We live by the word
Matthew 4:4 (ESV)
4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Life is to be abundant.
John 10:10 (ESV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
We can do all things
Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Path to success
Joshua 1:8 (KJV)
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Psalm 119:105,130,160 (KJV)
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
All promises are Yes!
Every promise is as, yes we are qualified, yes we have fulfilled the requirement, yes we are established as merited by God’s grace (unmerited favor) and God’s response is yes I will, yes you can, when in Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (ESV)
20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,
22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Can we believe
Before we know if we can, we first have to know what it means to believe. Straight away, asking if we can tells us the word believe is an action word, something that can be done or performed, known in English as a verb.
Believe is a physical act of self, or if you prefer a physical act one’s self can do or perform. All acts and activities are actions that begin with the self mentally concluding a decision or intention to change, reposition or move in relation to one’s current position. Verbs describe actions for transitioning or changing positions of an object subject.
In the case of a believe activity, a person acts upon a subject belief. A belief is a concept describing reality or the characteristics of reality. A believe activity concludes a decision or intention to change, reposition or move from one’s currently held beliefs to a new set of beliefs describing reality or characteristics of reality. A believe action intends a transition from the current body of beliefs to a new body of beliefs adding the latest decided belief to the body of beliefs we call reality.
Concepts that we have concluded a decision and intention to believe are adopted as true of reality. Called truth, each decided belief is added to the ever increasing body of truth(s) we believe of reality.
We live by faith which comes from hearing
Romans 1:17 (ESV)
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Romans 10:17 (ESV)
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Hebrews 4:2 (NIV)
2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
Faith comes from hearing the word, but not by hearing alone. Hearing must be combined with believing and reliance before faith can appear. Hearing and believing isn’t faith however. Only after hearing, believing and relying upon it do we have faith.
Faith is nothing more that the application of hearing and believing such that the belief decided is followed by an act of reliance.
Faith is kind is like being pregnant, you either are or aren’t. Faith takes an act in reliance before it is called faith. Even if hearing and belief occurs, if one doesn’t act to conclude belief and form an attitude of reliance, there is no faith. Action must be added or combined to hearing before believing what’s heard becomes faith.
Faith is action based upon a belief relied upon as true
The key active actions of faith are two fold:
- deciding to believe what was heard
- relying upon what is believed
Every reliant action taken in response to the concluded belief is a Faith action, regardless of how credible, certain or uncertain one is of the belief. While credibility is a measure of how believable a concept is, Faith is not limited to credible beliefs or incredible. Regardless of how certain, faith is concluded by reliant action taken based upon the decided belief.
I may be promised some payment from a person of questionable credibility of incredulous doubtful character. If I decide to trust him at his word and make a loan expecting his promise of payment, it is an act of faith when I give him the loan expecting him to honor his word. I am applying faith in the belief I’ll be paid as promised. When a promise is heard, I can show my faith by making the loan. But ONLY if I believe the promise heard and make the loan relying upon it.
Likewise, we take a step of faith every time we step out of bed expecting to stand upright even though we’ve proven such faith has been well placed many times before as we relied upon our belief and stepped out of bed.
Even if I have God promise he will bless everything I put my hand to and profess I believe it. If I never put my hand to anything relying or expecting what’s promised, the hearing and believing have failed to produce faith.
Wholly committed heart & mind
Deciding to believe what is heard is more than just deciding you believe you heard something.
Faith is more than just a response to hearing. Faith is a response of intellectually believing with decided reliance upon and expectation of what is promised.
If hearing receives a response of expectation without belief, faith is blind and referred to as blind faith. While debatable if a blind faith response is even possible, mere hearing without a response is most certainly NOT faith.
The faith that God requires is a response of believing that comes after hearing his word and deciding to believe it and forming a reliant expectation based upon it.
Yet, faith is often spoken of as being of degrees, as in little or weak:
Luke 12:28 (NASB77)
28 “But if God so arrays the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you, O men of little faith!
Romans 14:1-2 (NIV)
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
Here I believe the weak or little refers to the commitment made to hold, to keep, to live in whole hearted accord with the belief: the word heard is:
- true of reality, and
- If a wordof promise, it will be fulfilled; it is expected.
