By Chris McRae, BCI Discipleship Team Leader
Faith births faith, nourishes faith, harvests faith – we go from faith to faith. Its opposite is a ripple of doubt, a wave of disbelief, a flood of panic, a tsunami of grief. There is a progression of both faith and doubt. Faith is not static but dynamic. It is living. If fed and nourished, it grows. If starved and suppressed, it withers.
The world understand faith, if at all, as a blind leap, a shot in the dark, a wish and a hope and a prayer. Faith is anti-rational, akin to insanity. To the intelligentsia, people of faith have checked out of reality, put their brain on a shelf someplace, and inhabit a land foreign to the modernist, the physicalist, the materialist.
Faith is anti-science, anti-reason, anti-logic, in short, anti-intelligent. That’s what the world says. I may object to that characterization but it doesn’t really change anything. Oh, it might be allowed that I’m a nice enough guy and all. I might even be one of the “good guys.” But when it comes right down to it, really – I’ve got a screw loose, one brick shy of a full load; the elevator doesn’t go to the top floor; a light might is on but there’s no one home. You get what I mean. After all, any truly intelligent person couldn’t believe this stuff about things that can’t be proven scientifically.
Let me just say that I’d have a whole lot more doubts about faith if the spiritual world could be quantitatively proven by the scientific method. Who wants a Holy Spirit that can be weighed and measured, that is composed of atoms, molecules, mass and form? Not me!
Being a man of faith, I personally find faith quite substantive. I wish I understood it better, wish I had a handle on all this spiritual stuff. I aspire to be able to explain it better. My mind can’t seem to get wrapped tightly around it all. I’m intelligent, reasonably. I like to think, I think. I even enjoy philosophy and other esoteric disciplines. But I admit to being at a loss when it comes to explaining these things.
I could get all theological about it. I could look up the Greek word and work out the vocabulary and I could tell you that the word itself is pistis (or if you’re a purist, πίστις). Generically it implies a conviction concerning the truth about anything. In a Christian context, faith has as its object Jesus Christ, the eternal son of God and long-awaited Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God. Honestly, though, such technicalities do little for me. Faith is more. Faith, as I said, is alive and powerful and moves – mountains and men!
The faith that I know but have difficulty explaining, is a grace-gift straight from God. Faith is as much a sense as sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. It is a spiritual sense that makes sense of the spiritual realm, not the physical. Faith brings alive the reality of the spiritual realm. It helps us tune into spiritual reality in the same way that our eyes, ears and nose clue us in to the world of physical reality. Without our five senses we’d know little of the universe. There would be no tools for exploring or of knowing. Those without faith are toolless in the realm of the spiritual. And it appears that they are happy to remain so.
As much, and perhaps more so, I want to be able to make sense of reality. There is a physcial reality that we deal with on a daily basis. My consciousness is awakened every morning when the alarm goes off. My ears register the tone immediately after my skin picks up the vibrations that I’ve set my phone to make. Eyes slowly peel open and allow the first gray light of a new day to filter through. I begin working my jaw and taste the accumulated … tastes and textures. (I’ve got to brush my teeth!). This is not the end of it though. Just as there are sights and sound that inform our living in a material world, there are spiritual realities that can only be sensed through the exercise of faith.
Faith is confidence! Faith is courage. Faith is substance of a spiritual nature and evidence of reality beyond our physical senses. So, we walk in faith, not sight.