Faith begins as hope and indeed is unseen; so many doubt that it is real. Hebrews 11 – The Hall of Faith – is the proof that faith is a reality that can be trusted.
Like the individuals portrayed in Chapter 11, if we are willing God can and will use us. He often chooses men and women who lack confidence in their own abilities to do His work because He is made strong in our weakness.
Stories of faith and faithfulness are central to Christ Followers. The writer of Hebrews recalls some of the most memorable examples of how people of faith lived their lives. But what is faith? Faith is more than belief; it is trust, assurance, and firm conviction. Ironically most of those who lived by faith never fully realized the promises God had made. Like us they journeyed as strangers and exiles, longing for another country. We should remember their patient faith when we face prolonged hardships and allow the trials we face to strengthen our faith rather than destroy it. If we are comfortable here and don’t face suffering for our faith, perhaps we aren’t fully living by faith and looking forward to a future hope. [i]
Faith rejoices without seeing or understanding what God is doing – it is the confident expectation. In order to have great faith we must have a personal relationship with God, that relationship comes by reading and studying His Word; believing and trusting in His Son Jesus Christ. God's word must be hoped for, embraced, seized! Luke 17:5 (NIV) The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you."
· C.S. Lewis: "We must not encourage in ourselves or others any tendency to work up a subjective state which, if we succeeded, we should describe as "faith", with the idea that this will somehow insure the granting of our prayer.... The state of mind which desperate desire working on a strong imagination can manufacture is not faith in the Christian sense. It is a feat of psychological gymnastics."
· A.W. Tozer: "I do not recall another period when "faith" was as popular as it is today. If only we believe hard enough we'll make it somehow. So goes the popular chant. What you believe is not important. Only believe... What is overlooked in all this is that faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy. For it is not enough that we believe; we must believe the right thing about the right One.