Faith is the substance of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see. In short, faith is how we act when everything is against us, including our own fickle emotions.
Our being certain of the unseen is reflected in what we do. (James 2:18) There are, of course, times when we do feel certain. At other times, we can only act with certainty, regardless of the emotions running through our hearts and minds.
Faith is a verb, like love. It is a choice we make at each fork in the road, and in fact, it is often the “road less traveled.”
When all we can feel is pain, doubt, fear, and struggle, faith is our obedience to God’s Word.
When we cannot make the income meet the expenses on paper, but we tithe anyway. When there is no time on our calendar, but we make the time for someone in need anyway. When have no patience left with our children, but we act patiently anyway. When we are worn out, but persevere anyway. When we have to address conflict, and are terrified of the response, but we reach out anyway. When we fear to offend, but we speak the truth anyway.
We may feel doubt, unable to see the road in front of our feet, and step out anyway.
We may question, struggle, resist, and even fight, but in the end, we submit anyway.
This is faith.
The good news is that faith builds faith. It won’t always be such a struggle to really believe and lean on our great God. This is a truth I cling to, as I struggle at times with questions that seem to lack answers.
The more we act in faith, regardless of how we feel, the more faith grows in us. The more we do faith, the more we feel faith, and the more our doubt fades away into nothing. The more we step out into the invisible air, heart racing, doubt screaming in our ears, the more our trust is rewarded with relief, help, hope, and even greater faith.
Like Indiana Jones, the seeing in a Christian’s life very often comes only after the believing. And our believing centers on doing. We step out into air, and find our feet landing on solid rock.
What an amazing work the Holy Spirit can do in us, in spite of ourselves!
I share this because it is so easy for us to get wrapped up in self-condemnation for feelings of doubt. Stop doing that! There is now therefore, NO condemnation! Did you act on your doubt, or did you take a deep breath and exercise faith anyway? Then your doubt was shallow, only a feeling. Confess it, give it over to God, and move on to the next test with no baggage. Take the step, no matter how faltering it is, and that little mustard seed of faith you give over to God will be made into a flourshing, deeply-rooted tree, planted by streams of living water. Trust, dear ones, and your faith will grow.
Grace & Peace,