"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him."
Now there's a loaded term.
People of faith. Lack of faith. Faith of our fathers. Ye of little faith. Defenders of the faith. Statements of faith.
Through my growing-up years and through college, I believed the definition of faith was the collection of ethics, rules and philosophies that guided my life. Those with my particular flavor of 'faith' were lucky; we had somehow stumbled into the mother lode of creed, adherents to a system that would ultimately garner us enough favor through good works and rule-following to give us barter for eternity. To lose one's faith was to walk away from that system.
But life has a funny way of exposing our pride and naiveté. And when the realities of life drove me deeper into study of Scripture and in a thirst to seek out God, I was a little startled to see a very different expression of faith chronicled within those parchment pages. It seemed that some of those Bible time people, the ones who didn't seem to follow the same rules as me, the ones who often messed up or were confused or only knew Jesus from those days preceding His sacrifice, they were often heralded for their faith. They were able to conjure deep emotions of belief, it seemed. And things seemed to improve for those folks who could pull it off. Faith seemed to get them places, seemed to smooth bumps in the road. My initial approach to the lives of these people was to analyze the actions and intensity of emotion that I defined as faith.
I needed to get me some of that kind of faith.
My early years were spent having faith in my 'faith'.
And then I spent some years trying to develop very strong faith in...faith.
And both of those expressions of faith seemed to take a lot of work.
Because it seemed that having really strong belief in faith, in becoming someone with super faith, was a very Christian thing to do.
But it didn't occur to me to define what faith was, beyond some sort of strong attachment to rules or a jet-fueled propulsion of emotion.
Faith in God.
When Jesus began to reveal to his disciples the power and authority that come from following God, He began with a simple statement.
"Have faith in God."
Not faith in faith.
Not faith in a system of faith.
Faith in God.
Faith in His plans, His provenance, His provision. Faith in His omniscience. Faith in Him.
It's the core of what Paul told us in the book of Hebrews: faith is being sure of a God in which we place our trust. Faith is certain that there is a God there who we do not yet see. And it was this simple belief in the Creator that led Abel to make a better sacrifice, that let Noah build an ark, that let Abraham walk as a friend of God.
In Hebrews 11:6, faith's definition becomes so clear: Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
So that's become my creed. That's become my statement of faith.
I have faith there is a God. I believe He rewards those who seek Him.
And now my faith rests in her rightful home. Nestled in the hands of God.