Let us begin by defining faith. Faith, according to Oxford dictionary, is complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
What is Faith and where does the word “Faith” come from?
Well, the word faith was originally gotten from the Latin word “fides and Old French word feid“, which then simply means a confidence or trust.
From the above definition, you cannot talk about faith without trust (complete trust). Faith cannot go without trust. Trust is what makes faith what it is. No matter how profitable a business venture is, the investor would never invest a dime in it without some level of trust. In a relationship where there is no trust, it does not grow any root. Trust makes it possible to partner and to relate. Trust is that spark that eventually fires faith into flame. Trust is the engine that drives faith.
And what is trust? Trust, according to Oxford dictionary, is firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
You can observe some keywords used in the above definition of faith: trust, reliability, belief, truth. Faith in God begins with the first step of hearing, to believing the word is truth, which builds the trust that develops into faith. Let’s follow the steps clearly:
- Hear the word
- Believe the word is truth
- Trust the word you heard
- Trust in the word you heard develops into faith.
From that definition, we can see that trust has to do with belief. Belief precedes trust. Someone has to hear your story and believe it before he can trust you. Belief has to do with believing that what is said is the truth before trust comes in. You cannot have faith in someone without first trusting in him. You cannot trust in someone without first believing in him. And you cannot believe in someone without first hearing his story. Then, you cannot hear his story without deliberately listening to him or about him. Constant hearing of the word (fuel) is ignited by belief (plug), which in turn powers trust (engine) that drives faith (the car). For your car to continue moving, you need fuel always. So is it with faith. Your faith to continue to grow, you need constant hearing of the word.
What is the Biblical definition of faith?
Can we now look into the Biblical definition of faith.
Hebrew 11:1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. KJV
The Bible has defined faith as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. A substance can easily be described as a matter or material. Something tangible. Something you can touch, and or feel. An evidence can be described as a verifiable fact. A fact that is indisputable.
No one has seen God for he is a spirit and for us to worship him in Truth and Spirit then, faith is the only connecting power into the spiritual realm, and this makes Him become real to us as a person. So faith is the basic ingredient to start a relationship with God and to draw close to him.
Faith is the tangible essence of what is hoped for – so feasible that the faith itself, is the evidence/reality of those things that are not yet visible.
How is hope tangible? Hope is an expectation. Something you’re looking forward to seeing or receiving. If hope is something you’re expecting, how then is it tangible?
Genesis 1:1-26. and Romans 4:17 let us understand that God is the only Role Model when it comes to exhibition of faith. We are the ones that noticed He met a chaos. He never saw it as a challenge because He had hope that those things were already there-tangible. He simply started calling them out. Out of vacuum, tangible things started springing up. They were never there before He started calling them out. He saw them as verifiable tangible facts, yet they were unseen. He called them out as though they were. And having complete belief and trust in the truth (hope), they all came to be.
What does the Bible say about faith?
Hebrews 11:1-3,6. 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. KJV
Mark 11:22-24. 22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. KJV
Hebrew 11:7. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. KJV
Where Does Faith Come From?
Romans 10:17 Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. NIV
As Christians, our only source of faith is the Bible, the word of God. The word of God contained in the Bible, has been what powers our faith. In it is the truth that makes us believe. We believe first because we hear the truth from the Bible. Then we develop the trust that builds our faith. And for us to remain steadfast in the faith we have in God and in His dear Son, Jesus Christ, we need to constantly read, and or hear the word.
So what do you hear? This is a critical question to answer if you must get faith and grow in faith. There are words that build your faith and there are words that weaken your faith. What you listen to shapes your life. It either leads you to despair or builds your hope.
Is there a different between faith and believe?
Faith and belief are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference. Belief is a strongly held opinion about an idea or worldview. Belief is a human guess or intuition about something that happens to turn out to be true.
Beliefs are also opinions that you form about what you read, hear or see, and because these things are physical, your Beliefs can change over time. The more you learn new things, the more your belief on something is reduced. For instance, many people today read the Bible and accept what is written in Scripture. This is a simple example of belief, believing in what you read.
But faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8)
Faith is not something you start and build from; faith can only be received, it must be given by God. True faith can take on doubts and questions, but it remains intact. With faith you move along with God’s agreements and guidance, it also involves God given direction.
Faith is a result of our hearing and then obediently responding to God’s guidance, even without seeing the reality of it, you obey, you trust and you listen.
You can believe there is a God, even that there is one God, but do you believe in his abilities? God produces faith in us by giving us new hearts and opening our eyes to see that He is our God and we need Him.
Faith changes how we live our lives, faith moves us to keep walking in the direction that God wants us to go. When you have faith In God you accept his discipline, his laws and his conditions which are not burden.
Does your faith in God change the way you live your life? Do you have faith in God? Is your faith strong? You can also learn more about what Faith Is and What It Is not.
5 ways to Grow Your Faith in God
Below are 5 ways you can grow your Faith in God.
