“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The Hebrew writer expresses the best definition of faith we could ever find here in Hebrews 11:1. Paul tells us in II Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” I once heard it said that “Faith isn’t faith until it’s all you’re holding onto.” The Bible places no conditions on “walk by faith” – it’s not “walk by faith…sometimes…most of the time…whenever it’s convenient…if you feel like it…when you’re at church”.
If you have ever been to a circus, you have probably been amazed by the trapeze artists. As such a person releases one trapeze bar to jump for the next one, one would imagine that the only thing on his mind is grabbing hold of that trapeze bar. The only thing he is focused on, looking at, is that bar. Thoughts of what he was doing yesterday, or what are his plans for tomorrow will not be found in his head. He’s not looking down, backward, sideways, up, etc. He realizes, without any doubt, that the bar is all he has to hold on to – and he probably does not like to entertain thoughts of missing it! He knows he cannot turn around and go back, he cannot steady himself on a solid object, and once he jumps for that bar, he is certainly committed. He has passed the proverbial “point of no return”!
For Christians, faith is very much like the trapeze bar, and I would propose that faith cannot be faith until it becomes like the trapeze bar to us. Until the only way which we live this life is by faith, until it attains our complete and constant focus, we are not complete Christians. Those who live by trusting in self, other people, or material goods will certainly stumble. A part-time faith is not really faith. The Proverb writer exhorts his readers in 3:5-6 to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Notice he wrote that in ALL ways we should trust in Him. Living by faith is not something we do only when assembling for a worship service. Obviously faith is extremely important in our public worship, but also in every aspect of our lives, our faith in God should be guiding us. Whether it be in the workplace, in the family setting, on the playing field, or in something as simple as driving down the road – faith must be there, it must be motivating us! I do not believe we fully realize the importance of allowing faith to guide us – in every step we take, every decision we make, faith should be the foundation. If we ever find ourselves acting without faith, we are not living our lives as God wants us to (“…for whatever is not from faith is sin”, Romans 14:23). Paul gives us the secret to living the Christian life in II Corinthians 4:18 where he wrote, “while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen… .” Faith must rule our lives, it must dictate our lifestyles – the things which we see with the human eye must never have that same control over us. What this really means is that we never become too worried about the things of this physical life. If our trust fully rests in God, then we have no worries “…for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7). If only we could truly understand that! How do you suppose the early Christians could have survived the persecution they did without faith? They could not have, and we have got to get it through our heads that there is NO other way to survive this life! Whether we experience prosperity or poverty, joy or sorrow, faith is a beacon in the night leading us down the paths of righteousness. “The just shall live by faith”, Paul quoted from Habakkuk in Romans 1:17. Only through faith will we ever reach God, and another important point about faith which we must never forget is that even it comes from God Himself. It is not something we invent on our own, inherit from our parents, or have the strength within ourselves to develop. In Ephesians 2:8, the apostle Paul states this point very clearly “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Everything about the sufficiency of our relationship with God comes from Him!
So, remember that faith cannot be faith until it is all you rely upon in all of life’s situations. As is inscribed on today’s U.S. currency, so must we live: “In God we trust”!