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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Faith is...

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

But we can’t really embrace the realities of faith until we get rid of some faulty notions:

Faith is not a head-in-the-sand position. It isn’t denying, ignoring, or hiding from the obvious or inevitable. It’s not pretending something is real when deep down you really don’t believe it. That’s fear, not faith.
Faith is not anti-intellectual. It’s not a warm feeling that requires you to check your intellect at the door. That’s feeling, not faith.
Faith is not a shallow, positive mental attitude. It’s not a platitude to “just follow your dreams.” Nor does faith ignore pain and embrace optimism, regardless of the evidence. That's foolishness, not faith.

Faith is active confidence in the God who has revealed Himself—not a vague uncertainty about an unknown someone. God has proven Himself real again and again, and if you’ve not yet experienced His reality, you can. Your faith comes alive as you believe the Word of God and act upon it.

Let’s say you ask God for guidance in prayer. Proverbs 3:5-6 says to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” So you focus on living that out—trusting and acknowledging God in “all your ways.” That’s faith—it’s your active confidence in Him, the thing you hold onto while you wait to see how the Lord is going to answer your request.

Faith is also the evidence that God is faithful. We are not the first people to trust God. Moses wrote, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalm 90:1, ESV). The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God of Moses, Ruth, David, Mary, John, Paul, Lois, Eunice, and Timothy. People have been trusting God for thousands of years. This is not a foolish thing to do. The faithfulness of God—not only in generations past but also in your own life—provides you with evidence. Can you recall specific times, places, and ways God has come through for you, showing Himself faithful? That’s the evidence of things not yet seen.

Faith is not believing in a vacuum; it’s belief based on the Scriptures. God wrote a Book—a trustworthy, proven, inspired, true Book. Our faith isn’t in the stock market or a news feed or another person’s advice, no matter how wise and well-meaning. Though everyone and everything else fails or fades, “The word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Peter 1:25).

Genuine faith always downloads into life. While we claim to believe all kinds of things, if they don’t influence the way we live, then we don’t really believe. When you’re willing to put yourself at risk, your faith in God becomes active. Only when you know God’s grace is your only option, when you’ve cut off all back-up plans and thrown yourself entirely upon God’s mercy—only then is your faith the substance and evidence God’s Word says it will be.

Dear Lord, just as You have never failed those who trust in You, we know You will not fail use. Help us to trust You, to believe in Your Word and act upon it, no matter how we feel, because You promise a good result. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

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