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Finding Faith in an Age of Doubt By Toni Babcock
One of the simplest concepts in the Bible is: "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God," (Ephesians 2:8 KJV). It's only humans who make it complicated, or have a problem receiving something that simply cannot be bought.
From time to time you may hear the question, "What faith do you belong to?" As if faith were merely an idea, or a set of precepts and principles, or some other thing one decides to pick and choose from. Yet the reality is, we do not belong to faith. For the believer, faith belongs to the heart.
The bible says "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," (Hebrews 11:1). It then goes on to list the actions of people who exhibited faith. Church membership was not noted in the list, although I am sure they congregated in some form. These heroes of faith demonstrated it is much more than something you have; it is something you exercise. It is a force of life that animates what you do, because it is ignited by a living faith in the living God.
So how does one get faith? First, it is not merely blind devotion. Blind devotion can actually become a blind departure from the living God. Think about it. People are blindly devoted to all kinds of things - religious and non-religious. This is not the faith the Bible describes.
On the other hand, one of the surest signs that the Spirit of God is shining the light of truth in the heart is when we begin to ask hard questions, and by asking these hard questions, we begin to search our own heart. For God "desires truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden parts he will make us to know wisdom" (a reference to Psalm 51:6 KJV). That is the way God works. He never intended us to be blind followers of the blind, afraid of asking questions of Him, or of ourselves. This is why I suggest one never look at doubts as a sure evidence of no faith. From time to time faith simply lays dormant underneath our human need to test our faith, and see if it reigns supreme in the end.
It's important to note what differentiates the believer from the unbeliever. The unbeliever loves to question God in order to catch him in a fault, and disprove His moral right to exist, because he doesn't understand the mystery of evil (as none of us do). The unbeliever has no true conviction of sin or of unrighteousness in himself, but instead becomes God's judge. Whereas, the believer in God wrestles with his temptations, and is troubled by his questioning of God. He has by the grace of God, more than scratched the surface of the nature of his sin - and knows he is dealing with a problem that can only be remedied by the saving power of Jesus Christ.
Take heart true believer. In the end of all our temptations, true faith learns to trust in spite of the fact it doesn't know all the answers to every mystery of evil that surrounds it. Charles Spurgeon, that great nineteenth century preacher of faith put it this way:
"Trust is the lifeblood of faith; there is no saving faith without it. Lean with all your weight upon Christ, fall at full length and lie on the Rock of Ages. Cast yourself upon Jesus. Rest in Him. Commit yourself to Him. That done, you have exercised saving faith."
Toni M. Babcock is author of The Stone Writer, Christian Fiction for Young Readers and Teens.
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