Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
What is Faith?
by Erik Momsen
Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold on eternal life, ...( 1 Timothy 6:12)
Sooner or later every man and woman gets to the point where there are unanswered questions. We ask, "What did the last 40 years mean? Am I making it? Am I worth anything? Why am I here? My body will not last, what then ...? The answers to these questions make all the difference as to how we live after these questions are asked. Some say the answer to these questions is belief issuing in faith. The 21st century person might say faith is data acted upon.
There exists a most basic faith that helps us trust in the day to day running of the world. The sun will rise tomorrow and there will be water in the taps. There are however more serious doubts that attempt to remove all our hope. There is a deep darkness that needs a great faith and light. The greatest darkness to be dispelled must surely be that of the death of our loved ones and ourselves. From the earliest times the hunter must have held his breath and prayed that his arrow would hit the deer. That his child would survive a fever and that God would receive him when he died.
The question must be, "In what or in whom must I finally put my faith?" I believe that without answering this question correctly our lives whimper to a bitter, defeated end.
Many have faith in themselves until .... business, marriage, health, mind ..... fails. Then we need to look around. This may sound like a crutch - I call it the cross. I'll admit, I am soul sick and I need a remedy.
Faith is about a way of thinking that results in a way of living. One cannot exist without the other. James, the brother of Jesus, said. “Faith without actions is dead.” (James 2:17). Let's use a very simple example. You have the slightest inclination to go to church. This is a seed of faith but you put off taking any action about it until the feeling goes away. Failure to respond to a prompting of God caused faith to die. The same applies to any promoting of faith to do something good. Faith that is only an idea in your head is dead.
Many lament that they have little faith. Jesus responds by teaching on the seed. The disciples are unable to cast out a demon and Jesus said, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20)
The disciples did not understand that faith is a seed that has to be sown so it can grow. That seed cannot grow in your hand. It grows as it "dies" in the ground. There is always an element of risk involved but without the risk there will be no multiplication. As faith is exercised it gains strength and becomes confident. Faith says: “I have heard God works in this way. I tried it - I risked and it worked. I tried it again and God came through. I become confident that this is how God works”. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
I will only get on the back of a powerful motor cycle with someone whom I know and trust. It is a potentially dangerous activity but I know his character, ability and attitude towards me. When we get to know God and trust Him we place more and more of our lives in His hands. It is for this reason that the devil always wants us to believe lies about our Heavenly Father. Jesus tells us clearly that only God is Good (Luke 18:19). When things are going badly it cannot be God’s fault. The Message Bible translates Matthew 6:13 “Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.” It is my sin or the devil’s tricks that messes up life.
A passage that summarizes much of what we have said is Hebrews 11:6.
Date Added: 2007-11-27
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