Article

Article

How Does Faith Come?

Manley May

What is faith?  Is faith something that is relegated and practiced only as it relates to religion?  How do we come to have faith?  How do we “get it”?

Perhaps the simplest definition of faith is trusting confidence in something or someone.  The Bible, in Hebrews 11:1, defines faith as follows:  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”   So what about faith?

Although we think of the term most often as it relates to religion and belief in God, faith is actually something we practice and possess even in things outside of the religious realm.  We have faith in our spouse or maybe a close friend.  I expect everyone believes (has faith) that George Washington was a real person and the first president of the United States, but no one alive today lived during his time or even knew someone that lived during his time.  Apart from a few skeptics, we believe (have faith) that man has walked on the moon, but only a small select few individuals have actually been to the moon.  Many of us have the fortunate opportunity to travel to distant places that we have only heard about, but when we board the plane, train, or automobile we believe (have faith) that the places to which we travel really exist.

So how do we come to have faith in a spouse or friend, or a man named George Washington, or the lunar landing, or that the distant land to which we travel really exist?  In the case of a spouse or a friend, our faith is generally based upon the character and past behavior of that individual.  As for George Washington, or the lunar landing, or that distant land, our faith is based on the testimony of credible people with direct connections to those events or places.  These witnesses might include the historian who recorded the life of George Washington, the astronaut who wrote about and/or videoed his trip to the moon, or the friend who shared their travels to that distant land through pictures and stories about what they saw and did while there.

So does faith in religious things really come any differently?  Does God ask us to have a “blind” faith in him or has He left evidences of His existence and His desire for us?  I suggest that God has left us with an abundance of evidence not only of His existence but also of His desire for us.  The very creation speaks volumes about the existence and power of God.  Paul alludes to this fact in Romans 1:20 when he writes, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead….”   David also describes the creation as “declaring the glory of God” in Psalm 19:1-6.  All we need to do is observe the world around us to know that a creative power greater than us (God) exists.  His faithfulness to His creation causes the sun to rise every day and the rain that waters the ground to fall.  We “have faith” that these things will happen because we daily observe the character and consistent behavior of God.

Since the creation declared the Glory of the Creator (God), can we know Him and have faith in Him on a more personal level?  Can we know, more deeply, the character of God and His desire for us?  The answer is a resounding YES!  Just like we know about George Washington, and the lunar landing, and the distant land to which we travel, God has communicated to us through credible witnesses and recorded that information that has become our Bible.  The Bible, believe it or not, is perhaps the most authenticated of any ancient writing and although it was written by more than 40 men over hundreds of years, it is consistent without contradictions. A miracle by itself.  The Bible is God’s story to man about Himself and His desire for us as recorded by inspired men.  Paul, in 2 Timothy 3:16, states it this way, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”

So, how does faith in God come?  Well, faith comes through the words written down and left to us by those credible witnesses.  Without those words, we can believe in a greater power as revealed by the creation but we cannot know him and have faith in His will for us.  Paul records it this way in Romans 10:17, “So then faith (in God) comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Bible).”  Bottom line is that we must connect with his WORD if we hope to develop a faith in Him.  A regular and constant connection with the WORD through reading, attending Bible class/worship, and fellowshipping with folks of like precious faith (Hebrews 10:25) are all vitally important to developing and growing our faith.  Get connected!  Commit TODAY!  Become a daily Bible student who does not miss the opportunity to study with and edify those pursuing the same walk of faith.  Your faith can’t afford not to.