We are living at a time in history when the idea of “Faith” is being questioned in just about every corner of society. Not that long ago the idea of “faith”, or “being a person of faith”, or “walking a journey of faith”, were all accepted as a part of American culture. It’s not that everyone had the same idea of what these things mean, only that they did exist and, while sometimes proving helpful, where at least not harmful to those that didn’t care to acknowledge its place in their lives. But that has changed. Faith has quickly become in the eyes of many an ideal only for the ultra-religious or those naïve to the realities of life. We have even been told in fact that the category “none” is the fastest growing faith segment in the United States!
At the very least we have lost a clear understanding of what faith really is and how, in broader terms, we can talk about the journey of faith on which we find ourselves. If we do not understand what faith IS, we can never fully understand what it DOES as we walk the path in front of us. While I will not here try to convince those that reject the idea of faith of just how essential it really is, I do want to point out a few things to those struggling to grasp its reality.
1. There is no such thing as a person without faith.
Simply defined, Faith is putting your hope and confidence in something or someone outside of yourself. From the time we are born we are putting our faith in something or someone. Whether for food and shelter, for security and opportunity, or simply to be paid for a job that we have completed, we live our lives by faith. But here’s the thing so often missed:
Faith is only as valid as its object!
This is why so much disappointment exists in the world. We put our hope and confidence in individuals, organizations and institutions that do not have the ability to do what we expect them to do! But the truth remains that even those who mark “none” on their census forms are people of faith.
2. Faith is not pretending that everything is great or that what is not great will somehow magically work out.
If everything in life worked out exactly as advertised we would be living in a utopian society without a care in the world. We would be living in the Garden of Eden before Genesis chapter 3. But we don’t. There is hardship and discouragement and the fear that an unknown future brings into our lives and relationships. We don’t know how it will all “work out” so we must trust that someone outside of us does. Without this “faith” we would not be able to live since we would be overwhelmed by what we do not know!
Faith is not pretending that everything is great or that what is not great will somehow magically work out. Faith is acknowledging all that is wrong but putting our hope and confidence in something bigger than current circumstance, obstacles, or future unknowns.
3. Biblical Faith says, “I see where I am. I understand what’s happening. I am choosing to put my hope and confidence in God who is:
Eternal-Has no Beginning and will have no End
This is the kind of faith that brings peace and joy because we are focused on doing what we can do, trusting that God will do what He can do, while not assuming that we are Him! Faith is not believing that God will do what I want Him to Do-Faith is believing that God will do what He wants to do while trusting Him to show me what He wants me to do!
Life is a journey of faith that requires us to put our confidence something (or someone) beyond ourselves. We are all people of faith, but faith is only as good as it’s object. For Christians, let us never forget that the object of our faith, and the reason we can have peace in the midst of life’s storms, is the Sovereign, Eternal, Omnipotent God.