In faith, the word is believed as defining reality whether it be a statement of present reality or a promise of a future reality.
To the degree a person is certain in their decision to believe and to rely upon the belief decided we find the strength of faith, whether it is little and weak, great and strong.
Uncertainty of belief or reliance is often defined as doubt. But doubt is not unbelief. There is no faith in unbelief just as there is no faith without belief. Still struggling to understand the concept of Blind faith reliance, I believe the blind aspect may cover a person that believes and relies, but is unable to articulate what is actually being believed or relied upon in making a response of reliance. Possibly a blind faith response is one taken based upon some other belief than what was heard; ie, believing all Monday proposals are superstitiously reliable.
In Christian faith, God’s words are believed true and its promises true and expected with the whole heart, soul and mind.
Luke 10:27 (KJV)
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Acts 11:23 (KJV)
23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
Acts 11:23 (ESV)
23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,
Acts 11:23 (AMP)
23 When he arrived and saw what grace (favor) God was bestowing upon them, he was full of joy; and he continuously exhorted (warned, urged, and encouraged) them all to cleave unto and remain faithful to and devoted to the Lord with [resolute and steady] purpose of heart.
Life – We live our lives in relationships
Every identifable aspect of what it means to be human and a part of mankind is defined by relationship. A human being is nothing except as he 0r she relates to all around them. We can not be described, and we have no personal characteristics except as seen against the background of our relationships found within our environment.
You say you have personal characticss such as feet and hands. But, what is a foot without the ground or the earth that it walks upon, or a hand without the objects it can touch, grasp and hold. We are identifiable ONLY because we are part of an environment filled with relationships. Our person is defined by our relationships and our personality is defined according to how we identify what we value with in those relationships.
Quality of Life
Our personality is seen in our attitudes toward our relationships; which do we value most; which do we relate to with greatest preference, which are we passionate about, which do we loath and avoid. Such are referred to as our interests. The most highly valued capture our attention they determine what we attend to and focus upon.
The more highly valued, the more they hold fascination, the ability to capture or fasten our focus upon them. Indeed, whether we perceive our most highly valued as threatened, about to be lost, or about to come fully within our grasp and possession, our most valued hold and keep our focus upon them. The victory in the latter is the glory of the pursuit. It is glorious because we find fulfillment highly satisfying.
When we identify, pursue and obtain our most highly valued preferences, we find a sense of fulfillment. We call this fulfillment – value fulfillment, the glory of a victorious pursuit. Quality of life is directly related to recognizing the pursuits of our most valued relationships result in glorious valued fulfillments.
The mixure of our most highly valued to our least valued are unique to every person and what makes us identifable as individuals and unique personalities. Our ability to discern preferences is innate. Our creator endowed us with the ability to discern a preference and with that ability, a free will to choose what to pursue as our most valued and with that will, the liberty to pursue the most fulfilling.
Life is what we do as we identify our most valued relationships and apply our liberty in pursuit of them.
As with all relationships there are defining aspects or characteristics that identify the relationship. These identify the relationship and make it identifiable. The single most important aspect of any thriving relationship is each party’s faithfulness to the defining charactistics, faithfullness to perform and comply with the aspects that identify the relationship and keep it fulfilling. When the defining aspects of a relationship break down and fade, the relationship begins to break down, it becomes less fulfilling.
Godnews – Gospel
The most important relationship for a Christian is their relationship with their God. For the Christian, the defining charactistics of God’s relationship toward them is known as the Good News or Gospel. The Gospel identifies the characteristics God commits or extends toward us.
God is not deciding how he will relate to us. He is not adapting to an evolving attitude and shifting is his commitments committed to this relationship. The details were set long ago, written and identified. What God has identified as the Gospel is NOT subject to revision nor is he impotent that he can not fulfill. He has committed his response to us. He does not lie or change his mind. He says what he means and means what he says.
Numbers 23:19 (ESV)
19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
In the Gospel, God reveals an abundant life in relationship with him. God is not a man sitting at a far distant location. His nature and the fuller nature of our being is non-local existing outside of time and space as we know it. Within the domain of our souls, we are of one mind and one spirit with the aspects he has extended toward us.
This post is only the beginning.
It will be continued in a series of articles as a study on Belief.