Hebrews 11 begins with these words, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The writer of Hebrews then goes on to write what is often called the “Hall of Faith.” He quickly recounts the stories of those who walked in faith through many different circumstances.
Faith is not the lack of something, it is the presence of something.
Faith is not the lack of doubt, question, or struggle.
Faith is the presence of belief with substance and conviction in spite of circumstance.
Faith is often questioned because a person has questions. Moses had questions. So many, he finally just asked God to send someone else. Faith is often doubted when someone has a doubt. Abraham and Sarah had doubts. Sarah laughed when they were told of the promise of a child to come. Faith is often struggled with because struggles are faced in life. David faced many struggles. Some of David’s struggles were the result of Saul’s sin and some the result of his own. Yet each of these is in the “hall of faith.”
Faith is belief with substance; belief that has some consistency to it. Faith that not only causes thoughts or opinions, but faith that changes attitudes and actions. Faith is belief in spite of the circumstances. Belief that is consistent no matter the crowd you are with, the financial situation you are in, or the pressures you face.
Faith is more than simply believing what you know about Jesus. Faith is belief in Jesus, Himself. It is more than trusting in the facts as they have been told. Faith is belief in the person that has been told of. Faith is not something you show up to church to express. Faith is something that is expressed with our mouths and through our lives every day, no matter what we face in life that day.
Often faith is a struggle or is questioned or doubted because we find ourselves in a particularly difficult season spiritually. These types of seasons are typically experienced for two reasons: testing and tempting.
James 1:1-15 is a great passage about testing and temptation. The two words have very different meanings in their original language, yet we often confuse them in our spiritual lives.
God tests us. He does not tempt us.
Test means to put to trial. Something is put to trial to see that it works; not to see it fail. A new product is put to trial with great expectation and hope of success. The interesting thing about this test is that the test giver does not need to see the results of the test, the test taker does.
God doesn’t test you so He can know if you have faith. He already knows. He does it so YOU can know you have faith.
Tempt means to put out to trap. James tells us temptation is the result of our own evil desires. The source of temptation is within, yet, there is also an adversary who uses these evil desires to persuade us away from God.
We all face struggles, doubts, and questions. The source of these circumstances can be God testing us or ourselves tempting us. Faith is the substance of belief that pervades both and prevails through them all.