I believe that when we try to define faith as “the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen,” then we are taking a scripture written as a description and making it a definition. Yet, I do believe that the description is accurate. Faith is firm belief or conviction in something for which there may not be any tangible proof.
The challenge for Christians is to have faith in the right thing. We are often persuaded to have faith in God’s miracle working power; to have faith in God’s compassion and mercy; to have faith that God will deliver us out of our situations; to have faith for our healing; to have faith for our child’s conversion; to have faith in God’s stuff. But the bible clearly says, “Have faith in GOD.” (Mark 11:22) Faith in GOD is a lot deeper than faith in God’s stuff.
We live in a time when the prevailing culture is one of self-centeredness. This is the “I’ve gotta get mine right now” generation. When that kind of mentality influences one’s faith, it becomes easy to see God as Provider more than Father.
I’m a dad. I have a wonderful daughter. She’s an adult, working her way through college. I’m very proud of her. But if she was still a child… and only came around me when she needed something… or only told me how great a father I was when she wanted me to do something for her… or never sought to spend time with me but wanted to get my credit card every weekend, I would have a real problem with that. I would feel like she saw me as a provider, a genie in a bottle on her shelf… and the only time I was being “stroked” was when she wanted something. I doubt very seriously that God appreciates being stroked only when we want Him to grant a wish.
So, if my daughter was to call me up on the phone and I answer the call and she asks, “Hey, Dad, could you send me $4,000 so me and my boyfriend can take a road trip through Mexico?” and I respond, “Baby, I don’t think that’s a good idea, so I’m not going to give you $4,000 for the trip,” would my daughter be accurate to accuse me of not answering her call? No. She can honestly say that I didn’t grant her request, but I did answer her call. I believe that many times we get “answering our prayer” confused with “granting our request.” If we pray and ask God for something, even if we believe that we will get it with all of our heart, but God knows that it isn’t good for us and decides to not grant the request, it doesn’t mean that He didn’t answer our prayer. He just answered with a “No” instead of a “Yes.”
In a few weeks, I will be 44-years old. After all these years, I’ve learned that my faith is most productive when, rather than putting it in receiving what I want or what I think is the right thing, I put it in God. I accomplish much more when I wholeheartedly believe that God knows exactly what’s best for me. I have decided that Faith for me is believing IN God and trusting His decisions, and committing all that I have to obeying His voice and following His directions. I no longer speak to mountains that I want to see moved. I do, however, speak to mountains that God tells me to speak to… and they do move. I no longer speak things into existence that I want to see happen, but I do speak things into existence that God tells me will happen. If God says it, I will commit my life to the completion of it. All that I am is because of God’s word. He never fails. I’ve learned to stop believing in the stuff, but to have faith in God.