What is Faith? How can you keep up with it?
Everyone has faith, though not everyone has faith in God. Before anyone sits down on a chair, the person does so with the belief that the chair will hold the person up. The evidence of that belief is the decision to sit on that chair and the movement towards it. The belief on the ability of the chair to carry the person and the decision that he or she could possibly sit on the chair is called Faith. Evidence of that faith is the movement towards the chair with the intention to sit on it.
Having faith in the ability of the Chair to hold one up begins with having faith that the Chair exists in reality and not a product of imagination or ones emotion. C. S Lewis in his book “Mere Christianity” argues that faith is a virtue not opposed to reason. In other words, Faith is reasonable, not a blind impulse based on emotions and imagination. While imaginations and emotions can change and hence can question what is true, reasonable faith can withstand mood swings because it is anchored on unchanging truth. Lewis concludes that “faith… is the art of holding on to the things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing mood”
Faith in God is the belief that He exists.The evidence of that faith is obedience to Him and moving towards him. Just as sitting on the chair means having faith in the chair and trusting the chair to hold us up, Faith in God mean trusting him by leaning on His promises. Faith is not faith if it is not backed by a decision and evidence of that decision. Faith without works is dead. Hebrews 11: 1 defines faith as "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
None of us is immune to emotions or mood changes. How then do we keep up with our faith in times of emotional turmoil? How do we stay strong when our world seems to be turning upside down? A few ideas here;
Firstly, we should consistently remind ourselves of God’s omni-presence; that He is always with us in all circumstances, even when our perceptions seem to say to the contrary. Secondly, I agree with Lewis that we “have to be continually reminded of what we believe”. Through meditations, prayer, scripture reading and daily practice of our faith, we can continually keep in step with our faith. These not only remind us of God’s presence but it keeps in view the truths of what we believe, implanting them in our hearts to help us in times of need.
“ I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” Psalm 119: 11
As we strive to practice what we believe in, we develop the spiritual muscles to stay strong in times of difficulties. It does not mean becoming perfect but growing more and more like Jesus, having our minds renewed; and gradually bringing our flesh in subjection to the power and authority of the Holy Spirit living within us.
Finally, each of us should be part of a community of faith - a fellowship, or a bible study. Through these, we find some strength and encouragement in the company of others during the week. This is necessary for our faith because we are created in the image of God, to live in community just as God the Father, Son and Spirit live as one. When alone, we are vulnerable to all kinds of influences that threaten our faith. But together in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can encourage and support each other in our walks, in step with God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rev Joshua Amaezechi, an ordained Minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA), is the President of the LEMA Institute. He works as the Lead Chaplain at the Kalamazoo County Jail, Michigan through the Forgotten Man Ministries.