Faith? What is it?
One dictionary definition describes faith as - complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Christian scripture, as in Hebrews Ch. 11 v. 1, defines faith thus: “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Christians believe that faith is their link to Divinity and that having such faith means obedience to God through Christ. It is the leaving of our ways; our possessions; our self; the leaving of whatever trust we might have in men; in money; in opinion; in ambition; it is also doing as God commands us for anything which comes solely from the self and not from God is a perversion of something that belongs to God. When Jesus spoke of faith as a mustard seed working wonders He meant exactly that. The faith Jesus referred to is the faith we have in God and such faith cannot be quantified; we either believe in God or we don't. James in his letter (James 1:8) described a person who doubted as being double-minded as they are thinking about two different things at the same time and unable make up their mind about anything.
Without faith in God we are like a river cut off from its source that still expects to successfully complete its journey to the sea. St John Chrysostom maintained that faith unsupported by either prayer or scripture can be likened to a newly planted tree that can be uprooted with little or no effort as it is not yet grounded with a good root structure but when the tree is mature, having been regularly fed and watered during its life, it is able to withstand the hardest buffeting from without. As with the tree, so with faith that constantly needs to be fed and watered by scripture and prayer to enable each and every one of us to see more clearly that which we believe. St Augustine of Hippo's explanation of the purpose of faith was, “Faith in Christ is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe”
As with the tree, the more faith feeds on scripture and prayer the stronger it will become and the more it is able to withstand any attack made upon it; and with certainty it will continue to spread its roots into the very soil of our soul to become a lasting and permanent part of who we are.
Our faith must always be IN the loving, ruling, Christ and not like that of those who believe ABOUT Him only. When we try to intellectualize our Christian faith in a vain attempt to better understand it we only succeed in stripping it of much of its power. How can our finite understanding be capable of intellectualizing the infinite? When reading Christian Scripture, particularly the Gospels and Letters of the New Testament, we must ask God through His Holy Spirit to reveal to us a greater understanding of its content.
Within its pages but hidden from the casual observer is LIFE in all its fullness but that life can only be revealed through words insofar as those words lead the reader to Christ. Remember what Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5: 39. "You search the scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me."
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