Ep.1042: How Does Faith Actually Work?
Defining, applying and tracking the growth of true Christian faith
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Theme Scripture: James 2:20
Faith is awe-inspiring in its transformative power, reassuring in its calming ability and provides powerful contentment as we apply it daily. Faith is also one of the most misunderstood, misrepresented and maligned aspects in all Christianity. It is too easily confused with ignorant hope, and as a result, is easily dismissed by its detractors as a little fantasy in the limited minds of those who are believers. What is faith – really? How does it work? Is Christian faith the same as having trust in other people? Does it equate to the kind of trust you would have in a doctor or an attorney to act in your best interest? Are we given Christian faith as a gift or is it something that we have to develop?
To see how it actually works, it is important to pause and consider what faith is not. It is not gullibility. It is not wishful thinking. It is not emotional euphoria, and it is not magically planted into one’s heart and mind. These four things are what so many believe it to be, and they could not be further from the truth. On the contrary, faith IS belief based on evidence - not wishful thinking - but evidence. It does spur one on to hope based on that belief and is grounded on understanding and reason rather than emotion. Faith brings trust, and trust changes lives. There are Scriptures that tell us faith is a gift. This seems to imply that you don’t have to do anything except receive this gift and let your life be transformed. If only it was that easy!
There are three basic phases to its development. The first phase is being acquainted, and this is where the gift comes into play. Someone gives us the gift of introducing us to “the faith.” Our eyes can now be open to understanding the basics of the gospel. This gift brings us to a place of thinking and questions, and it encourages us to pursue the answers. This phase can be exciting, if acted upon, as the newness and broad message of love the gospel carries begins to be revealed. Here we have an opportunity to decide whether we are "pleased to make faith’s acquaintance" or would rather just move on in life without it.
There is a problem with faith. It will not flourish unless it is provoked to grow beyond the acquaintance stage. Unfortunately, many people who make faith's acquaintance end up living their Christian lives content to have been introduced and take it no further. In this condition, faith more and more relies upon feelings to keep it relevant, and that is a formula for failure. Check out our October 8, 2018 podcast, “How Does Faith Actually Work?” As we mentioned earlier, there are three phases through which faith must grow for it to be the life-changing attribute it is capable of becoming. Knowing these three phases can help us find the keys to living - truly living - our faith!