1. Ask God through prayers.
If you have it difficult to maintain grow your faith, the first thing to do is ask God for his grace to be able to help you put more faith in him and the things he has done, ask for more of it,and he will gladly give you his holy spirit, because he said in his word that he satisfied those who are thirsty for the truth and he will supply to you more faith .
2. Obey God.
We all comes from the offspring of Adam which makes us imperfect,and will always make mistake, God understand this, but if you focus on doing God’s will and obeying his commands, your faith will grow naturally,and you will see that his commands are not burdensome.
3. Spend time reading and hearing God’s word.
Spend time every day reading God’s word and soak it into your heart and mind. If your lifestyle is busy, listen to a sermon or a Christian podcast. Putting His word into your heart and soul will fortify your faith in the rough times.
4. Do not forsake your gathering together.
We are meant to worship together, encourage one another, pray together, and share our faith with each other.
When we hear others share there experiences it straightens our faith.
Also study the Bible together, encouraging each other in godly disciplines, and most importantly reach out to those who are deserving, teach them what you have learnt from God’s word the bible.
5. Spend time in fervent prayer.
Scheduling a specific time each day to spend with God in prayer makes a huge difference. This is your time alone with Him to discuss anything that is on your heart and mind. Be still and listen carefully and your faith will grow in abundance.
How to Keep the Faith alive.
1. Keep reflecting on God’s promises, meditate on his word, the bible, visualize on the examples and experiences of faithful ones in the bible, use them to create in you a strong relationship with God.
2. Do not rely on your own understanding. When are facing a hard time, don’t try to blame him Instead, ask Him for help and to change your circumstances. Let Him take the wheel and trust what He is going to do.
3. Be generous. God sees everything we do, giving our little will increase our faith. The Bible says even in times of trouble, we are to give. It might seem too hard to do, so giving make us feel like you have and you are now trusting in God to provide for you.
4. Read God’s word daily. Again, Reading the scripture will help to maintain to draw close to him, this will help keep you grounded and not going in another direction due to confusions.
5. Stay close to friends and family who are God’s friends. One of the best things to do in hard times is to draw close to those who love you most. Friends who love God’s words are people you should reach out to in trial times. Sit down and discuss your situation, they will give you the encouragement you need.
Having faith means we are part of a covenant body of believers, a family of brothers and sisters, who are in Union with our faith in the things of God and in Christ Jesus.
Faith without work is dead:
Was not Abraham, not declared righteous by work after he had offered up Issac his son upon the alter? (James 2:21). So as the body without spirit is dead so is faith without work.
If we do not obey God, we do not have faith in him. So clearly when we say we have faith in God, we should be able to live according to his ways even when it’s not suitable for us, even when we see new command or learn new things about him from his word, we should be willing to obey and remain loyal to him.
Let’s remind ourselves with the examples of Faithful ones in the bible who put there faith in God.
1. The woman with a flow of blood
During Jesus life here on Earth, he taught people about God and he cleanse, and heal people of all sort, while a certain man came to report to him about his dead son something very amazing happened. A woman with a flow of blood, who must have heard about all that Jesus had been doing, she believed all the signs and the miracles performed by Jesus but most importantly she had faith.
Matthew 9:19-22 “Then Jesus got up and, with his disciples, followed him. And look! a woman suffering for 12 years from a flow of blood approached from behind and touched the fringe of his outer garment, for she kept saying to herself: “If I only touch his outer garment, I will get well.” Jesus turned around and, noticing her, said: “Take courage, daughter! Your faith has made you well.” And from that hour the woman was made well.”
Isn’t this a show display of faith! Her faith made her well.
Mary the mother of Jesus, she was faithful to God when she was chosen to be the mother of his son, despite the challenges that Mary knew would come with this responsibility, Mary trusted her God and had the faith that the role He had chosen for her, He will surely see her through.
“The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.’ ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.”
Abraham was a friend of God, he wasn’t just call that for no reason, he put faith in God even when he wasn’t sure of anything. When he was called to sacrifice his only son as a burnt offering, he didn’t question God or ask why, he had faith in God and believed that His ways are upright. So he set out the next morning after God told him where to go.
The account of Genesis 22:1-8 show how he did this.
“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’ Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, ‘Father?’ ‘Yes, my son?’ Abraham replied. ‘The fire and wood are here,’ Isaac said, ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together.”
4. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
This three jews had a very strong faith in God, they were familiar with his laws and they obeyed them even at a death point. They displayed there loyalty when they refused to bow down to another God aside there own, and they had faith when they were thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar, who was the king. He never knew what would happen but doubt there God greatness.
“Shaʹdrach, Meʹshach, and A·bedʹne·go answered the king: “O Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it must be, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the burning fiery furnace, O king, and to rescue us from your hand. But even if he does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold that you have set up”
“They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”
No doubt we all know Moses to be God’s servant. He did what God always ask him to do even when it seems difficult he obeys, he had faith when God asked him to lead the Israelite’s out of Egypt and across the red sea, away from everything they knew.
The account of Exdous14:10-14 shows how Moses displayed his unfailing faith towards his God believing he won’t fail him.
“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’ Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”