6 further states: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Thus, in a nutshell, faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it instead of responding to our perceptions.