Friday, February 17, 2006

What the heck is Faith?

The reason I began to produce the Eye Witness series, was to answer what I saw as a calling from God, to use the talents I have always had in his service. More specifically, to use the medium I grew up reading, studying and working a tool to share God's word and message of salvation for all, (the Gospel story of Jesus).

As a result, I hear from and communicate with many people from around the country, (and some other countries where the book is making its way to), that ask me questions related to the basis for this work. I can relate to this curiosity, since just 6-7 years ago, I was one of these people...having been exposed to Jesus and the Holy Spirit for really the first time in my life and not really understanding a lot of the "Christian Speak" that was involved in the Bible and in Churches. I think as you become more familiar with God's word, (given to us through the Bible), it is very easy to become slightly insensitive to the fact that not everyone understands the basic concepts we take for granted.

So I will do my best to help clarify and translate into common terms some of these concepts for those who are readers of this blog.

First up: FAITH!

This is a biggy, since the term is at the very root of believing in God and more specifically, believing in Jesus and the whole underlying concept upon which Christianity is based.

Faith, to put it simply, is: "believing in something when all the evidence to do so might be absent." Worldly example: I have faith that Jerry Jones will bring the city of Dallas another super bowl championship through the Cowboys. There has been no evidence the last two seasons that the Cowboys are anywhere close to becoming world champions, (since they have not even made the playoffs). But I believe in the proven track record of the coach (Bill Parcells), and the drive to be the best of the owner, (Jerry Jones), that this will occur. So, though there is not concrete evidence that supports my Faith in this team, I just know it to be true.

The word Faith is used 232 times in the Bible and is shown to be the primary means through which man enters into a relationship with God. Going back to the ancient texts of the Old Testament, (cornerstone of both Christianity and Judaism...and Islam?), Abraham was a man of tremendous Faith. He believed God's promise to provide his descendents with a land of their own....though at the time he did not even have a child, (and he and his wife were old by our current standers: He 99, his wife Sari, 90), and the land God spoke of was already populated by many other people's. Because of his tremendous amount of Faith and not wavering from what God told him to do...all things promised to him came to pass.

Now this is where man, (especially the Man of today's highly educated and advancing scientific world), will stumble with Faith. God is not found in human reason, but only through Faith! Why? Because he's God, and you're not! That's over simplifying it, but look at it this way...if you truly believe that there is a God, and this God had the power, understandings, abilities to actually create the universe we know (including creating life from scratch...which at our current level of science, we still can't quite figure out) could we possible expect to totally understand him, his thoughts, his motivations and his plans? We just are not equipped "yet" for matter how much we assume we are. Analogy:No matter how hard you tried, could you explain the concept of evaporation to your family dog? Of course not, because no matter how well you had trained him, his brain does not work on the same level as ours. Food for thought....are we even that close to God's level, as a dog is to ours? Hmmmmmmmm?

Taking it back to our Biblical example: Could modern medicine explain now Abraham's wife Sari concieved and delivered a child in her 90's? Possibly, but most would dismiss it, because we just don't have the level of understanding to explain that. But it does mean it did not happen. 120 years ago, scientists would not believe 300 people could travel 600 miles per hour at 20,000 feet above the ground...that was pure fantasy or Jules Verne stuff. Why? Because they didn't have the level of knowledge to understand it. But it didn't mean it could not happen. See my point?

But here's the good news (according to pastor Matt Chandler/Village Church/Highland Village, TX)...."Faith takes us beyond our reason and empirical data-abilities and allows us to see the spiritual world that God has revealed (though the writers of his word...the Bible). He gives us faith in order for us to experience the world as "he" sees it and to trust in him. Though this knowledge is not exhaustive, it is adequate to know God intimately and gives us a fuller understanding of reality as it has been revealed to us by God himself"

See: Romans 10:9-10, Deuteronomy 29:29, Isaiah 55:8-9, 1st Corinthians 13:12...1:21, John 17:3

I'll end this with one final thought....Proverbs 3:5-6, states about Faith: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Taking this kind of stance in our "John Wayne, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" society can be tough, but from my personal experience let me tell you its very comforting to know you have a friend, partner, mentor, father...who can and will help lead you in the right direction, when we can't do it alone! comfort!

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