How To Have Faith In God
Having faith in God can be a challenging topic to think about because both the idea of ‘faith’ and the idea of ‘God’ are really big ideas. Just to avoid confusion, and to make it easier to talk about, let’s start with some basic definitions that wise people, from a variety of different traditions, agree on as being helpful.
Who is God?
‘God’, among other things, is the being that represents the highest and best good you can possibly imagine.
In the Old Testament, God is revealed as the creator of all life.
The New Testament defines God in incredibly simple terms when it states that ‘God is love’. This love is seen clearly in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as God offering redemption (restoration of relationship with himself) to everyone who wants it.
The Bible, in many other places, talks about God as the being who wants to make whole whatever is broken, the one who has your ultimate best interest at heart.
If you’re used to thinking of God as someone who’s angry and irritated with you the whole time, think again. This is not what is taught in the writings of the Bible or by the spiritual masters who have followed its teachings.
What is faith?
Faith is kind of a crazy idea because it’s so completely counterintuitive. It asks you to believe in the existence of things like goodness, truth and beauty. Faith asks you to have hope, and to believe in the power of love to overcome all the suffering and adversity that life will inevitably throw at you. Faith is the part of us that thinks in terms of possibility, in terms of things becoming better than they are.
Genuine faith is not unrealistic. It acknowledges the impossibility of achieving a perfect life or a perfect world, but it also celebrates the impulse that strives for perfection.
What does the Bible say about faith in God?
The Bible has a lot to say about faith in God. Some of the ideas found in the Bible about faith may be familiar, but others may not.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the big ideas about faith in God that show up in the Bible.
Faith in God is a way of seeing the world
The first thing the Bible says about faith in God is that there are basically two faith options, each of which represents a different worldview.
In I Corinthians, in the New Testament, there’s a verse that draws a distinction between having faith in human wisdom and faith that believes in the power of God.
“So that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” (I Cor. 2:5)
The intention behind this idea is not to denigrate the value of human achievement and understanding.
Rather, it highlights the difference between the limited perspective of what humans see and the big picture that God sees.
In a way, it’s also an idea that represents the collision of two different worlds: the world of spiritual reality and the world of physical reality. It’s the difference between that which can be perceived with the five senses, and that which can’t.
The implication in this verse is that choosing the perspective of faith in God is the perspective of limitless possibility.
Faith in God is transformative
Many scientific studies have been done which confirm the power of belief alone to effect change in the physical world. Jesus seemed to agree with this idea when he told his disciples that anyone with enough faith could move mountains, or when he himself healed people.
But faith in the Bible is not just about physical miracles!
In the book of James, the author talks about faith as an agent of character transformation. Not just faith generally, but faith in the midst of life with all its challenges – in spite of its challenges.
James says that having your faith challenged by difficulties in life develops something called perseverance (not giving up). And perseverance, if you hang in there, according to James, can make you mature, complete, not lacking in anything!
According to James, faith has the power to transform you into a person of strength, a person of character.
Faith in God can save you
Who knows exactly all of the different ways we need saving. We certainly need saving from ourselves, at the very least.
Experts in psychology agree that the number of different compulsions, obsessions and addictions to which we are all, in varying degrees, subject, is no small thing.
The Bible talks a lot about the different disintegrative behaviors we can manifest and how those behaviors cause fractures within ourselves, between ourselves and other people, and between us and God.
The Bible uses the word ‘sin’ as a way to describe the sickness and brokenness of all human beings. Our desperate need of salvation and healing.
The antidote to all this disintegration and brokenness? Faith in God through Jesus Christ.
In another place in the New Testament, the author says that ‘It is by grace you have been saved through faith……..this is the gift of God.’
In conclusion, the way to have faith in God is to choose a way of seeing the world.
It’s to choose a path of belief in possibility, not limitation.
Faith is to choose integration, not disintegration.
It is a movement toward wholeness and away from brokenness.
This happens when you choose to place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ to reconnect with God.
First steps to have faith in God
1. Make the choice to begin the journey!
2. Read through the Gospel of John in the New Testament. It’s a great place to begin understanding what faith in God is all about!