So what is the secret to faith? How do I first find and then increase my faith? Perhaps we need to first define faith.
Random House Dictionary defines faith as “confidence or trust in a person or thing; belief that is not based on proof; belief in god or in the doctrines of religion.” That is the worldly definition of faith. What about a Biblical definition?
Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary defines faith as “in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13). Its primary idea is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust.” So do we have a contradiction between the secular and Biblical definitions of faith? Of course, that is normally the way.
Biblical faith implies action; it should be used as a verb. Secular faith is a noun; it is a thing. You can see it more than you do it. Although we all have faith in something, Biblical faith implies striving towards something.
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27)
The Apostle Paul is teaching us that our faith should manifest itself not only in a certain action, but also a certain behavior. Faith strengthens a Christian in his or her walk because through faith we are saved and through faith we are sanctified:
“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
So how does the Bible itself define faith? Dictionaries are fine, but I want to know what the Bible says.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
A couple of Greek definitions here are in order; the Greek transliteration for “substance” is hypostasis. It is an ancient philosophical term meaning the existence of some thing; it is reality.
In medicine, hypostasis is the evidence of a settling of blood in a dead person; the blood actually sinks in the body because of gravity. This is evidence of death.
In psychology, the hypostatic model of personality teaches that people present different personality traits reflecting the person’s view of life internally and externally. You can notice these traits in a person. Its substance is noticeable.
So the term the writer of Hebrews uses for substance, hypostasis, is not one that is up for argument or debate. It is.
Next let’s look at “the evidence” used in Hebrews 11:1; it is somewhat synonymic with substance. The Greek transliterated for “the evidence” is elegchos and it means “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested; conviction.” It comes by living a life of faith.
So where do I get this faith? I told you that I had discovered, or more accurately, that the Holy Spirit had shown me the secret to faith. Where do I get this faith? It’s been there right before us all the time.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
That’s it?! That’s the secret to faith Bro Dave?!
Yep! Any more questions?
No? Ok, see you tomorrow then…
Okay, we’ll talk some more.
Beloved, you got saved because you heard the word of God preached or you read the Bible or someone shared the gospel, Bible verses, with you. Don’t you remember? Go back and think about how you got saved! You somehow heard the word of God. And because of what you heard and the conviction it brought to you, you realized you needed Jesus as Lord and Savior, and with as much faith as you could muster up right then and there, you gave your life to Christ.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Remember your hunger for the word of God? You wanted to read your Bible, listen to ministry tapes, even watch much of the nonsense on TBN because you hungered for the word. Now you may not have known you needed heavenly bread, but as a baby is hungry you sought something to fill you.
So what happened? How did your faith stall out? Very simple, you’re satisfied with milk. A baby who grows into a child into an adolescent and then into an adult on a diet of only milk is malnourished, without strength, and not ready to go out into the world to compete. Beginning to see a pattern yet?
Most Christians get slayed by the culture because they are biblically malnourished and incapable of defending the faith because they’ve not increased their Biblical diet.
The American church is malnourished because it long ago gave up the robust diet of Biblical study and are now satisfied with the “space food sticks” of whatever is the latest and hottest book on the Christian market. Space food sticks, which when they first came out were a cool novelty, got old after a while because they were a sad replica of real food. They were unsatisfying…because they were for those in outer space.
Where are you right now dear Christian? Are you feasting only on Our Daily Bread, the 1-minute devotional, this devotional, some ministry on the radio, or other facsimile to the word of God?
Beloved, as wonderful as these tools are, they are not the word of God. If you are starving yourself from the word of God you are missing a wonderful blessing from the Lord because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God:
“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 8:32-35)
Dear child of God, that is wisdom calling out to you from the pages of the Bible. Do you hear her? Do you desire wisdom? The Bible is a treasure chest of wisdom that is waiting to be opened by you:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to our faith deficiency; we’re trying to manufacture it from within. We are trying to find shortcuts to faith as though it is some computer chip we can have implanted or quick energy drink we can gulp down.
If that’s you, you’re tapping the wrong source.
It’s time to open that Bible other than when the preacher tells you to.
Why not now?
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers