Monday, March 15, 2010

What is Faith?

According to Websters's Dictionary faith is "firm belief in something for which there is no proof."   In the book of Hebrews, also known as "the book of better things", we read that "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  (Heb 11:1 NIV)  I like this translation because there is so much power evoked in the words "assurance" and "conviction".   Assurance means that we can have confidence of mind or freedom from self-doubt or uncertainty.  Further, assurance graces us when something inspires (breaths the breath of life into) us.   The word conviction is equally as strong as it stands for having a strong persuasion or belief in the state of being convinced or certain!  I don't know about you but for me, especially when I go through the rough times in life I need something to hold on to, to be convinced of, to be persuaded by.  My faith in God through Jesus is assuring, convicting, inspiring, and persuading!
In his book, "Mere Christianity" C.S. Lewis devotes two short yet powerful chapters to faith.  If you have not done so I recommend you read some of Lewis' works.  He has been referred to as the most original Christian writer of the twentieth century;  his writings are both thought-provoking and wisdom-filled.    A few things stood out to me regarding his writing about faith including his observance that even though a person once accepts a thing as true he or she doesn't automatically go on believing it as long as nothing can disprove that it is so.   Not at all.  He goes on to say that "the human mind is not only ruled by reason but also by emotion therefor the battle between faith and reason is on one side and emotion and imagination on the other."  Further he says, "I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his (or her) best reasoning tells them that the weight of the evidence is against it.  That is not the point at which Faith comes in.  But supposing a one's reason once decides that the weight of the evidence is for it.  I can tell that person what is going to happen to them in the next few weeks.  The emotions can rise up at anytime and carry out a sort of blitz on their belief...I am talking about moments when a mere mood can rise up against it.  Faith is holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods."
  This writing reminds me of the last video blog I did a few weeks back when I talked about a particular chapter in Robert A. Schuller's book, "Leaning Into God...." and how it is so easy to accept God's gift of life and blessings when things are going good.  In fact we often take God for granted in the 'good' times. At the same time when the painful things of life come up (and they will) it is so easy to blame him or turn away from him.   We can accept, reject, or measure our faith depending on our circumstances.  I think these are the some of the "moods" C.S. Lewis was referring to.  He also points out that "when he was an atheist he had moods where Christianity looked terribly probable."   How interesting!
A few years back Robert and I had lunch with an entire table of Noble Laureate scientists.  This group of all men consisted of astro-physicists and mathematicians, all who had been awarded the coveted prize at some time in their careers.  We were the only ones at the lunch table who had not received this esteemed prize and  naturally when we sat down we were asked, "what do you do?"  The conversation became very interesting from there and the one thing I will never forget is where the faith discussion took us.   Even though almost all of them were professed atheists not a single one of them would say he knew for sure that the heavens and earth was NOT created by God!   This brings me back to Lewis' writing and his thesis that he believes most people think of believing in God as passing an exam which proves he exists.   He goes on to say that once you are a Christian you need to take that thinking and "blow it to bits" and he says that after that some people will believe Christianity is a failure and give up.   "God has been waiting for the moment at which you discover that there is no question of earning a pass mark in this exam, or putting Him in your debt."  
I say it this way, you believe because you decide to believe and you go from there.  It doesn't have to be a radical conversion like Saint Paul's either.  Mine was not that way.   Once I recognized the power and comfort I could have by not only believing but practicing my faith,  the evidence for my belief continued to grow stronger.  One goes on to develop faith by reading the Bible, joining a small group of other Christians,  and going to worship in public places.
Your life will be more fulfilled once you make the decision to believe that God is real and can be your partner through the ups and downs of life.   I am not saying that your life will necessarily be less troubled or that you will never doubt.  Doubt is where faith really comes into play.  It is okay to question and wonder.  You can even get angry, yell,  or curse at God.   He can handle it much better than your best friend, your spouse,  your boss, your employer, or your kids.   If you do not yet have an active and committed faith I want to challenge you to make the decision to start trusting God with your life today.  What do you have to lose?   Remember that there is no passing or failing with God.  He only asks that you work on developing a close relationship with Him.  Start where you are today.   And always remember...
God IS blessing you always,  Donna

13 comments:

  1. A long night, and was just reading your blog for some inspired reading. Great topic on faith.

    To me, faith is the belief or the trust in truth.

    And one of my favorite quotes is from Second Corinthians 5:7 Where Paul says..."We walk by faith not by sight" and it tends to verify the truth in what kinds speaks through-out the scriptures of trusting in Him...walking in faith.

    Is that what he wants, I kept asking myself, as I was searching. And found my answers.

    Moreover, to me, the evidence of life after death or even in God or in other interpretation's of what some atheists are searching for is in a higher being or some would say a God or even in God(s). Developing that evidence is really not to difficult...on television and by blogs some post higher spirit pictures...evidence. That in itself proves an afterlife at some level or degree. As long as the pictures are not fake and authenticated.

    And there are also other well documented Angel pictures even established at the Holy Vatican. In doing some of my research, most, would say angel pictures would be chosen for other interpretations of delivering divine messages. There is a lot of proof, but yet an antsiest still walks by sight. No Trust or belief in a God.

    As I was growing up, I had always looked at the human body and Earth. To me, it was a no brainier...lol That it was designed by an art form, a science, and not by chance. That simplicity of evidence still is mid boggling to me, on what people choose to believe or not believe. Walking by sight in total darkness...

    For me, trusting in him and walking by faith...

    A great blog...it was very thought provoking and inspired. Thank you, Look forward in reading your blogs more.

    Blessing's & keep up the great blogs!
    Al

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  2. You told some good points Donna. – Now in my words what FAITH can mean. - FAITH is to believe in something that’s unseen. Believe that God is around in our tears and your laughter. - Obstacles are here that we reflect our lifes and that we can do what God has called us to do or to be; to discover more of our talents. I know when we are depressed and others let us down, are treating us bad, job boss/es, some people we meet at the grocery store in the street during a walk in the nature etc. or even people we thought they are our friends. For me that means to look in my body and have a serious talk with myself. Whay happened that, is it my fault, is it because of the others, being selfish or just because they are not satisfied with their lifes and they pour their frustration on others. Then I can come in prayer to our Lord and Sevior and first thank him for everything He is doing for me and that he opened (with obstacles) my eyes (I pray like that) and then ask him what can I do better in my life and listen carefully to his respond. All that is unseen FAITH. I go quite often to our Pentacostal church. First we worship Jesus with songs and are in prayer. That’s also a kind of thank Him for that he is with us what ever might happen in our lifes. – Last Sunday the subject of the sermon was ”worship”. Maybe we can discuss it here as well?! Blessings, Rose

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  3. What you have written Donna
    has really got me thinking.
    I am so glad and thankful that
    I have a faith particularly early last year when it was discovered that I had breast cancer. It was discovered about 2 months ago that the breast cancer has not spread to
    my other breast. For this I
    am very thankful

    God bless you all
    Barbie M

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  4. Faith is a great topic Donna. There is so many ways to go forth with strong conviction. Over the years my Faith has been tested and rejoiced. I always know that there will be times when it is really hard but I have faith in myself that I will never let go and give up . I like the prayer Footprints in the sand. The Lord's replie is so true.
    The Lord said. My precious child. I love you, and I would never leave you during your times of trails and suffering.
    When you saw only one set of footprints,
    It was then that I carried you. I think when things go bad we always have doubts and questions. And in time I usualy can see why things have happened . I have felt the presence of the Lord at some bad scary times with my son. And I know he has heard my prayers.
    God Bless Everyone Cysradill

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  5. For me, as many I think, Life has placed me in a quandry at times; how could HE have let it happen,etc? Eventually, I realized HE did not cause what I perceived as horrific and accepted that HE does "carry us through" whatever and once we calm down, we can put all of life in balance and then I see there has been a much greater positiveness in life, than negativity.

    Faith for me is accepting that HE will lead us or carry us and though I will stumble HE will help me up!

    He is blessing all
    Jan-Michael

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  6. Hi Everyone,
    I am enjoying your posts and thoughts...thank you!
    Many of you have had to rely on God and your faith in Him and in His promises. I appreciate your continued sharing. God is blessing you, Donna

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  7. Donna,
    Your blogs keep getting better and better! I have had times in my life when something bad has happened and I have doubted God because a prayer wasn't answered in the way I thought it should be. I have had times when I didn't feel like God was with me. But during those times friends or family would help or a stranger would say something that made me feel that God was trying to reach me to show that he does care and is with me even if I don't feel it. I do believe that God keeps trying to reach out to us during the moments when we doubt our faith.

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  8. One more thought, Donna

    In all of life's ups and downs, no matter what, I want to wake or go off to sleep knowing :

    For
    All
    I
    Thanked
    HIM

    as best I could in word or deed

    Jan-Michael

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  9. To last post, a Post Script please

    PS I take from you and from Robert's books "giving thanks even after bad times", in the sense that HE will not have caused a bad time but will somehow lead us through or show us how to use the bad experience to help us or to help others...J-M

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  10. Blessed Easter, Everybody. Rose

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  11. The same to you and everyone else on this blog. Have a wonderful Easter and I hope everyone is surrounded by family and lots of good food.

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  12. Happy Easter To Everyone.
    When we think of how Christ suffered for us on Good Friday and then rose again on Sunday. I know I must thank the Lord Jesus for the enormours sacrifice and the burden of the cross he did for us Good Friday is the day you died for us. Then he rose again on Sunday so we could be happy .
    Blessing Everyone . Cysradill

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