Faith is…

The Verse of the Day for July 26, 2019, introduces a scripture that has become a keystone of my life.

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT):

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Here is the more familiar (at least to me)  King James Version:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen:

As a sophomore in high school, I memorized this verse along with Hebrews 11:6 as the text for my first Bible teaching. Since that time, faith has become a life-sustaining factor. Last year I published Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs, where I shared my holistic strategy in response to being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. Chapter 6 offers an extended definition of faith and talks of its importance in my life. Here is an excerpt from “The Faith Factor: Without faith it is impossible. . .”:

Watchman Nee, early 20th Century church leader and teacher in China, describes the life of each believer in this way: “The Christian journey, from start to finish, is a journey of faith.” As we journey through life, we encounter challenges designed to build our faith. As believers, we are on a journey that takes us from faith to faith, glory to glory, and victory to victory as we pursue the will of God for our lives.

Romans 1:17 reminds us of this truth:

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Throughout my encounter with prostate cancer, I was keenly aware of the importance of faith, in that this diagnosis challenged me to go to God and seek His guidance and direction as never before. In reflecting on the unfolding circumstances since that time, I recall being asked to write an article sharing what faith meant to me. Here is an excerpt:

Faith—the bedrock of my life

To build a magnificent mansion that will last a lifetime, the builders must begin with a solid foundation. Similarly, to build a purposeful life of success and fulfillment, we must establish a firm foundation upon which we build. For me, faith is the bedrock of life. I define faith as confident assurance, trust and conviction in God that I will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” — operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Faith is a Sine qua non—that without which there is nothing. Faith is the indispensable ingredient in a successful Christian life. The Scriptures remind us that “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him. For he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

In the midst thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!” Voices shout “You can’t” but faith proclaims, “I can, and I will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than you can number, faith gives you the courage to try one more time.

Faith is tenacious—you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says, “No way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”

In terms of illustrations of faith, we find excellent examples from the Bible. We begin with Abraham, “the father of faith,” who did not stagger at the promise of God that he should become the father of many nations, with descendants without number. Despite the circumstances of this hundred-year-old man with a barren wife of comparable age, Abraham grew strong and was empowered by faith. Hebrews 11 recounts the triumphs of men and women of faith in what has become known as the “Hall of Faith.”

Aside from the Bible, we can glean from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. Notable examples are the Wright Brothers and countless others, who persevered in faith to accomplish the impossible. We are also surrounded by “real heroes” who live by faith each day to make a difference.

Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible. Indeed, as Christian believers, faith is our solid foundation. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, when the storms of life approach, if we have laid a firm foundation, the house that we build will stand, for faith is our sure foundation.

Each chapter concludes with an original poem, and here is the poem featured at the end of the chapter on faith:

By Faith

Look at the proud; his soul is not straight or right within him, but the [rigidly] just and the [uncompromisingly] righteous man shall live by his faith and in his faithfulness.

Habakkuk 2:4 [Amplified Bible]

The practical aspect of faith is a walk, a lifestyle:
Moment by moment, we walk by faith, not by what we see,
Knowing that this kind of faith propels us to victory.
Even though some may misunderstand and seek to revile,
The shield of faith counters fiery darts of the enemy’s thrust.
We trust God, despite all the hinderer might do or say.
Being fully persuaded, we learn to trust and obey.
We persist and obey signs of our perpetual trust,
For faith directly reflects our relationship with the Lord.
Walking from victory to victory will not seem odd,
For true faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.
For whatever we desire according to the Word,
We shall have when we pray and put our trust in the Lord.
We know the Scriptures mean what they say and say what they mean:
Faith—substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen.

Keith and Krystin Getty offer “By Faith,” a song of praise to capture the essence of the message:

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2 Responses to “Faith is…”

  1. Ron Bouchard Says:

    I loved that you quoted Watchman Nee. He is my favorite Christian author. His book “The Spiritual Man” was very influential in my life. There are many other books from him that are actually transcripts of sermons he preached and lessons he taught. I own all of them! I wish more Christian’s knew of him today. Powerful teaching.
    Thank you,
    Ron

    • Dr. J Says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I was introduced to Watchman Nee way back in the day when I was a new believer in the late 60s. I recall “The Normal Christian Life” “Sit, Walk,Stand” and other works which were life-changing for me, especially the lyrics to the song “Let Me Love and Not Be Respected.” I am glad to know we have a mutual admiration and respect for this great unsung hero of the Christian faith. Thanks for the like.

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