In some respects the meaning of faith is so simple. It means to just believe God, to trust and rely on Him. But because we are human and sinful, faith becomes so hard for us. Hence, we seem to need to dissect it and to look at it from different angles, in order to get the meaning of faith that pleases us or that helps us to understand it. And I think that’s good. We need to do that.
In my reading on faith I have come across numerous descriptions. Here are a few I have put together. I hope these will help you understand faith. Perhaps from these you will come up with your own description.
1. Faith is a work of God’s Spirit in the heart.
Andrew Murray wrote, “Faith is completely the work of God’s Spirit through His Word in the prepared heart of the believing disciple…faith is the pledge and forerunner of the coming answer.” Yes, I agree; only by the work of His Spirit in us are we able to believe. Believing is all of Him. We can’t believe without Him. His Spirit in us, which forms faith in us, is the pledge and forerunner of His answer to our prayers.
2. Faith is living in Jesus.
When we surrender completely to Jesus we let Him live His life and faith in us. Thus we can have the same faith He had. Again Murray writes, “In us He [Jesus] is everything now that He was on earth…He is the Author and the Perfecter of our faith.”
3. Faith is seeing things from God’s perspective.
According to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, “[Faith is] seeing everything in the context of God and eternity.” It is having our mind set on things above, not on things on the earth (Col. 3:2). Likewise, because faith has such good vision, such a good perspective and such a loving Heavenly Father whom is always near, faith never has a fear or a worry. For it always believes as a child that “Daddy can do anything and fix anything” (W. Bingham Hunter, The God Who Hears). Hence, just as a small child who hasn’t experienced the fears and worries of the world but is locked into the loving and caring world of family with Mom and Dad whom he inherently trusts, faith likewise is seeing things from the perspective of the loving family of God, being locked in and protected from the evil world below.
4. Faith hears and sees God and His promises, then takes His promises.
Andrew Murray lays it out this way:
Faith is …the ear by which we hear what is promised and the eye by which we see what is offered. The power to take [His promise] depends on this. I must hear the person who gives me the promise because the very tone of his voice gives me courage to believe. I must see him because the light of his face meets all my qualms about my right to take…When faith is in full use as eye and ear—the faculties of the soul by which we see and hear God—then it will be able to exercise its full power as hand and mouth—the faculties by which we take God and His blessings.
5. Faith continues to pray because it expects God to answer.
Faith is a realized expectation; it is a continuing hope; thus, it is supplied with a lasting energy with which to pray until the answer comes. Hence, faith is patient, enduring, full of energy and full of hope.