Monday, September 17, 2012

Faith vs. Belief part one

I have been really into the idea of faith and God's faithfulness for the past few months (as seen here, here and here). What has been extremely challenging for me has been the difference between faith and belief. My friend, just yesterday, asked me if there actually was a difference and I totally think there is.

Dictionary definitions:
Belief: confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof
Faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing. 

My definitions (that are along the same lines just a little bit more streamlined):
Belief: acknowledging that God is there and He exists 
Faith: putting your trust in God because of your belief. 

For example... I might believe that a chair will hold me up if I sit on it. But I am not putting my faith in it until I sit down on it. I could stand there forever telling people about how I believe that it will hold me up, but if I never sit down then my words mean nothing. 

Lets take a look at those pesky Israelites back in the Old Testament. Now, God had just parted the Red Sea for them and had delivered them from the Egyptian army, and I mean just, and the Israelites started to complain about how they didn't have any food and that God was providing. It wasn't that they didn't believe that He existed, in fact they saw Him all day as a pillar of clouds and all night as a pillar of fire, but they didn't have faith in His faithfulness. 

What the Israelites show us is that tangible stuff is easy. It's easy to believe in God when you can see Him actively working in your life. When you stop being able to see what He is up to is when things kinda get blurry and you need to start relying on faith. As Oswald Chambers puts it: "Faith is the deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time." 

Seeing the chair is easy, just like seeing a miracle happen is easy. But sitting down in that chair is what proves that you have faith. In the same way, when you are relying on God to hold you up, that is when you start putting your faith in Him. 

"Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, despite your changing moods." - C.S. Lewis

Come back next week for part two!

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