“Faith is the … substance of things hoped for…” Hebrews 11:1
I love this definition. It’s transformational. Faith is the ability to see the unseen. It is a sight to the unknown, a vision to the uncertain. It is a light to the dark, a substance to the empty expanse, a meaningful pursuit to a meaningless world.
The indwelling sin in me daily battles the regenerate, throwing darts of uncertainties and cowardice to thwart certain steps of boldness. It’s a daily battle to ask myself, will I give in? Will I be affected? Will I stop trusting You on this? This is a daily occurrence, and I believe it is happening to everyone. Those who deny are not telling the truth.
I realize that our hearts are feeble and vulnerable. The Bible says that “…and so death passed unto all men, for that all have sinned.” We have inherited the dark power. We have received the faithlessness of Adam, especially his wavering belief to the commands of the Maker. “Did God really say?,” are the words instilled by the Serpent to Eve, as well as to our hearts until today.
We live in a world that lacks genuine faith. It’s a world pre-programmed to live by sight. “The natural man receives not the things of faith… ” We are naturally born to believe our OWN WAY. Our theme song is I Did it My Way. In other words, we are organically inclined to live the life of unbelief to the ideas presented to us by the Author.
I don’t say that the world lacks faith. I buy to the proposal that every man has faith. All men have faith. All men believe on something. The faithless still has faith. Even atheism requires faith. This video from Prager University explains it:
But Hebrews 11:1 is an oasis to a parched desert. It quenches the thirst. It mobilizes the weary. It empowers the faint-hearted.
Faith is a deep belief that a certain principle is stable. It is a deep-seated reliance on a certain thinking, believing that it will pull you through the uncertainties of life and will lift you up when you stumble. Faith is having the evidence even when you don’t see it. The world says, “to see is to believe,” faith says “to believe is to see.”
Faith is inseparable from ideas. Faith is attracted to ideas. Faith dwells in the mind. Faith that we hold is called conviction. The set of convictions where the mind is locked in a certain period of time is called schema. As we grow older, we adopt a variety of convictions. We drift along the passage of life forming scheme along the way.
One of the most ground-breaking seeds in terms of faith is a field called college. The worldviews that we adopt in this period of life have a lingering effect to our adult and sunset years. But there are exceptions of course.
The more I recall the definition in Hebrews 11:1, the more I bask at its meaning and the more I am exposed to the reality and failures of the human heart. It’s like a mirror showing me the wrong side of my resemblance.
As humans, we fall short of its definition. I met people who, without ceasing, see the negative views in everything and coil back in retreat. Weak and faint hearts are produced without the potency of this verse. We need faith, indeed. But the fact is that the natural heart cannot produce faith within the divine and irresistible intervention. It must be given [Romans 10:17, Eph. 2:8-10].
The Hebrews 11:1 definition uplifts and pierces at the same time. It produces flashbacks in my mind containing the countless times I have been faithless, leading me to remorse and ultimately, to repentance. I have been faithless in a gazillion ways, shamefully faithless a lot of times, and for sure will be faithless in certain days in the future.
But faith keeps me up every moment I wake up each day, empowering to press on, to move, to go… giving assurance that life is on a stable foundation because of the sure set of beliefs we hold, because of a solid rock we stand on- which is the Word of God Himself. This is the work of faith in the heart. This will be the work that we want to be continuously propagated to the world in the coming days. We all want stability in life. Surety is a vital component in life and in everything. There is the answer.
When I was in college, there’s a form in the school registrar that inquires, “Name of supporter.” Like other students, I always write: “God or Jesus.” When I had an interview with the treasurer, he saw my answer and said, “Yes, by faith you believe that God provides, but faith must be shown by works.” I thought that he may wanted me to write other people’s name instead of God alone. I munched to those words for some time. Then I realized what he wanted to convey.
Faith is not merely a blind confidence where you do nothing and just declare that something will happen. Faith is believing on a principle and taking action to follow it. I heard stories where people have no food, and they just gathered around the table and prayed, and then someone knocked and gave them food. I think this is inspiring, but I don’t think this happens every time. Faith is following principles and believing these Principles will produce fruit.
Faith is necessary to sustain a person in an atmosphere of good belief.
Faith is a Seed. The Parable of the Mustard Seed is a champion of this idea. Christ crafted a parable before the crowd, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
The kingdom of heaven is an Idea. John 1:1 says that “In the beginning was the Logos (Word/Idea) and the Idea was with God, and the Idea was God.” That Idea came into the world as a human. Some rejected, some received. That Idea grew mightily. That Idea conquered the Roman Empire, and even the world today.
