(Be warned this is going to be very stream of conscious.)
What is faith? The standard Bible answer is Hebrews 11, and specifically the first verse:
But I got to wondering after my comment if that really sums it up. Lots of people think faith is when you put aside logic and science and just accept something you intellectually doubt or don’t believe.
I don’t think that is is.
As an aside I’ve been reading a lot of stuff about post-modernism and Christianity and that definition of faith is very modern.
I also used to think faith was that extra little bit when you took all the arguments and saw they all pointed to a God, but you could still doubt it. You took on faith the last little bit.
Don’t think that’s it either.
Today I wondered if God asks us in the Bible to have faith he exists. That will require more research, but normally the kind of faith God asks for is to believe he will do what he promised. This is also more the way we use the word when dealing with people. We say “I have faith in George Bush.” We aren’t saying I believe George Bush exists, we know that because of our experience. We are saying I believe George Bush will do what he said he would, or that we believe he will do the right thing.
And God says that faith is a gift from him “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no-one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
So if we don’t have to have faith for God’s existence, how do we know he is there? As I said to Connie, we do it based on experience.
– A Celebration of Disciple, pg 3, by Richard Foster.
When I said faith was a struggle I mean it is something that never really becomes complete. You will spend the rest of you life on this earth trying to really trust that God will do the various things he promised. And pushing the envelope, trying new things you didn’t believe possible in the past, is the struggle, the journey of faith.
I once read in a book on evangelism – generally taken to be the act of trying to convert someone – that Christians and non-Christians have one thing in common when they talk about evangelism. It makes them both uncomfortable. And boy is that true.
But you know it is not my job as a Christian to get people to come to Jesus (little bit of church speak there). I am commanded to preach the gospel and make disciples. But I don’t convert anyone. God is the one working on people’s heart.
I’m reading Searching for God Knows What right now and the author says being converted is a very much like falling in love. And you don’t talk someone into loving you. You also don’t write theses about why you should to shouldn’t love someone. You write poetry about them.
One of the biggest characteristics of falling in love is it seems to be out of your control. When I met my wife I fell for her pretty fast. We were married in just a few months. The feelings were there and strong, the real question was should spend the rest of our lives together. That was the search for faith in the character of the other person.
I also believe it is the God of love behind human love. That doesn’t mean everyone you feel love for is God’s choice for you. We also need to understand that love is as much an action as a feeling.
I need to go show a little love to my computer addicted son see if I can get his computer working. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this subject soon.