What does the Bible say about faith?
I remember hesitantly attending a worship night in college when I was in the process of trying to obey God when I really didn't want to, you know the feeling.
He had made it clear through many avenues what it seemed like I should do, but I just didn't believe it was possible. We're all friends here, so I can tell you that I showed up to that worship night, ducking in a row with a few college classmates hoping that I could just slip by without encountering God.
Of course, God got my attention instead.
That night one of the worship songs was the song "Give me faith," and it brought me to tears. I realized that while I had noticed what God wanted me to do, I was so hesitant to obey because I just didn't believe it was possible. I was distracted by my own excuses, doubts and fears because I had faith–but my faith wasn't placed in God.
That night I realized a few things:
1. When we don't feel like we have faith in God, it's because our faith is in something else. We all have faith–it's just a matter of where we put it.
2. I could sing and pray, "give me faith," because faith is a gift. God gives us faith, and He can increase our faith in Him.
In case you're curious, I did end up being obedient to what I was so hesitant about at the time, and not only did God come through on His promise to me, but He also increased my faith in the process.
So, what does the Bible say about faith?
Faith is a gift
"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it" (Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT).
If we were to trace the origins of faith, we would find that faith originates with God. Like all other gifts He has given us like relationships, financial provision, talents, and hopes and dreams–He has given those gifts to us and entrusted us to steward them. Maybe you've always known that faith is a gift, maybe you even have this verse memorized.
But have you ever asked yourself how you're stewarding your faith?
Maybe you've thought of this in an evangelical sense–you know you want to share your faith with others and spread the good news of the gospel. Incredible! Go do that, but also, look into your own heart and consider how you're stewarding your faith.
Faith should grow
Have you grown in faith in the time that you have followed God? When faced with a similar difficult circumstance years later, do you have the same amount of faith in God as you did before, or do you feel more confident in His ability, more willing to surrender and rely on Him?
Throughout the Bible, we see that healthy things grow, and in the natural world we know this to be true. Just like we water and take care of plants in a garden to help them stay healthy and grow, this can be our approach to our faith.
Colossians 2:7 says, "Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness."
Steward your faith. Grow your faith. Ask God to increase your faith.
Faith is visible
In the new testament, we see Jesus talk about faith a lot. Sometimes, I think people can manipulate this or feel hurt when they don't experience breakthrough
in their life and wonder, "is it because I didn't have enough faith?"
That's a big question, but the short answer is no. Unanswered prayers have a lot more going on than just faith, but I think it's important to notice faith simply because Jesus noticed it all the time.
He told people they had, "little faith," and pointed this out to help them grow their faith. He also noticed when people had incredible faith. He would notice faith and remark, "your faith has healed you." (Matthew 9:22 NIV)
Remember–faith is a gift from God. So this makes sense; having faith in God can result in healing, because God gave us faith as a gift in the first place.
I heard a pastor once talk about faith and how he believed God has a personality, and one of God's personality traits would be getting excited about faith.
Faith draws us near to God when we respond to His gift of faith. Like the prodigal son returning home, when we turn away from self-reliance and instead place our faith in God, He notices.
Faith is seen by God.