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God Does Not Need Your Faith to be God – Faith Redefined

By - Funmi Dele-Giwa

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” 

Anyone would be forgiven for believing that without faith it is impossible to receive from God. [1]James 1:6-7 That’s what the writer of the book of James says; that’s what contemporary Preachers, Pastors, Bishops and Evangelists/Televangelists say; that settles it.

The message sent out can be illustrated with this simple scenario. ‘Have faith that God will bless you and demonstrate this faith by sowing a seed. When you do this, God will bless you. If for any reason, you did not receive a blessing after the seed sowing, it is implied that your faith was not strong enough and perhaps your seed was not large enough. Continue this process until you get the desired result.’

The motivation for faith and the subsequent seed sowing can be interchanged with whatever is needed from God. The other variables remain the same. Briefly put, faith by contemporary Christian definition is the basis upon which you can incentivise God to act in any given situation.

Is it not odd that we have come to define God’s capacity to impact a life He created by the belief of the created?

Is it not odd that we have come to define God’s capacity to impact a life He created by the belief of the created? Does this definition not insult His intelligence and make nonsense of clear Biblical examples of God at work in people’s lives, even when such people have demonstrated doubt and uncertainty? Gideon for example asked God for proof twice before he finally decided to obey the instructions of God, and God used him mightily in delivering the Israelites. [2]Judges 6:36-40 While Sarah, well past the age of 90, laughed when she heard that she would have a child. [3]Genesis 18:12-22 She still had the child. Simon Peter asked Jesus to enable him walk on water as proof that Jesus was who he said he was and Jesus still bid Peter to come to Him. [4]Matthew 14:27-29 This same Simon Peter was chosen to be the rock upon which the early church would be formed.

Need I say more? Where God is interested in using you, blessing you or healing you, the size of your belief is of no consequence.

I am not saying that faith is not important. Christ Himself acknowledged the demonstration of faith when he saw it in the centurion. [5]Matthew 8:8-10 Yet, Jesus said that the faith required to do mighty things need only be the size of a mustard seed. [6]Matthew 17: 20; Luke 17:6 However, he identified faith as what the individual was required to demonstrate in order to do great things, not what God or He (Jesus) required from the individual in order to do great things for him/her. As the Psalmist says, [7]Psalm 103:13-14 God knows the framework of the people that He created and Apostle Paul goes further to imply in Romans 12:3 that the measure of a man or woman’s faith is only as God gives that man or woman.

What then is faith?

Come with me to the book of Daniel, to the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three men demonstrated faith in the fact they were ready to go the fiery furnace even if God was not going to save them. [8]Daniel 3:16-18 Faith wasn’t, “we believe God will save us, so we will obey Him and not man.” Instead faith was, “even if God does not intervene and save us, we will still obey Him and not man.” Much like the statement of the prophet Habakkuk, who declared that he would continue to rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of his salvation, though there was drought, famine and lack. [9]Habakkuk 3:17-18

Therefore, the definition of faith comes alive when the outcome is uncertain and the future is unsure; holding on to this God no matter what you see, feel or want….

We all know of Job, the righteous man whose life was turned upside down by trauma and tragedy. Though he moaned, raged and argued his innocence, not once did he give up his faith in the One who made him; refusing to curse God. His refusal, however, was not borne out of the idea that this would somehow make God change His mind. All he was looking for from God was a why and not a when.

The most popular and compelling biblical argument for this definition of faith can be found in Hebrews chapter 11. The chapter gives us the world famous definition of faith in verse 1 and goes on in subsequent verses to give us examples of faith when demonstrated. Of the 17 examples given (yes, I counted), only in one was faith described as a prerequisite to the fulfilment of God’s blessing or promise. Abraham. [10]Hebrews 11:8 All others involved ordinary people who decided to trust God and do His bidding, in spite of their failings or short comings and sometimes in the face of difficulty and great doubt. The same Abraham, who walked with God into uncertainty and an unknown future, also decided to ‘help’ God by fathering a child with Hagar. That didn’t stop God from blessing him with a son or blessing his seed forever more. Moses was not as easy to convince as Abraham, yet God used him mightily.

Therefore, the definition of faith comes alive when the outcome is uncertain and the future is unsure; holding on to this God no matter what you see, feel or want, even if He chooses not to answer you, bless you, fight for you or deliver you. He will still be your God.

Faith must therefore be the assurance that God is God, irrespective of the level of our faith or the comfort of our circumstances.

References

References
1 James 1:6-7
2 Judges 6:36-40
3 Genesis 18:12-22
4 Matthew 14:27-29
5 Matthew 8:8-10
6 Matthew 17: 20; Luke 17:6
7 Psalm 103:13-14
8 Daniel 3:16-18
9 Habakkuk 3:17-18
10 Hebrews 11:8