FAITH; ORIGIN, DEFINITION, AND TYPES
I sat back and stared at my screen for over 3 hours with no idea on how to explain this very important concept in a simple level that even a high school student can grasp.
I thought of using an example to explain this concept but I couldn’t find the perfect example that will clearly define this term “faith.”
Then I decided to conduct a little research around my environment; at my workplace, in my church and I even stopped to ask random people on the street about their opinion on faith. The answers were amazing.
Responses to the Faith Research I conducted.
The response from my colleagues
1. Faith is hope, isn’t is? that was the sarcastic reply I got from my next-door neighbor.
2. My co-worker was like faith is like an assurance that something good will happen.
3. The Janitor was like I don’t do faith, I don’t really care about what it is. I work hard to earn a living in order to take care of myself and my family.
4. Cherry (not real name) the receptionist gave an enlightening answer, She said faith is love in action. I was a little bit confused by her answer so I asked her to explain to me what she means by that.
According to Janet, I love God that even though I haven’t seen him but I believe he exist. I believe that when I ask for something through prayers, I receive them.
The respond from my church;
The responses I got from the members of my church were quite different, one person said that faith is a matter of Christianity and religion. Another said It is a standard with a solid foundation wholly dependent on God. The rest anonymously agreed that it was a complete belief in God’s promises and faithfulness.
The response from the streets;
The response from the street is divided into three categories;
This category are familiar with the word but they don’t know what it means and couldn’t care less.
- Over emphasizes
This second category has too many bible verses, dictionary definitions, and even personal experiences to share about faith. I had to cut off the discussion with this particular set because they seem to enjoy the topic and didn’t want to stop.
- What you believe
This third category did not want to impose what they think on anyone so they simply answered that “faith is what you think it is.” I tried to engage them in the discussion but they were mostly in a hurry. Their ideology is that whatever you think faith is, then that is what it is. They had no second to spare to engage in an argument.
At the end of my research, I was convinced that faith means different things to a lot of people. It is a broad subject that is really misunderstood. Precision and proper understanding are required to put together a comprehensive and educative piece on Faith.
Origin of faith
Faith is derived from a Latin word “fides” and a French word “feid” which means trust or confidence in an ideology, a person, or a thing.
Different definitions of faith
The definition derived from the etymology explains faith as total trust, reliability, and dependence on something or someone.
Faith can also be defined as the ardent belief in the principles or theory of a denomination or religion. This strong belief is based not on physical evidence but on spiritual conviction.
What does the bible say about faith?
According to Hebrews 11:1(KJV), faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. The Hebrew word for faith is “Emunah” which means support; therefore, faith means the support of God.
Most sermons about Faith in our various churches make reference to this portion of the bible.
The question is do we really understand what this definition of faith means?
Let’s talk about this biblical definition of faith.
Substance = is the real physical matter of something, it means the tangibility of something.
Evidence = the proof that shows that something is real and valid.
Hope = a feeling of trust and expectation towards a particular thing about to happen.
Therefore the bible was trying to state that faith is the strong expectation someone has about something that they expect to happen. You have not received what you want, but you believe without a doubt that you will receive it.
Faith in Christianity
Christianity is a religion based on faith, you can’t love God when you don’t believe in his existence. As Christians, we have not seen God, nor his son, what we have is God’s word and the conviction in our heart that he is real.
Most Christians can testify about the various personal experiences they have encountered that have proven the reality of God to them.
Faith in Christianity is the belief in God and in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Faith in Christianity is practical, the religion is based on faith and to grow and excel spiritually you need to exercise your faith. You can’t do everything by your self-effort and hard work and still claim to have faith. You need to have total dependence on God and his ability to support everything you are experiencing.
What is the difference between faith and belief?
Faith and belief are commonly used interchangeably by lots of people but do they really mean the same thing? Or perhaps are they related?
According to the English dictionary, Belief is the mental acceptance of a particular claim or idea. Faith on the other hand is a strong assurance that we will receive what we hope for though we can’t see them yet.
The belief you have about a particular opinion can change as you grow older and discover new things but faith is different, it doesn’t change instead it grows through continuous study of God’s word (James 2:19).
For example, when I was a child the most inspiring quote I heard was the sky is your limit but now technology can pass through the cloud so we now hear things like the sky is your stepping stone.
Types of Faith
- Vain or dead faith = According to James 2:14-17 faith without work is dead. Faith is practical and applicable in our everyday life. Let’s take an example;
As a Christian someone comes to complain about lack of money but all you do is pray with the person and send them away when you have a little sum of money that can be of help to the person. This is basically words without deeds and the bible condemns this act.
You don’t just speak faith, you act it because without acting on the faith you claim to have, it is dead.
- Emotional faith = It is very accurate when the bible says faith comes from hearing the word of God. Some people are inspired and motivated to do a particular thing while listening to a sermon but after the end of the message. Their faith also ends there, they do nothing about the word they have heard.
- Devoted Faith= This is a faith that is genuine, it remains intact despite confrontations or live situations. This faith is backed up by actions and deeds, Doubt does not abound in this kind of faith.
Importance of faith
- We draw strength from faith when we are faced with difficult life challenges.
- When we develop our mind to completely believe in possibilities and positivity, we attract them to ourselves (Power of subconscious mind – Joseph Murphy).
- Faith enables us to triumph over hard times, lack, and fear.
- The bible says without faith it is impossible to please God, therefore faith helps us to please God.
- Abraham’s faith was accounted into him as righteousness. This shows that faith makes us right with God
- Our prayers are answered when we have faith.
- To be a Christian, it takes faith. You can not be a son or daughter of God without faith.
How to grow in faith
- Spend time to fellowship with other believers.
- Study and meditate on the word of God.
- Always make out time to pray
- Focus on obeying God’s word despite your present situation.
How to live by faith and not by sight?
- Hand over your circumstances to God and believe that he will resolve it.
- Eliminate pessimistic attitude and opinion, build a positive mental and physical attitude.
- Create time to pray and study your Bible regularly.
- Help out the needy, learn to be generous.
- Completely trust and obey God’s direction and timing.