The word “faith” is tossed around quite a bit these days, but what does it really mean? How is faith different from belief? Faith is a foundational concept for Christians, so let’s look closer to understand the terminology we use. Join me and my cohosts, Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool and Kirsten at DoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life, by linking your post below and by grabbing this button!
Faith vs Belief
Faith is crucial to the Christian life. We use phrases like “faith in God” or “faith in Christ” widely. We tell one another to “have faith” and to “grow in faith.” The world uses the word to mean any belief system, so we end up with “different faiths.” Loosely, you might define the word as belief that is not based on proof. Of course, some of us as Christians might argue that proof for what we believe lies in the very existence of creation itself. You might define it as trusting in something or someone. But how does God’s Word define faith?
Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
This is from Hebrews 11:1, the beginning of what is called The Faith Chapter. The Greek defines the word as “moral conviction,” or even plainly “reliance upon Christ for salvation.” The root word from which it comes implies “to rely with inward certainty.” Hebrews goes on to explain to us how the Old Testament prophets were saved, before Christ, because of their faith. As I addressed in the article on Belief, even the demons believe, and the difference between them and us is the conscious decision to follow Christ’s lead and instruction. But faith is deeper than belief.
Part of that difference is in that decision. We trust – another similar word – that the things God wants for us are perfect and that His views on things are perfect. We commit to following His will above our own, because we say that we believe His way is better and higher than ours. He created the world and everything in it, and as such He knows and understands everything that should happen. He only wants the best for us because He loves us, and we trust that love to the point of following His will even unto death.
Faith is believing something so strongly that it is not something that can be let go. I’ve heard it described as similar to a dog, even a Pit Bull. Once he latches on to something, there is no prying him off of it. His jaw locks on and it doesn’t matter how hard anyone pulls on what he has; it’s his and you aren’t taking it! That is faith – it’s about believing in what we can’t see physically all the time, because God said it and His truth is truer than anything else and is all that matters. It matters more than our own lives. Nothing can break that. No matter how hard it pulls on me, and tries to break my hold.
Are you standing in faith, or do you simply believe?
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