What Is Faith?
All-wise Lord, Your promises are sure and true. You instruct me from Your Word. Show me fresh truth today.
Read Hebrews 11:1-19
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“No matter what knowledge of God we can gain by observing or reflecting on him, he is far better than how we perceive him” (Origen, 185-254 AD).
“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (1). This important definition of faith goes against the grain of popular philosophies and lifestyles today. First, amid growing atheism and pragmatism that claim that God is either non-existent or irrelevant, the Bible declares that faith is centered on what is not seen, for what cannot be grasped by our five senses is stronger and far more lasting than the material world (1 Cor. 4:5). Second, this definition challenges popular lifestyles centered on consumerism and hedonism. Faith looks beyond what this world offers and pursues what this world cannot offer. In short, faith’s focus is beyond what the visible world is and what it offers.
Abraham demonstrates the faith that is defined for us. Living in an idolatrous world, Abraham obeyed God to embark on a long journey when he was called. Idols represent religions of the eye; they are limited to what is merely seen and produce religious pragmatism. Instead, Abraham heard God and was introduced to the true religion of the ear. Though invisible, God communicates to us by speaking (1:1,2). The Bible points to this speaking God and his Word, and underlines the importance of listening to what is invisible. Thus, faith comes from hearing (Rom. 10:17) and we learn to live and walk by faith rather than by sight (2 Cor. 5:17).
It is possible to profess faith in God and yet live as practical atheists (as if there is no God) or in a worldly pragmatism, even in church. Our daily lifestyles may also show us as no different from those who have no living relationship with the unseen God of this universe. Our journeys and lifestyles, like Abraham’s, should make it clear that our hopes lie beyond the marketplace and playgrounds of this fallen world (13-16).
How is your faith demonstrated, in the sanctuary and in the street, in what you daily believe in and pursue?
Lord God, I want to live for You with integrity and authenticity. May my words and life demonstrate the difference that Jesus makes.
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