December 1, 2003

Everyone's Got Faith
"The righteous will live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4)

Do you have faith? I don't know a single person on 
earth who doesn't. Faith is just one of those things 
that humans express naturally. According to the Bible, 
"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain 
of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1). Are you sure of 
anything you hope for? Are you certain of anything you 
do not right now see? I am sure you are.

Faith is that human ability to believe something that 
you cannot prove with your physical senses. For 
example, let's say it was raining and cold when you 
went to work this morning. The sky was completely 
overcast and it poured all the way to work. You work 
in an office without windows, so you cannot see what 
it is like outside. A co-worker comes in from an 
errand just before lunch and tells you that it is 
sunny and warm now. Accepting your co-worker's word, 
you leave your coat and head out. Happily you discover 
that the day has turned nice.

When you accepted your co-worker's word and acted upon 
it by not taking your coat, you exercised faith.

A famous celebrity was arrested on serious criminal 
charges recently. Almost immediately the public was 
divided - some affirming his innocence and others 
convinced he was guilty. Upon what were these people 
basing their conclusions? Faith. When the allegations 
first came forth, there were almost no details as to 
the evidence. Yet so many were predisposed towards 
this person that they were just like the Bible says, 
sure of what they hoped for and certain of what they 
did not see.

Contrary to popular understanding faith doesn't exist 
in a vacuum. Faith is always based on something. Take 
the situation of the weather. The person had to weigh 
the word of the co-worker with his own experience of 
the morning. His understanding of how weather works 
would be a contributing factor as well. If the co-
worker was known as a prankster, then he would not be 
so readily believed. If it was common in that part of 
the world to rain heavily in the early morning and 
then turn nice, then there would be a greater 
probability that the co-worker's report would be true. 
But until the weather conditions could be confirmed 
through experience, the person had to exercise faith.

In the other situation, the public's perception of the 
celebrity played the greatest part in their 
conclusions. In this case facts are difficult to 
establish. A person's love or lack thereof for this 
celebrity may be driving them to believe what they 
believe about him.

Notice that faith itself is not an indicator of truth. 
Faith is simply an expression of trust. Our faith 
might be reasonable, based on good evidence, or it 
might be misinformed. How often have we trusted in 
something or someone only to be disappointed and hurt? 
When that happens we may think twice before expressing 
faith again. And yet to not express faith is to stop 
living.

As we see in the quote above, the prophet Habakkuk 
declares, "The righteous will live by his faith" 
(Habakkuk 2:4). Faith is the essential ingredient in 
having a right relationship with God. It isn't good 
enough to know about him and be busy with spiritual 
activities. We need to actively trust him and what he 
is saying to us in order to truly live.