Faith is one of those words used over and over but do we really understand what it means to have faith? Hebrews 11:1 tells us that
“Faith is the assurance of things we hope for, being certain of what we cannot see”.
We cannot see, yet we believe! Faith is the very foundation of our christian life.
“No one draws near to God without first believing that He exists”…- Hebrews 11:6.
There are many examples of faith in the bible, going as far back as Abraham who believed God’s promises. What we consider impossible becomes possible when we have faith. By faith Sarah who would ordinarily be considered to be past child bearing age, had a child! Great and mighty things do happen when we trust, believe and obey God. “We walk by faith, not by sight” – 1 Corinthians 13:12. To demonstrate the strength of Abraham’s faith, God asked him to sacrifice the only son he had, Isaac. Some of us will run and hide our children if we get such a message from God.
With faith, comes obedience. Obedience to the will of God. Saying yes to God – Noah was saved by faith. Mary conceived our Saviour, Jesus Christ by faith and obedience. She yielded to the will of God and believed that it will be done unto her according to His will. Elizabeth said to Mary in Luke 1:45 “Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s word would come true”.
“By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God” – Catechism of the Catholic Church(CCC), 143. To obey in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment – CCC, 144. “Man’s response to God by faith must be free, and . . . therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act” ( CCC, 160). Faith is a personal adherence of man to God. It is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. As personal adherence to God and assent to his truth, Christian faith differs from our faith in any human person – CCC 150.
The story of the boy with an evil spirit in Mark 9: 14-29 shows the effects of faith or lack thereof. The disciples tried to cast out the evil spirit from the boy but they could not. Jesus called them faithless. As soon as the evil spirit saw Jesus, it left the boy. The father of the boy said to Jesus, IF you can do anything…I love Jesus’ response. He said “Why do you say “if you can”? All things are possible for one who believes”. Not some things, but ALL things, if we just have faith.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5: 25-34. She believed that if she just touched His garment, she will be healed of her ailment. Jesus said to her “daughter, your faith has saved you…”. Faith brings salvation and freedom.
Faith goes beyond human understanding. Our faith can move mountains! We need to pray, pray and pray some more. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much – James 5:16. Yes Lord, we believe!!
“And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” – Matthew 21:21-22.
May the Holy Spirit increase our faith, love and knowledge of God. Amen.
By Chika Madueke.