Faith is the avenue through which every believer became a Christian; and it is the way every Christian should live. I’m sure most believers would say that they desire to have a stronger faith. I sure do. Well I have 8 different blog posts ready to go on this subject, which are excerpts from my book Prayer A to Z. This first one is most basic and what we need to know in order to begin this study. I want to ask you right from the start if you would consider making some comments. So, when you read this, think of that you want to contribute.
The Definition of Faith
Vines dictionary defines faith (pistis) as “firm persuasion, a conviction based on hearing.” The verb of faith (pisteuo), translated as believe, is defined as: “to believe, to be persuaded of, to place confidence in, to trust, reliance upon” (Vines Expository Dictionary).
If this definition from Vines seems to be a bit short, don’t worry, the Bible gives us a much broader and better definition. In Hebrews 11:1 (in the KJV) it says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
The NIV I think clarifies it a bit for us: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
I also like how the Amplified Bible lays it out for us: “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality—faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.”
John R. Rice, in his book, Prayer Asking and Receiving, I think gives us a good rendition of Hebrews 11:1:
Faith…is a certain conviction, an assurance, an evidence that we will get the thing we hope for and ask for. By faith one sees the thing that is invisible. By faith one holds what is intangible. One who has faith has the substance of the thing hoped for and has the evidence of that which is not yet seen by human eye.
Now the above definitions, from both Vine and from Hebrews 11:1, are not for any specific kind of faith but for faith in general. That is, this faith described is not necessarily a faith in God (though it could be). It is a faith I can have in anything. It can be a faith I have in my chair when I sit down on it—a faith that it will support me. It may be a faith in my doctor that he will give me the right kind of medicine. Or it may be a faith in the weatherman when he tells me its going to be a sunny day.
A spiritual faith, which we will talk about from this point on, has the same definition as above, except that the object of our faith is placed in God alone, not in any other person, or in our circumstances, our works, or ourselves.
In terms of our prayer life, spiritual faith is a confidence in God that He will give us the things that He has inspired us to diligently pray for (Heb. 11:6). But it is more than that. It is taking hold of the thing that is already ours. It is claiming what God has already planned to give us. It is asking for and claiming what He wants to give us, with no doubting (James 1:6).
The Object and Basis of Faith
As we have stated above, a general kind of faith is having faith in anything or in anyone we choose. But when it comes to salvation, and when it comes to sufficiently and faithfully getting all our daily needs supplied (our food and clothing, our protection, our guidance and help, etc.), we must place that faith in God; for He is the only reliable source of help. Therefore, though we have faith in many other things, we must recognize that He alone will totally meet our needs. And though we get comfort and help from all the things He gives us, we must recognize that all things are from Him and that ultimately He is the source of all our help.
What ideas have come to your mind about what faith is?