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
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.