When you were a small child, did you ever climb up on something and jump off into your father’s arms? You believed he would catch you, didn’t you? You trusted him because you knew he loved you. You had faith in your father. The dictionary tells us faith is “confidence or trust in a person or thing–belief which is not based on proof.” The Bible says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We sometimes say that seeing is believing. Faith is believing without seeing.
When you plant a seed in the ground, you show faith. You believe the seed will grow into a plant. Even though you can’t see any green leaves at all, you almost smell the flower that will blossom later on, or taste the vegetable that will grow. When you buy a bathing suit in January, you are showing faith that there will be warm sunny days when summer comes, even though it is snowing outside. You have faith when you get on your bike to go to the store, because you believe you’ll get there. Many times each day we show faith.
There are many stories in the Bible about faith. Noah had never seen it rain, but he believed God when He said there would be a flood. Because he had faith, Noah built an ark and he and his family were saved.
God told Abraham to leave his home and go to a faraway country that He would show him. Because Abraham had faith and wanted to be loyal and obedient to God, he went, even though it was a risky thing to do.
When Moses’ mother hid him in the weeds along the Nile river, she had faith that he would be kept safe, and he was. Later on, Moses himself showed faith when he chose to become the leader of his countrymen who were slaves. He could have become an important leader of the Egyptians since Pharaoh’s daughter had adopted him. But God called him to guide Israel, and he did it just because God asked him to. One day Jesus was in Capernaum. A centurian’s servant was very sick –he was about to die. This Roman soldier loved and appreciated his servant. Since he had heard of Jesus’ healings, he asked the Jewish elders to be a go-between and plead with Jesus to heal the servant. When these elders came to Jesus, they told Him the centurian deserved to have his request granted because he loved the Jews. He had even built a synagogue for them.
Jesus started to go to the centurian’s house. When He was nearly there, the centurian sent friends to Jesus with this message: “Do not trouble Yourself, Lord, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Just say the word and my servant will be healed.”
The centurian was a man of authority. He knew that when he gave orders to those under him, he was obeyed. He believed that Jesus could do the same. He showed his faith in Jesus when he said, “Just say the word.”
Jesus pointed out to the Jewish elders what great faith the centurian had. “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel (among the Jews),” Jesus said. And when the centurian’s friends returned to his house, the servant was completely well. Jesus had rewarded this example of faith with a wonderful miracle.
The Bible tells us that God has given everyone a measure of faith. He wants us to exercise our faith so it will grow. How can we do that? Just as with nourishment and exercise our bodies grow, our faith can grow. We can read about people who had great faith–Bible characters, historical men and women who did great things, and people today who overcome great obstacles and handicaps because they have faith in themselves and in God. It also helps our faith grow when we tell others how God has rewarded our own faith. When we think about the incidents in our lives that have shown the results of our faith, our faith grows stronger.
The Bible is full of promises that tell us what God wants to do for us. He wants us to have faith in Him— to believe what He says in His word, even though we don’t see what is ahead right now. When he says “Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow,” we need to have faith in His forgiveness. Satan tries to make us think we’re too bad to be forgiven. But Jesus said that all who believe in Him and accept His sacrifice will be saved. He wants to give us faith and strength to obey and follow Him.
Jesus gave His disciples a chance to have faith in Him when He said, “I will come again and receive you unto Myself that where I am, there you may be also.” They believed this promise, and after Jesus returned to heaven they went everywhere telling others how to prepare for the day when Jesus would come again. We, too, can believe this promise and see in our minds how wonderful it will be to live forever with Jesus, even though we do not see Him now.
Jesus is ready to give us strength at any time to resist temptation. We need to believe the Bible when it says He “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but will ... also make the way of escape.”
When we truly believe what Jesus taught, and trust Him to allow only what is best to have happen in our lives, our faith will keep us happy in His love, secure and worry-free.
Read these “faith” verses: Hebrews 11:1-8 and 23-25. Read the story of the centurian’s servant found in Luke 7:1-10. Read Romans 12:3 (last part) to discover to whom the gift of faith has been given.
Our Treasure Chest Verse is the Bible definition of faith, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”