“Can someone tell me where to find the faith button!?” That’s the question I desperately wanted answered at a healing service where I was on the prayer team. There was someone standing in front of us with his ankle in a bandage. He looked at me and the person I was praying with with anticipation. Now it was going to happen, his ankle was going to heal!
A mental game
I know God wants to use a channel of faith to show his power, but what exactly is faith and how do you know if you have enough faith? In theory, it doesn’t take much faith, because if you have faith like a mustard seed, you can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). It felt like a mental game to me, where I have to get my thinking in order. Maybe I should focus more on a special kind of feeling? At that moment I was looking for a switch that I could turn, but that switch could not be found.
What exactly is faith?
If we look in the Bible for what faith actually is, we quickly arrive at the well-known definition of faith in the letter to the Hebrews. It says: Faith lays the foundation for all we hope for, it convinces us of the truth of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
A definition is intended to clarify a concept, but it was not immediately clear to me what the writer of Hebrews actually meant. In fact, I didn’t understand it at all. For me it is a challenge to look for answers.
The basic language
There are two words that are important to understand, namely Upostasis and Elengkos . Many translations give the impression that belief is only a mental and rational matter. That it is something you do with your head. Words like ‘conviction’ and ‘certainty’ fit that picture.
If faith can only be controlled by the mind, then it is logical that we often feel shaky. Satan can easily attack us by planting lies in our heads. Both Greek words are more than happy.
Upostasis in this verse meansreality andElengkos means in this verseproof .
If you look at the meaning of this text, you will arrive at the following definition:
Faith is the experience you have gained based on the choices you have made. With those choices you have experienced the reality of who God is and have therefore proven it to be true. Faith thus becomes an absolute certainty.
So it is not first seeing and then believing, but first believing and then seeing. The list of heroes of the faith after this definition is impressive. If you pay attention, they are all people who have made choices in the dark and have therefore discovered that God’s reality is true.
The reality this is being talked about is the Kingdom of God. That Kingdom is an absolute reality, even though we do not see that Kingdom. At the same time, we live in this world, where everything seems to be based on what we can perceive with our senses. This makes it an enormous challenge to make choices based on a reality that you cannot observe. That requires faith.
Do something strange
That makes believing an active event. If you look at the miracles of Jesus, you will see that they are often accompanied by a strange assignment:
– Before Jesus utters his word of power, which causes Lazarus to walk out of the grave, He orders the tombstone to be rolled away. I can tell you that’s a pretty stupid thing to do when a lifeless body has been there for four days.
– Jesus commands his disciples to feed thousands of people, while they had little or nothing available.
– Jesus commands a paralyzed man to get up.
– A woman with the issue of blood orders herself to ‘just’ touch Jesus’ clothes.
– Peter challenges himself to ask Jesus for permission to walk to meet Him on the water.
Step of faith
If you pay attention, you can find many examples where people are challenged to trust a reality they do not see. That is not just in their thinking, but especially by doing it. I believe the paralyzed man was healing when he was getting up when Jesus gave him that command. Jesus could hardly perform miracles in his ‘hometown’ Nazareth, because there was no faith. That lack of faith was evident from the fact that no one went to Jesus with their need. If you don’t take such a step of faith, then nothing will happen.
The man with the bandaged ankle who came to us for prayer was healed. I believe that didn’t happen because I barely found the faith button. This man made the ‘strange’ choice to ask for prayer from that gentleman on the prayer team who looked very uncertain in his eyes. Now that is faith in God’s reality!