Since our four-year-old grandson came to live with us, I spend a great part of my day defining words that are beyond his limited understanding. Sometimes I will be halfway through a lecture on how we need to respect our elders when I realize that little man has no idea what the word “respect” even means. So, I will backtrack and start over and break it down into bite sized pieces so he can figure it out.
For those of us who are confused by terminology, the writer of Hebrews helps us out. The first few verses of Chapter 11 provide a clear definition of a concept that is essential to anyone who wants to walk with God. Because our Heavenly Father longs for us to draw near to Him, He lets us know exactly what pleases Him. God rewards those who believe that He exists and diligently seek Him.
Friend, faith is the key to drawing near to God. The original Greek word used in Hebrews 11:1 is pistis, which means to believe, trust, rely upon, place our confidence in, and to be assured of. Living with faith implies being fully persuaded and remaining faithful to what we hold true.
Defining faith is easy, but living by faith is not always so simple. When everything around me seems to be falling apart, I confess I often give way to anxious thoughts and struggle to sleep. I will lay in bed at night and remind myself that the “I AM” is all I need. He set the world in order with a command, and He is in control of all that concerns me.
I looked up “faith” in a Bible concordance and immediately got convicted when I read that faith in Christ is a “strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.” As a woman of faith, I want to hold fast to the truth that my Savior is able to work miracles, to heal the sick, and to save souls. He is able to do the supernatural not just in the pages of my Bible, but in my home.
Instead of rehearsing my problems, I want to rest in His care and live with reverence. I want to live with a strong and welcome conviction in Christ.
One of my favorite Bible teachers, Dr. Tony Evans, once shared a beautiful definition that has helped me re-think how I read Hebrews 11:
“Faith is acting like something is so even when it’s not so in order that it might be so simply because God said so.”
Living by faith requires that we set aside our preconceived understanding of what we see to persevere in hope. We are looking forward with great expectation to what we cannot yet perceive with human eyes. We say God is faithful, and we fix our eyes firmly on Him.