Let's Explore Some Contemporary Ideas About Faith
It is important not to give a contemporary meaning to the word faith. Biblical faith is NOT about believing in magic, spiritualism, leprechauns, the tooth fairy, the Easter rabbit, or Santa Claus. Biblical faith is not putting confidence in family traditions, paranormal phenomena, mythology, or legends.
Many people today confuse biblical faith with wishing something would happen or hoping for the best outcome in a situation. Biblical faith is not about making a wish before you blow out the candles on your birthday cake or wishing on a shooting star.
Some people think that biblical faith is ignoring the problem. They believe that if they ignore the problem it will go away. Faith does not ignore or deny the problem.
Faith is not being stoic in a bad situation or problem. God doesn't want you to have the mental attitude that "it is just my lot in life that I must endure". Faith pleases God not stoicism [Hebrews 11:6].
Other people confuse biblical faith with positive thinking. Maintaining a positive attitude in any situation is a good thing. But positive thoughts about the situation will not necessarily change the situation. True biblical faith is always positive and confident about God and God's ability to change the situation.
Biblical faith doesn't try to appease God or cut a deal with God. You can't work out a deal with someone who builds his city with gold and paves his streets with gold [Revelation 21:18, 21]. What will you give God who says, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool [Isaiah 66:1]. God can not be manipulated into doing anything.
Is your focus and confidence in your goodness and your ability to handle the situation? Or do you look to God and put confidence in God's ability to meet the need?
The Greek words for the English word faith is πιστις pistis. Thayer's Lexicon of Greek Words defines pistis as, "conviction of the truth of anything". In 1 Thessalonians 1:11, the Amplified Bible expands and develops the definition of this Greek word pistis. The last part of the verse reads, "faith which is that leaning of the whole human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness".
Biblical Faith is always based on the Word of God. Your faith that trust and has confidence in God, starts with what God say about your situation or problem [AMP]. Biblical faith is not about your feelings, your thoughts, or what other's believe to be true. Your faith is not based on your past or what someone's else as experienced in the same situation. Faith completely rests on what God says in His Word. True BIBLICAL faith is your positive response to what God has ALREADY done by grace through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10). Your faith is either in Jesus and what He accomplished through his death, burial, and resurrection (Grace) or in yourself and what you do (Works). God through Jesus Christ has ALREADY provided everything you will ever need, this is Grace [Ephesians 2:7-8, Ephesians 1:6, 1 Peter 2:24].
"The just shall live by faith" is a biblical principle [Romans 1:17, Habakkuk 2:4, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38]. Every individual has the choice to place confidence in God or to place confidence in something else.
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden had to live by faith (conviction of the truth) in God's spoken word to them, just as we do today. Every day they made a choice to believe or not to believe what God said to them [Genesis 2:17].
One day in the Garden, they were tempted by a serpent [Genesis 3:1-7]. We know that the serpent was really Satan [Revelation 12:9]. Adam and Eve had a choice to live by faith (confidence) in God's spoken word to them or believe the serpent [Genesis 2:17]. They chose to believe and put confidence in what the serpent said and confidence in their own understanding of the situation [Genesis 3:1-13]. They were wise in their own eyes, they did not acknowledge God in their decision, and consequently they sinned [Proverbs 3:5-7].
We have the same choice as Adam and Eve had. We make the choice every day to live by faith (confidence) in the Bible, God's spoken word to us or believe the serpent.
When you are making a decision what do you focus on? Do you focus your attention on your range of perception [scope], your understanding, or your thoughts about the problem or situation? If you depend on your own understanding; if you are impressed with your own wisdom; and you do not acknowledge God in your decisions; you will sin [Proverbs 3:5-7, NLT]. You will not walk by faith and you will receive the same results that Adam and Eve received.
The Apostle Paul says "for whatsoever is not of faith is sin" [Romans 14:23]. The Amplified Bible states "for whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin [whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful- AMP]. The opposite of faith is sin according to the Word of God [Romans 14:23]. When you are acting in faith you will feel the emotion of trust towards God [Psalms 52:8].
When you are in sin you will feel the emotion of fear [Romans 8:15, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18]. You will fear and hide from God. This what happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden after they sinned? Listen to what Adam said to God after he sinned, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid" [Genesis 3:6-11].
Many people have questions about the word "believe". In James 2:19, it says even the demons [devils] believe in God and tremble! We see from this scripture that demons believe in God, they believe that God exists, and they have a fearful respect for God. But demons are not born again [John 3:3], they are not part of the Kingdom of God [John 3:5], and they do not have eternal life [John 3:15-16]. Demons know that God exists. But they do not put trust or confidence in God, God's Word, or God's Way.
The word believe in John 3:16, is the Greek Word πιστενω pisteuō. According to Thayer's Lexicon of Greek Words, pisteuō means to think to be true, to be persuaded of, and to place confidence in. The question is what do you BELIEVE to be true in your life? What are you persuaded of on this earth? What do you put your confidence in? The answers to those questions are what you really believe and have faith (trust and confidence) in.
Your faith (confidence) should begin with what God say about your situation or problem. Biblical faith is not about your feelings, your thoughts, your past, what others believe to be true, or what someone's else as experienced in the same situation.
The scripture reads, "So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him" [Hebrews 11:6]. True Faith completely rests on what God says in His Word [Romans 10:17].