Faith, the fundamental belief that Christians live by is often so misunderstood both in the Faith and outside of it that many lose faith at the time in their lives when they most need it. The many faith doctrines floating around today declaring that if you say it and believe it then it will be so; or if you are suffering in any way and pray for deliverance or healing but do not receive it, then it is your fault. Living by faith is not the simplest Christian concept to understand at the best of times, so we will omit the worldly embellishments, and go straight to the truth, the Bible!
Faith is a COMPLETE trust or confidence in someone, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. It is a completely different belief system than believing in each other, the limited abilities of a human being, super-human being or believing in a man-made image, inanimate object or animals. A Christian’s faith lies in Jesus Christ and His works when He came and died for mankind bringing us back into a relationship with God the Father through His Holy Spirit. God who gave us life which no one else could! Faith should grow throughout the life of a Christian by understanding who we are in Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us into all truths.
In a nutshell, the Christians’ faith is a complete trust in God, the fullness of God. God the Son, Jesus Christ who saves us, God the Father, the source of all things who we pray to and God the Holy Spirit who empowers us and make things happen. The Christians’ faith is NOT in themselves or their ability; it is not in another human being, it is not in a set of religious rules, it is only in God. So, what does this really mean for the Christian? Living by faith means we believe in God even though we cannot see Him, we believe in the impossible, we see with our spiritual eyes by embracing the spiritual world and we hope when others dare not.
Bible definition of Faith – Hebrews 11:1-3
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
If God says He will do something we believe He will do it even before it happens, we don’t need evidence of it. When we pray to God for something we do this by faith believing that God will answer us. When life is good and everything is going well it is easy for your faith to grow and you feel that you can ‘conquer the world’ and other times when things are not going so well and you are being bruised by life, you feel weak, begin to lose hope and your faith can be weakened. At this time, many people begin to look for something else to put their faith in and often end up confused and caught up in religious groups and practices. When we have faith in God, we live with complete hope and an expectation in Him and Him alone.
Challenges to our Faith
There are so many things in life that will challenge our faith and grief comes in top of that list. Losing a loved one is so profound that because we do not always fully understand it, we look for someone or something to blame. Often we pray for healing for ourselves or our loved ones, we pray that they won’t die, but they do, or they are not healed, so our faith is weakened. We didn’t get the answer we wanted or expected. There are many reasons why our prayers are not answered, or we did not get the answer we were looking for and suddenly we level blame at God and start trying to make sense of our faith. We asked by faith and we believed we would be healed, we declared that we were healed and claimed the promises of God but we were not; so what happened? Does God not love me, why wouldn’t He want to heal me or my loved ones. Why did my child have to die?
There are many reasons why we do not always get the answer we want or expect. Sometimes we are simply praying to the wrong person. God is the only one that can answer prayers so praying to a saint, or an angel or Mary mother of Jesus, or to a god that doesn’t exist will not be fruitful, you will not get an answer. Praying amiss, which is to pray vain selfish prayers, or not ask for what we want in the right way. We should always pray to the Father in the name of the Son and with reverence. Whatever the reasons for not receiving an answer the only way you will find out is to ask the Lord to help you to understand what happened.
The one thing I have discovered to be consistently missing from prayers is asking God to let His will be done in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. What is God’s will for your life or for the person’s life who you are praying for? Where is God in the situation? When Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:9-13, The Lord’s Prayer; verse 10 tells us “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” a key component that should be in all prayers but is so often missing. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane to ask His Father if another way could be found so He wouldn’t have to be crucified, He said “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39. Again key component, let God’s will be done.
So here we see that although we ask by faith, our ultimate faith does not lie in receiving what we have asked for but completely trusting God to do what is right for us in that situation. Our faith is accepting the answer we receive whether it was what we were expecting or not. As much as God loves His Son, Jesus still had to go to the cross to fulfil His purpose of saving mankind. If God had given Him what he asked for where would we be? Jesus knew He had to go through with it and gave the ultimate decision over to God, coming out greater than when He went in. He conquered death, brought us back into a relationship with God, saved us from ourselves and has blessed us with eternal life in the presence of God should we chose it.
Some people will ask for healing, then declare they are healed when they are not, refuse medical attention with the sickness advancing or worse still, becoming terminal. The problem here is that their faith has been misplaced. If God has not confirmed that you are healed, you are not healed. Insisting you are and refusing help is shifting your faith from a complete trust in God’s will to believing in your own will and determination. Suppose God wants you to go through it so that your experience can be a testimony to help others going through the same situation, which in turn will strengthen your faith and your relationship in Him?
How often do we ignore the answer from God because it wasn’t what we asked for? How often do we insist on what we want and try to force God’s hand, single-mindedly insisting we have received something when we have not? Jesus after praying to His Father in Gethsemane did not then raise from His prayer declaring that He no longer had to go to the cross. He left it to the will of God and continued with His journey and did indeed go to the cross to be crucified.
Let us begin to exercise our faith in God’s will and not our own; a complete trust in His perfect will for our lives. Let us not say that God has not answered our prayers simply because it was not the answer we desired and let us not think that because we did not get the desired outcome on this occasion we should not bother going to the Lord in prayer again. Continue to go to the Lord in prayer but listen to Him and trust in His answer even if it is not what you wanted and don’t lose faith because of it.
Written by P L Bennett