This means that faith could start small just like that small Baby in Bethlehem’s manger. We could also possess that Idea. No matter how small it is, if that Idea is from above, it will grow for sure.
Both history and present circumstances prove this. Christianity started as a small sect in Israel 2,000 years ago, and until now it has endured. The Protestant Reformation started as a seed, propagated by the Pre-reformers such as Wycliffe and Huss, nurtured by Luther and brave personalities like the Puritans. It conquered kingdoms. It endured centuries. “…and birds come and make nests in its branches” represents the ungodly personalities who take advantage of this full-grown tree. It symbolizes the unbelieving who build their homes upon the foundations by which Reformation and Christianity have laid.
So no matter how small our faith is, as long as it is a genuine mustard seed, we can be confident that it will grow through time. Yes, birds may come, abusers and enemies could try to destroy, but the Master Husbandman never fails to take care of his vineyard, never forsakes what He has planted, never fails to leave you.
I graduated from a seminary in the Philippines. The word seminary came from the word “semen” which means seed. In medical terms, it means “a reproductive fluid containing spermatozoa.” This means that seminaries are like nurseries. Graduates carry seeds with them ready to be planted in other locations. The quality of the seed will determine the quality of the future institutions.
The internet is another seedbed. It is a marketplace of ideas. It is a propagator of beliefs. How the internet is populated will determine the future of a generation.
Not all seeds are good. As I’ve said, college is one big nursery field. The graduates of schools are used to determine the future of a country. The parable of wheat and tares supports this. Not all seeds planted are “wheat” which means beneficial. There will be tares or unuseful weeds.
In life, the more “wheat” seeds we hold, the more useful and fruitful our life becomes. If a certain belief that we hold is a “tare” which means worthless, the harvest is coming and we will suffer loss. We will be like the unwise man who built his house on the sand. All our assets will be lost if our foundation is false.
Time is a great tester of belief systems. No falsehood will endure the test of time. Socialism and Communism failed in USSR, Germany and recently in Cuba. The Greek gods were the wonders of the world before, people die for Zeus, but now only considered mythology.
The untrue will never survive the test of time. Only truth endures forever. Tares are said to be “thrown into the everlasting fire.” So it’s better that early on in life, one would cling to good seeds. The better seeds, the better will be the fruits. The Husbandman or the Vineyard Owner says, “by their fruits you shall know them.”
A good seed Faith produces fruitfulness in the uncertain future. Faith is the tool to thrive.
Faith is a Sword. The way and the only way to defeat the giants of fear, doubts, insecurities, impatience, pride, bitterness and many others is faith. It is the Sword to slay our giants daily. Did someone offend you and you can’t forgive? Did someone cause you to doubt? Did I become insecure or covetous of someone else’s possessions? I need faith. We need to demand for faith. I believe that the more people who will realize this need, the more churches and Biblical teachings will be sought for. The problem is that many people don’t know the solution, or worse, don’t know the problem. The more we feed our faith, the stronger our Sword is, and the more victorious we will be. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word… [Romans 10:17]. I agree that this is true. Only by this weapon we can defeat the cosmic enemies that plague our hearts.
The underlying motto of humanity is to see is to believe. But faith is the opposite- it is to believe is to see. I look around and we see many things, we also do not see many things.
Faith produces boldness. The future belongs to the bold and brave. Those who leap by faith and conquer the uncertainties of life will remain holding on to the weapons of God’s Word.
We see problems, pain, sufferings around. We may not see solutions, comforts, and dreams. But we can see something that does not exist yet. We can believe something that you hope to happen. This is faith. Faith is a firm belief on an idea that you know is reliable and trustworthy. Faith is a reliance on a Word or a promise. A society full of faith is a society filled with fulfilled promises. A society that is faithless is a boulevard of broken promises. Faith is put your confidence on a principle. Ultimately, it is to put your trust on a Person. It is to rely on a sworn oath or allegiance. It is staying true to one’s promises. You may not see the result of trusting that notion, but you are confident of this very thing that as you sustain yourself on that path, you will have the assurance, the covenant, the promise and the protection of the covenant-Keeper.
The opposite of faith is fear and worry. If we invest on faith by hearing Good Words or the Gospel, we will find ourselves conquering fear and worry. It’s mysterious, even miraculous. But it is a tested and proven reality in history that a man of faith is a man of courage. Cowardice is a fruit of faithlessness.
Faith is the tool to overcome fear and worry and produce courage in order to thrive.