What is faith? It’s difficult to define, but maybe I can get there by thinking what it is not. Faith is not the warm fuzzies of spiritual life somehow dissociated from the real world. If I am to take Hebrews chapter 11 (where Wordlive has taken me) seriously, then I need to have a more robust notion of what faith is.
Nor is faith about believing difficult or impossible things just for the sake of it. So it is not credulity, though at times it must have seemed like it (eg Abraham and Sarah Having another laugh). It is much more.
Faith is life-defining, as the other examples in the chapter show. It is believing that there is a God, that he has made promises to mankind, promises that he will ultimately keep, even although is may appear that he has taken a holiday. So there is something about trusting God’s faithfulness much more than it is about conjuring up a spiritual state for others to envy – the “I wish I had your faith” brigade. There’s also something about living out our beliefs, integrating all areas of life.
In one of his interviews in Mitch Albom’s book I mentioned, the Reb says this:
“‘Mitch,’ he said, ‘faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.'”
He seems to have got it right.
“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds’.” (James 2:17-18)
Or as The Message puts it: “Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.”
So I need to have a life-defining faith, an integrated faith, faith that God is faithful no matter what.