What is Faith?
Faith is so important today.
THE WRITER of Hebrews (11:1) defines faith as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” That definition fits both what the bird and what the runner on my street demon- strated. The bird is confident there was food in the ground, even though he could not see; the runner is confident that running will help him stay in shape, even though he’s not to his goal yet.
Even with these two examples right in front of me, I don’t see much real confidence anymore. We have lost confidence in our country, our government, our church leaders, and one another. And probably for good reason. But that lack of confidence is a weapon of the enemy to cause us to give up—to give up based on what we see. The second part of the writer’s definition is “assurance about what we do not see.” It is easy to live by what we see, but that is not faith. Faith is believing even when we can’t see. That’s what Jesus told (Doubting) Thomas when he returned from the dead. Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
So, how can we gain that confidence and live with real faith? It starts with putting our faith in the right place. Because oftentimes it isn’t that we don’t have faith (although, sometimes we can lose our faith), but that our faith is placed in the incorrect thing—or maybe even the incorrect person.
Let me give you an example. Guys tend to put our misguided faith in two things. One is our job. As a friend of mine climbed the corpo- rate ladder, he felt better about himself. His career became his obses- sion. When his job went belly-up, he suddenly realized his faith had been misplaced.
The other place we men sometimes put our faith is in our spouse or significant other. This is a hard one, because we’re supposed to pledge ourselves unconditionally to our wife, and there is a certain amount of dependence that God’s Word suggests as we become one and grow together. We cross the line when we put heavenly expectations on our earthly spouse. My wife, as awesome as she is, makes for a lousy God. She can’t be the person in whom I put my entire faith and trust.
There is only one person qualified for that job. There is only one person who can handle that assignment. His name is Jesus.
In America, we tend to add something to our faith in Jesus. Jesus plus our job. Jesus plus our spouse. Jesus plus our kids. Jesus plus whatever. That, too, is misguided faith. Until we have faith in Jesus alone, we won’t see the difference He wants to make in our lives.
Where are you incorrectly putting your faith?
What is God saying to you today?