Faith: Knowing Who You Can Trust
During the terrible days of the Blitz during World War II, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb. In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow. Terrified, yet hearing his father’s voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, “I can’t see you!”
The father, looking up against the sky tinted red by the burning buildings, called to the silhouette of his son, “But I can see you … jump!” The boy jumped … because he trusted his father. The Christian faith enables us to face life or meet death, not because we can see, but with the certainty that we are seen; not that we know all the answers, but that we are known.
We are emotional creatures by nature. Different personalities respond to God in different ways. One person may have a high emotional experience, while another may be calm and reserved. Faith is another word for trust and in many ways, trust is an emotion. Your faith must be placed in God and His Word, not in your emotions. Emotions can—and will—deceive you. God’s Word never will.
The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV).
The assurance of our relationship with God is based on the authority of His Word. God loves you and you are His child. When you start to feel as if your relationship with God doesn’t exist, go to the facts of the Bible to reinforce your faith in God’s love for you. We live by faith in the trustworthiness of God, and His Word. Our faith is anchored in the truth of God’s Word, and in what we know about God’s character.
When you ride in an airplane you are exercising faith in the laws of aerodynamics to overcome gravity. If you should, however somehow decide to step outside of the plane while you are in the air, you will find the old law of gravity still in effect! It is not the amount or quality of your faith, but the object of your faith that matters! God and His Word are the objects of our faith. The better we know God, the more we feel we can trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the more we experience the reality of His love and power.
Romans 8:38-39 says, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NLT).
What do you learn about God in these verses?
Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (NIV).
Why is faith so important? _______________________________________________________
Romans 10:17 says, “No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ.” (CEV).
Where does faith come from?
In Mark 11:22-23 Jesus said to His disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart” (NLT).
Faith is another word for trust. Faith must have an object. We do not have faith in faith. For example, a person could have great faith that the ice on a pond is thick enough to walk on. By faith then, he could boldly walk out on paper thin ice, and his faith would result in an ice water dunking! A person who has a very weak faith may very gingerly step slowly onto a pond of six foot thick ice. It is more than enough to support him. The key here is the object of his faith.
Faith is personal reliance on a God known to be trustworthy.
The great Bible teacher, Charles Stanley, has identified three levels of faith:
Level 1 is “Little Faith”: This kind of faith is characterized by struggling to believe God. We hope He’ll answer our prayer, but we’re just not really sure. Sometimes doubts creep in because we’re looking at the situation, not at the Lord and His Word. Or maybe our problem is that we just don’t know what God has said in the Bible, so we have nothing to anchor our faith. An example of someone with little faith is found in Mark 9:24 where a father who had come to Jesus in hope that Jesus will heal his son says, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (NLT).
When in your life have you experienced “Little Faith”?
Level 2 is “Great Faith”: Dr. Stanley calls this phase “reaching faith” because it involves stretching to believe the Lord more and more. Christians at this level are beginning to stand on the truth of Scripture. When we let the Word of God shape our thinking and petitions, we can know that He will grant our requests. We find an example of this kind of faith in the story of a woman who Jesus healed who had been sick for many years (Mark 5:24-34). In verse 28 of chapter 5 she says, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well” (CEV).
When in your life have you experienced “Great Faith”?
Level 3 is “Perfect Faith”: Perfect faith is characterized as resting in the confidence that the Lord has already accomplished what we’ve asked. When our requests align with God’s will, it’s a “done deal.” Our job is simply to thank Him and watch His promise become a reality. Jesus said, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you” (Mark 6:22, NIV).
Has there been a time in your life when you have experienced “Perfect Faith”?
Oswald Chambers, the well-known author of the widely read devotional My Utmost for His Highest once wrote: “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”
Faith is mysterious. Faith can be difficult. Faith is a journey. And our faith is sure because it is in God almighty, our Heavenly Father!
In what area of your life is it easiest for you to have faith in God? In what area is it most difficult?
Ask God to grow your faith!