I Have Faith You’re Going to Enjoy This Article

The Timeless Principle of Faith

This is one in a series of essays that was originally conceived as a book for print publication. If you enjoy it and would like to read more from the collection, you can find a sort of Table of Contents here.

Faith is inherently difficult to describe because if you can describe it concretely, your faith is not strong enough.

At least, that seems to be the common understanding of faith. I happen to disagree.

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I believe faith needs to be a very real thing, and I believe it has two completely different, but equally important, applications, even in this modern, critical and skeptical world.

First, let’s define faith. I’ve found the Bible’s definition to be the easiest to understand and apply:

“Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for. The evident demonstration of realities, though not beheld.” — Hebrews 11:1

In other words, faith is the ability to see what is not there and know it’s coming, based on evidence. There are two important points to learn from that basic definition:

1. Faith is not blind. True faith is not the willingness to put aside reason and knowledge and understanding, as if these qualities are mutually exclusive. True faith is based on evidence. Concrete, observable evidence.

2. Faith is not automatic. To be assured of something you cannot see in front of you, you need to work at studying the evidence and convincing yourself that it’s an adequate basis for believing your expectations will come true. No one can do that for you either. It’s a very personal thing.

Now, generally the concept of faith is automatically attached to the concepts of organized religion, or at least to spiritual matters. And this is to be expected as nowhere else does the matter of faith play such a leading role as it does in religion.

But, interestingly, faith is actually at play in nearly every aspect of our lives, even in the most practical and mundane activities.

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For example: When you go to bed at night, you set your alarm to wake you up in the morning. If you are late to work, you could lose your job. And yet, you’re willing to entrust your livelihood to a $12 clock radio you picked up at a yard sale last spring.

Why?

Because it’s always worked before.

Every time the alarm clock wakes you up, it builds your confidence in its ability to do it again tomorrow. This is evidence. Evidence your brain uses to convince you that, although you can’t see the future, you can rest assured the alarm clock will wake you up again in the morning.

So, you have faith in that fact.

I could list a thousand other mundane activities in our daily lives that require a measure of faith: starting your car, turning on your windshield wipers, logging into your computer, punching your time card, etc. In most cases, we don’t understand the inner workings of the technology we use and rely on every day, but it’s always worked before, so we have faith it will again.

Now, if our car starts acting or sounding funny, our faith falters. We start to doubt whether or not it will start the next time we put the key in. The evidence has changed: it’s not consistently (faithfully) working as it should, so we start losing confidence. But, if we take action, such as bringing it to a professional mechanic who fixes the problem and gives the car a clean bill of health, suddenly we’re confident again.

Our faith has been restored!

That’s how we can develop and maintain an “assured expectation of things hoped for” in even the big things of life: our relationships, our spiritual need, our finances, our goals.

Observe the evidence. Determine the expected outcome. Measure the two in relation to each other, and manipulate whatever is within our power to change, working to get the two to meet. When they do, our faith has proven to be well-founded.

And we can’t leave this discussion without considering how faith in one’s own ability to accomplish what needs to be done can be just as important as faith in the mundane or faith in the supreme.

Photo by Awais. Toor on Unsplash

If you can’t look back on the body of evidence you’ve created in your life that proves what you’re capable of accomplishing, you need to start working to build that body of evidence. But if you can, by all means, don’t give in to self-doubt and try to convince yourself that you’re not capable of something the evidence proves you are capable of!

The evidence may very well prove that you’re capable of expanding your horizons and accomplishing even MORE than you set out to accomplish! That’s evidence, even if it’s invisible to you now! So take it and build your faith on it.

I believe in you.

Do you?

WORDS TO REMEMBER:“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down. — Ray Bradbury

This is one in a series of essays that was originally conceived as a book for print publication. If you enjoy it and would like to read more from the collection, you can find a sort of Table of Contents here.

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