As I was reading through Hebrews recently, the faith chapter (Hebrews 11) really encouraged me and I wanted to pass on the encouragement to you. As I reflected on the passage, I enjoyed viewing it from 3 different angles:
- What Is Faith? (this post)
- What Does It Look Like To Step Out In Faith? (click here to read)
- What Should I Expect When I Step Out In Faith? (click here to read)
And so, first…
What Is Faith?
Hebrews 11 is commonly referred to as the chapter of faith, and rightfully so. It gives us one of the best and most simple definitions of faith you will find anywhere, and then it expands on it throughout the rest of the chapter pulling examples from throughout scripture.
Faith is the…
“Assurance of things hoped for, the conviction (or “substance”) of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Or put another way:
Faith is when you hope in,
and take action on,
something you look forward to
that isn’t here yet.
For the Christian, this thing we “hope for” and look forward to is an eternal relationship with God starting now and eventually continuing after death and on through eternity.
The many facets of faith
One of the things I find amazing about Hebrews 11 is that throughout the chapter, we see faith rephrased in different ways.
Kind of like how you can put a concept “in your own words” once you fully understand it.
I find these rephrases extremely helpful. Kind of like looking at a block from different angles, the different descriptions (rephrasings) of the definition of faith, helps you find a deeper appreciation and understanding of it as a whole.
I’ve put together a few that I found from the chapter, and I encourage you to read them and reflect on them.
“Believe that He [God] exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Faith in God requires us to not just believe in Him, but in His character that He has clearly revealed in scripture.
“Considered Him [God] faithful who had promised” (Hebrews 11:11)
Part of faith is putting your faith IN something (or someone).
A classic example: When you sit down, you’re putting faith in the chair you sit on.
God wants us to take strong consideration of WHO He is asking us to put our faith in, to consider His faithfulness.
One of my favorite quotes sums this up pretty well:
“God’s past faithfulness demands our present trust.”
As you reflect on God’s past faithfulness, it’s much easier to put your trust (and faith) in Him for today.
“Not having received the things promised, but having greeted them from afar.” (Hebrews 11:13)
This is a solid reminder that faith can only be in something that isn’t here… yet.
When we have faith, it is something “out there” and not here yet.
But I loved this phrasing: “having greeted them [promises they hadn’t seen fulfilled yet] from afar.”
Similar to trusting in the faithfulness of the One Who we put our faith in, we can be so certain in our faith in Him that we can “greet them from afar.” The fulfillment of God’s promises may not be here yet but they’re as good as here.
“Considered that God was able to even…” (Hebrews 11:19)
When we reflect on God’s past faithfulness, we are essentially saying this very thing.
“If God was able to even __ then surely He will fulfill His promise now.”
“Considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt…” (Hebrews 11:26)
Having faith in God requires us to look at our alternatives and weight them out.
Is what God offers truly better than what the world offers?
The answer is of course YES, but it’s important to step back and make sure our heart understands what our mind does.
Do we consider the faith we have for something “not yet” more valuable than what is in front of us?
The decisions we make will reflect what we truly believe.
“Endured as seeing Him Who is invisible [God].” (Hebrews 11:27)
Similar to “greet them [coming promises] from afar”, this is a very cool and unique way to describe faith.
Enduring can be difficult even when the prize is in sight,
How much more difficult when you can’t see the prize yet?
The great examples of faith we see in Hebrews 11 are people who lived as if they had seen the prize. They had endured as if they had physically seen God and knew that He was worth it.
You may not get to physically see Jesus this side of heaven,
To physically look at the prize for following Him,
But I pray that you can have spiritual eyes to see the prize and know that He really is worth it.
And to live a life that has faith in Him to the very end.
Having Faith Today
As we are told in this chapter, let us live today in faith as many have before us.
May you… Believe that He [God] exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
May you… Consider Him [God] faithful who has promised
May you… Not have received the things promised, but as if you have greeted them from afar.
May you… Consider that God is able to even…
May you… Consider the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt…
May you… Endure as seeing Him Who is invisible [God].