Faith (noun): complete trust or confidence in someone or something
Over the last 2 weeks, our bible study group has been dissecting and absorbing everything we can get from Hebrews 11:1, which says:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
This is one of my favourite verses in the bible regarding faith because unless you truly trust God, it's really hard to grasp how faith works to realise the things that we see in the physical. I learnt so much about how others applied this particular definition of faith that I had to share with everyone. In order to get a deeper understanding of what this verse meant, we used the method of pulling out keywords and defining those individually and applying it again in the context of the verse. We also shared some personal experiences of how our faith had manifested things we desired so I encourage you as you read this post, reflect on your own experiences and realise that God is always working in your life even when you don't see it! So here's some of what we discussed:
Faith is a catalyst: I have to admit, when I first heard this, I felt like a lightbulb went off (on) in my head. I always thought of faith as a 'key' that unlocked the things being kept behind a door for me and the idea of faith as a catalyst pleased me to no end! A catalyst is defined as a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction. The bible talks about faith being a substance...get it? When faith is thrown into our prayers and other acts inspired by faith, how could we possibly not get what God intends for us?!
Faith requires vision: One of the things the group agreed on was that in order to 'see' the 'reality' of the things we hoped for, we needed to be able to see what we hope for! What this simply means is that when we have a desire for something, we must envision the thing we desire and as we apply our faith to our vision, it produces through the power of God, that thing we desire! In his book, The Fourth Dimension, Dr Yonggi Cho describes how he pictured the exact bicycle he wanted, detailing every feature and specification, praying and believing until he got that exact bike! Which brings me to my next point...
Be specific: The bible tells us to ask and we shall receive. Now, in asking, we must first be sure of the desires we have, ensuring they are aligned with the will of God for our lives. In case we're not sure, we simply pray for the will of God to be done in our lives and trust the plans God has for us.
Seek God's assurance: It may not always be easy to have faith 100% of the time but it's possible with God. The 2nd part of Hebrews 11:1 says faith is the evidence (assurance in NIV) of the things we do not see. What this simply means is that God can show us the things He is going to do. In fact, He often does in ways we may not expect and so we dismiss it. Jesus's presence with Peter on the water was all he needed but why did he start to sink? Even when he had the assurance?
Focus on God: The answer to the question above is that Peter took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm around him. The purpose of faith is to strengthen our trust and confidence in God so when we grow it becomes second nature to rely on Him. The bible tells us not to focus on things of the earth, but focus on things above; this means that we focus on the things God shows us and tells us because oftentimes, the things God show us might look contrary to what we can see in the physical world.
There were so many other things we discussed that cannot be captured on here but I encourage you to reflect on this verse and let God speak to you. We have all been given a measure of faith and the question to ask is, are we really tapping into the full capacity of the faith we have? Even if it is as small as a mustard seed...