What is faith?
Recently, I came across a discussion about theological virtues, which built the very basis of our relationship with God and one another: "Faith, hope, and love, but the greatest among these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13) Although Paul mentions love as the greatest among these virtues, I want to focus on the faith aspect. What is faith? What does it mean to have faith in God?
In our daily use of the word faith, a great emphasis is put on its meaning; we only mention it if we are absolutely serious about a topic. Aside from love and hope, which we use in contexts such as I love your new haircut or I really hope tomorrow is a sunny day, faith seems to have more value attached to it. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as "(…) confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Let's start with the last part of this definition – assurance in what we cannot see.
confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
No human being except for Jesus has ever seen God's face, and no one alive today has met Jesus in person. If the first part of faith is acknowledging God's existence, how can we believe if we cannot see? Some people seek God for a lifetime, waiting for a sign or a miracle, yet, miracles are all around us. Life being the first and most apparent miracle among them. God's love lets you breathe every single breath and gives you the ability to love Him, yourself, and the people around you. You are living proof of God's existence, and your ability to love pays tribute to God's love for us. If that wasn't enough, God sent His only son to once and for all redeem humanity by bringing us closer to Him. But simply acknowledging that God has created us and everything we know and love is not enough. Our faith is a faith of action. This is where we look at the first part of the quote – confidence in what we hope for. Not only do we know that God is the creator but we must also be confident that He is our hope. This statement acknowledges that God has a plan and that we must be certain about this plan being ultimately good. This is the quintessence of trust. We must trust in God with everything we are, we do, and we believe. Just as a child blindly trusts its parents to feed it and love it, so must we trust in God. But I would not trust a stranger as much as I trust my family or the people I love. Trust means action and works - getting to know each other. Trust does usually not develop naturally; trust is a process. The ability to trust God is within us by His grace through the Holy Spirit; we only have to uncover it. The good news is that God has given us the power and the tools to get to know Him, to have a relationship with Him, and ultimately trust Him – the Bible and the example of Jesus. No one expects you to give your life to a complete stranger, but God is expecting you to take action towards loving Him and building a trusting relationship with Him so that He is no longer a stranger in your life. Faith is not a miracle or mere words of giving your life to God; faith means trusting in Him and His ability to grace you with His final gift of being in communion with Him.