In its essence true Christian faith is a TOTAL RELIANCE upon GOD which CLEARS THE WAY FOR HIM to fulfil His purpose for His people and through His people.
But many may ask what are these purposes of God?
In my opinion God wants to form His people so that their characters reflect His own loving kindness and faithfulness. He wants to make His people His instruments so that He can touch and speak to others through them. God also wants to teach His people to pray in such a way that moves His hand to guide circumstances that are beyond their control.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn amount many brothers.” (Rom 8, 28-29)
Many people think that faith is something they have to work up in themselves or something difficult they have to strive for so that they may be able to receive anything from God! That is far from the truth! Faith is not a task, a hurdle, or an obligation. God gave us the capacity for faith so that He will make things easy for us to receive. How would a little child feel if he thought he had to scrub the floor and wash the bathroom so that he might dare ask his mother for a piece of bread? No, he trusts his parents because he knows they love him and that they are stronger and richer then he is so they would certainly give him a piece of bread when he needs it.
If you ask many people to define faith they would tell you that faith is a leap in the dark. Also this is a fallacy. Faith is a response to God’s revelation of His own nature and plan. We see this very clearly in the account of Abraham. We all know the story how God promised Abraham that he will prosper and his children will be as many as the sand on the seashore (Gen 22, 17). That was the promise that God made to him. Then God tells Abraham to immolate his son Isaac. Now we all know how hard it was for him to have Isaac, but God was now telling him to kill him? Now why do we call Abraham the father of Faith? We should call him the father of obedience.
As we see in Hebrews 11, 4 we call him the father of faith because he had faith that God would keep His word, that if God said it, it is so. Even if God told him to kill his son, his son will live, because God had told Him that the promise will be fulfilled through Isaac. In fact in Gen 22 Abraham tells Isaac that God will provide the sacrifice, and Abraham named the mountain (Mount Moriah) ‘God provides’.
This is a reminder for us that since God’s nature is consistent and His word is faithful, men can count on Him to act in the future as he has acted in the past!
Let us look at an example; the woman who was healed of haemorrhaging:
“…and a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she got worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak.” (Mark 5, 25 – 27)
This woman had heard about Jesus. She asked about Him, she heard others recount the stories of His miracles and healings. This was indeed the man she needed. For her, stretching out her hand to touch His garment and expecting to be healed was Not a ‘blind’ leap.On the contrary, it was a supremely Rational act based on her knowledge of Jesus’ nature, desires and purposes.
You may be saying, but How Can I Know God’s Nature, His Desires and Purposes?
God’s universally binding promises:
The Scriptures contain many such promises with clearly stated conditions. For example:
We read that God gives His Holy Spirit to all those who ASK Him. [Lk 11,13]
We find that God forgives the sins of those who Confess their sins. [1 Jn 1,9]
God gives eternal life to those who BELIEVE in JESUS CHRIST. [Jn 3, 16]
One does not have to beg for eternal life. He has only to believe in JESUS.
The personal promptings of the Holy Spirit:
You see, since God lives within you if you are Christian you should expect some direct personal communication from Him. Sometimes we might get clear words in our mind or an inner conviction that God is saying something. Audible messages and actual visions are rare but should not be ruled out.
Sometimes the Spirit might lead you to speak to someone, or to pray for someone, or to pray immediately, or even to send a book to someone.
Christians should respond in faith to promptings like these.
Sometimes you may make mistakes – we all do, but the more you obey the more you will learn to discern the voice of God speaking within your spirit.
An understanding of God’s Nature:
The Bible reveals to us God’s mercy and compassion for men, but sometimes you are faced with a situation that is NOT directly covered by a specific word in Scripture, and you might not get a direct leading from the Holy Spirit, but you feel that God, in His loving kindness would want to act.
Although we might not have a promise for receiving healing every time we pray, or although we might not have a clear word of knowledge about whether God wants to heal a specific disease at a particular time, we can still turn to God in prayer basing our faith on God’s goodness and mercy, and still receive answers to our prayer.
There are 3 kinds of faith; Faith as the DOCTRINE we accept to believe in, Trusting faith or faith as the FRUIT of the Spirit, and Mountain-Moving faith.
Mark 11 “Have faith in God” in it’s litteral translation is “Have the faith of God”.
Therefore you see we depend on the Faith of Jesus, we can move in miracles because he did it already and he said that we will do greater things than He did.
This leads us to next important point That FAITH is ACTIVE.
Faith is always an ACTION you take whether to wait on God or to move a mountain. You can’t keep it to yourself, your relationship will show, your roots will develop the fruit, people will know, people will ask, and if they don’t you will tell them.
If you are asking ‘how can I grow in faith?’
Paul tell us in Romans 10, 17 “faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of Christ.”
His word has power, His word opens your eyes, His word gives you strength. Be in God’s presence, go to Mass, stay with people that have more faith then you.
But be with God, have a relationship; just going to church is not enough.