Faith Beyond Belief

     Faith is a curious thing.  1 Cor. 13:13 tells us it is a sister to ‘hope’ and ‘love’.  Faith touches what Hope longs for and Love shares.  Faith is physically intangible but when you do not have it you know it.  It is a threshold you have to cross over to get to another side but you know when you are hard pressed back against it and are prompted to abandon and go back over to where you came from.  Faith is not a place though you can dwell there.  Faith is not an object though you can hold it and even tell when it is gone.  Faith cannot easily be described though you can become so familiar with it, it becomes a daily companion.  As the writer of Hebrews puts it in chapter eleven, ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence (or assurance) of things not seen’.

     Faith has a voice that speaks down deep within the human heart.  It is nestled alongside hope and love like the undergirding of life that they are.  Love changes a person from within that governs all that comes out of them with something more than emotion and a little less than common reason.  Hope is that thing that ‘reaches out knowing something is out there’.  Faith is the inner quality of God that allows you to embrace that which is hoped for, that which is not seen.  Even our eternal destiny is divinely supplied as scripture tells us, ‘for by the grace of God you are saved through faith’.  In essence, faith is granted to us as the result of a gracious gift from God who loves us.  It is we who accept or deny such grace.  God’s love and hope reaches out to us and He gives us the very ability to reach back – if we just will.

     Life lived right is full of choices, challenges, obstacles, and opportunities to overcome.  I say, ‘lived right’ because I believe God expects mankind in general to reflect His creative nature and do the impossible, think of the unimaginable, and obtain the, as yet, unattainable.  Faith is not simply the unwillingness to give up, though faith is the fuel behind the inclination to press on.

Beyond Giving Up

     Thomas Edison found what he was looking for with electricity because he ‘saw something’ no one else could see.  His teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive."  As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."[1]  One person quotes Edison as saying, “I simply found 1,000 ways not to build a light bulb”. Perspective is everything and sometimes the only thing that matters. 

     Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs and struck out 1,330 times in his career and was recorded as saying, "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run."  John Wooden once explained that winners make the most errors.  Michael Jordon said once, "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I've lost almost 300 games.  26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot ... and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed." [1]  And John F. Kennedy said, "Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly."  We can look at Winton Churchill and go on to Abraham Lincoln who failed as a soldier, businessman, lawyer, and politician as well as  numerous election attempts (twice for the Senate and once as a vice-presidential candidate).  He saw something inside himself that few could see and he pressed on.  As you know he became one of the greatest Presidents America has ever had.

     President Kennedy saw the need for strength of unity and joined a nation to a cause and America reached the moon – a  feat that was not in the hearts and minds of mankind until it was provoked to search out the unseen and try the untried.  Kennedy set the goal but it was the scientists and astronauts who had to see what was not yet seen – to reach for something not yet done before.  That is the platform for faith.  Faith that is birthed in the place of unity – one mind and one accord - is more achievable than any other task in all creation.  And let us not forget that faith resting in the lonely heart is as powerful as that carried by the masses.

Beyond Belief

     Belief is in the realm of mankind.  You can believe in yourself and the abilities of those around you to do great things.  Belief is a reflection of the likeness of God within mankind.  Much has been accomplished with the strength of belief.  Parents who speak words of life to their child will foster in that child a belief that they can do anything.  That life spoken word can bring life changing results for the individual and the world.   However, faith is otherworldly – faith is a Gift from God that produces a faith in God when you have nothing else.  Faith is not just the inability or internal check to press onward and not give up – though that is the byproduct of faith.  Faith is the voice inside that rudders the soul, that applies standards to practice, guidelines to choices, and strength to weakness.  Faith is Godly whereas belief is humanly.  Faith is a divine breath that brings life to a person’s destiny even when they do not attribute it to its heavenly source which is the heart and throne of God Himself.

     Faith is not a blind step though at times it can feel as though you are stepping blindly into the unknown.  Remember ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence (or assurance) of things not seen’.  As you can read in Hebrews 11, Adam’s son Able knew he could bring pleasure to God by what he felt inside and it was considered as a righteous or God-pleasing act.  Remember this was not a sacrifice (they were not needed), it was an offering.  Able’s act was one rooted in a deep relationship and understanding of God’s heart.  One meant to bring joy.  Hebrews 11 goes on to speak of Abraham and his wife Sarah in this way:

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

     Abraham walked a land that Israel now possesses today.  Sarah gave birth to a son when she was 90 years old and Abraham was 100.  It takes faith to believe that story and it takes faith to believe in God.  I personally world rather know the faith that I have inside, than the hopelessness that the world gives.  The world gives emptiness full of self-sourced choices.  God gives us grace, the ability to do the impossible because He steps into our lives, when invited, and lifts us up again and teaches us to walk and then run with Him beyond natural limitations in order to achieve the impossible and ultimately rest in the unbelievable.

     Faith does not come all at ones as in a business plan laid out before one starts a project.  Faith comes in glimpses that allow the seer to see more as they move forward.  Faith cannot be easily explained though it can be felt and known.  It can be missed when it is gone.  Faith is not simply belief – it has God’s breath on it and only comes from Him.  As mentioned above, mankind has the creative nature of God because we are made in His image but without faith we cannot reach the destiny we were created for.  Trust God!  Ask God!  Know God Today!

     I would love to tell you about my Father God who gives this faith and tell you of His Son, Jesus Christ and all that He has done for our restoration.  And then I will tell you about Holy Spirit Who gives us Power to overcome sin and live a glorious life!