What is faith? “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1.” Confidence in what we hope for…the definition of the word confidence is “the feeling or belief that we can rely on someone or something; firm trust.” We feel, believe, rely, and have firm trust in what we hope for. The word feel means to “experience an emotion or sensation.” Believe means “accept something as true.” Rely is to “depend on with full trust or confidence,“and trust means “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” And what does hope mean? It means “a feeling of trust.”
When looking at just the beginning of this short verse and breaking down the definitions it is amazing to see how it all goes back to trust. Notice that the definition for trust begins with “firm belief,” firm means “strongly felt and unlikely to change” and belief is accepting something as true. Ultimately, the first half of Hebrews 11:1 means faith is strongly believing in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. Wow! This is powerful stuff. THAT someone or something is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the King of Kings!
Now let’s break down the second half of that same verse, “assurance about what we do not see.” The definition for the word assurance is “a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise.” Do you know what promise means? It means “a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen.” And just to clarify the word declaration is “a formal or explicit statement or announcement.” The last half of Hebrews 11:1 is summed up as a formal promise even when we can not see it. Remember that the word promise means you can be certain that a particular thing will be done. So faith is firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, and strength of God and we have His formal promise that it will happen even though we may not see it. Right now you’re nodding your head in agreement saying that makes sense, that it’s easy enough to understand. Yeah, sure it is when it’s written down and you’re reading it. Not so easy when you have to LIVE it!
In breaking down the Hebrews 11:1 verse it becomes clear that the Lord was stressing the word trust. He wants us to trust Him, to believe He is reliable, truthful, and is able to do what He promises. We say we believe and live by faith, but do we? My personal belief is faith has to be taught and it is taught through the valleys not on the mountain tops. Sadly our human nature tends to believe in things we can see, touch, hear, or smell. And to our shame our human senses are so easily deceived. As I am writing I am thinking about magicians. Magicians are interesting to watch, they seem to defy normal physical abilities when in reality they are only deceivers. Their skill lies in their ability to deceive our natural senses of seeing, touching, hearing, or smelling. I’ve never really thought about it, but no wonder the bible talks about magicians in an unfavorable manner. Leviticus 20:6 ““I will set my face against anyone who consults mediums and wizards instead of me and I will cut that person off from his people. TLB” The Lord wants us to have faith in the truth not deception and He is truth.
At the time of this writing I have been a Christian for 23 years and I still have so much to learn. During my life I have faced some pretty difficult circumstances and I believe that Jehovah was with me always, even before I knew Him (Psalm 139:13). He patiently teaches us to believe, to be obedient, and to have faith (even Jesus had to learn to be obedient, Hebrews 5:8). All three of these things work together, they are intertwined just like the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. When we are in desperate situations and needing a Savior this is when true learning begins. The darker the place we are in the more we need the Light.
Seven years ago I had stage 3 breast cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Towards the end of nearly five months of treatments I began to feel I couldn’t go on. That being alive was too difficult and I would lie in bed and cry. I would cry and say to the Lord that I was sick of being sick. One particular day was extremely difficult and I was having a meltdown. Lying there, weak and sick, feeling utterly useless to my family I was crying and praying. My heart wanted to go home to be with the Lord so badly I couldn’t stand it. Then I felt the room fill with His presence and He covered me with His love. He comforted me and told me that it wasn’t time for me to go home, I needed to be here with my family. He assured me that I would get better and when I am ready He will call me home. Those few moments with Him are treasures in my heart and memory. It is difficult for some to understand, but I would go there now just to feel His presence like that again. I would be that sick, in that much pain, that much sadness to have Him come comfort me like that again.
That my friends was one GIANT lesson in faith for me. Faith is a beautiful thing when truly experienced on the deepest levels. Faith is difficult, not easily learned, and even harder to maintain. We are self-centered focusing only on what WE can do when what we really need to focus on is what HE can do! He promises to be reliable, truthful, and strong ~ even when we don’t see it, just have faith! 🙂
Till Next Time,
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