ATP Blog #22
What is faith? It is another Bible word that gets so misunderstood or misrepresented. The best definition comes in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Later (verse 6), the writer of Hebrews explains that “without faith, it is impossible to please God,” and that faith entails belief in who He is, and what He does for those who ‘diligently seek Him.’ Notice the two aspects of faith in the first verse: substance, and evidence. When we hope with the confidence only God can provide, then our faith has substance. This means that it is alive, and affects all that we do. When we see the evidence of God’s faithfulness, then we trust fully in what He has promised, but not yet done – that which is unseen.
What gives you faith? Jesus had finished talking with the Samaritan woman at the well, and her testimony brought the entire village out to see for themselves. John tells us (v39) that ‘many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified … .’ They then urged Jesus to stay for two days to teach them more, giving them of the living water He had promised. Then (v41) ‘many more believed because of His own word.’ It is good to hear the testimony of others, how God has worked in their lives, but it is so much more powerful when we hear or see for ourselves God at work. The citizens of Sychar had a new respect for the woman who had led them to Jesus. ‘Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him, and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”’ (v42) The woman’s testimony led them to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Together, both of these pieces of evidence led them to faith that was convinced, as Hebrews says, that Jesus was the Christ, and what Jesus had come to do: save the world.
What does your faith look like? For the woman, faith gave her the confidence for both life change, and to share her testimony with the people she had been hiding from for years! For the villagers, faith gave them confidence for life change, and to accept this woman who had been an outcast. God is pleased when we believe, diligently seek Him for life change, and share our testimony of how He is working in our lives with others so that they can enjoy faith as well.