1. Now faith is the assurance of [things] hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2. For by it the men of old gained approval. 3. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
And without faith it is impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is essential for our understanding about what "faith" really is. It chronicles many of the "heroes of faith" from the Old Testament. Take a few minutes and read it for yourself to get the full impact of this thing called faith.
In the beginning of this post I knew there were many things to be said about "having faith", "walking by faith", and "living by faith". This is a huge subject and we may be studying and talking about "faith" for the next week or so.
I want to start out by saying that faith is not a "four letter word" like so many people have unfortunately made it out to be. Once we start talking about "faith", it's possible that some people can get "riled up" and rightly so. The concept of faith has been bandied about by the best of them. Talking about faith can lead us down some pathways that I think are important for us to explore. So let's start out with what Faith is NOT:
Faith is not the "willing" of something to be so, nor is it "wishing" for something. Faith cannot be equated with the idea and concept of "wishing", nor using our "will" to get something accomplished. Do not get "faith" and these two confused. Wishing for something is not Biblically grounded and is something out of our head, not our spirit. Do not fall for the line that says "if you believe it you will receive it", unless it is truly something that God has placed in your spirit. Believing to win Publisher's Clearing House Mega Sweepstakes might be a great "idea", but God probably hasn't placed that thought and concept in your heart and spirit. Chances are, that comes from our "head".
Now, I'm not contradicting scripture here, but trying to give further explanation.
"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive."
22. And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God." 23. "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be [granted] him. 24. "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be [granted] you.
If you'll read these two verses carefully you will see there is a common word and phrase used in both, and that is "asking and believing in prayer". If God has put something in your heart to believe in, you will feel confident and comfortable asking for it in prayer. God will give you the "release" and conviction that it is right and permitted to pray for. Here is where we need to be being led by the Spirit. If it's something not from God, then ask Him to remove it from your prayers and mind. Let the Holy Spirit direct you in your prayer life.
An example from my own life has been in the area of buying and selling our homes. God would always start preparing me for a house move, often times months in advance. I have totally given over to Him the concept of where we live. There was a period of time that I really wanted to build a house. We looked for plans, decided on one, even had the lot on which to build, but it never materialized. In hindsight I know that it was a "dream" out of my head, but not something that God had placed in my heart and spirit. No matter how much I wanted it, it never happened. I couldn't will it or wish it into existence. I released it to God, with difficultly I might add, and after that, He was able to take us where He truly wanted us to be.
So in these next posts, we'll be talking and learning about many of the aspects of "faith". I'd love to hear some of your own experiences about this. Leave a comment if you feel the "nudge" of the Holy Spirit. We'd all love to hear them.
love, in Jesus,