Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthian Christians that 3 things are eternal. Faith, Hope and Love, Love being the greatest.
Faith is a concept we don’t hear about in the correct context often. Organisations with the word in their title exploit people’s needs and desires on a daily basis. So-called “faith” healers abound in a climate where desperation is a central part of daily life.
Not far from my home in Cape Town are numerous sub-economic areas. In these areas, the people are surrounded by others who are affluent. The sub-economic areas are surrounded by and border on not just affluent areas, but in some cases obscenely wealthy areas. The people living in them work in these areas, cleaning the houses, tending the gardens and washing the cars they can’t afford.
There is also a lot of crime. One area has recently had it postulated that the army should be used to police the area because the gangster activity is resulting in it being overrun by drugs and violence.
In these areas there is despair.
There is a “church” on every corner, usually boasting “faith” in it’s title.
The name of Faith is abused daily. Many, not all, but many of these organisations prey on the desperation of the areas. They promise health and prosperity financially if their particular organisation is supported.
Romans 10:17 says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. These orgaisations, and I have heard more than one personally, spend a great deal of time prior to the offering plate being passed round. Their modus operandi is that of trying to convince the listeners to trust them by bombarding them with scripture about giving, tithing and that God will reimburse with added interest. Phrases such as ‘give and it will be given to you’ and ‘hundred-fold increase’ are bandied about just before inspirational music is played and the emotions are tugged on. The result is obvious. Poor people part with money, unscrupulous businessmen – I will not call them pastors – get wealthy, then one day the organisation is gone, and the people move on to the next organisation.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Repeatedly. Hearing and hearing.
But the Word needs to be given accurately. Completely. Faith is not some abstract concept. It is a real and tangible thing. It is the substance of that we hope for, and the evidence of what we have not yet seen, according to Hebrews 11.
Faith is substance. It creates substance, translates it from the Spiritual world into the physical world.
God created everything we see in the physical world by speaking Faith-filled words. The Word. Even Jesus was spoken into existence – the “Word became flesh” as John puts it. All the Messianic prophecies spoken by the Old Testament prophets literally spoke Jesus into existence in this world. The spoken Word become Jesus’s physical flesh.
Our faith is a gift from God, a piece of Himself. He places it into us when we accept Him so we are able to accept Him. Our relationship with Him is based on Faith. His Faith. It makes us come alive. It gives us our hopes and dreams, our desires. The Faith we experience in our relationship with Christ gives us the dreams we need to live a Godly life. To trust Him. He gives us the desires of our hearts – not earthly wants, but His own desires for our lives. He allows us to dream His dreams, to see with His vision.
It all starts with Faith. And it ends with Faith. Faith endures as long as we hold on to it. We can choose to hold onto God’s Faith despite our circumstances, despite what is happening at this moment. We can choose to live with an Eternal Perspective as Paul did, not holding to this light affliction, lasting but a moment in the light of eternity.
Faith is Eternal, everlasting. It always was and always will be there for us. We can pick it up and move with it any time. All we need to do is to look to Jesus.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author<sup class="crossreference" value="(D)”> and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross,<sup class="crossreference" value="(E)”> scorning its shame,<sup class="crossreference" value="(F)”> and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)