What is Faith?

If you have been following my blog, you know that I have been working through Priscilla Shirer’s study through Ephesians, “The Armor of God.”  I fell a little bit behind and am trying to work to finish before my next study starts this Wednesday.

We have talked about the Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, and Shoes of Peace.  These are all defensive weapons that we need to wear all the time.  But sometimes the enemy is attacking us so intensely, that we need to utilize other weapons at our disposal. We must fight against him!  So pick up the Shield of Faith!

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” Ephesians 6:16.

The Roman Centurion used a shield called a scutum that was about two feet wide and four feet long– large enough to crouch behind for protection.

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Faith can be used to protect our entire body if we use it.  Faith is not something we simply have, but rather it is something we must use or something we must do.  Faith is an action.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1

Priscilla sums this up by stating that “faith is acting like God is telling the truth.”  “It is the process of adapting your behavior, your decisions, and ultimately, your whole lifestyle so that it accords with what God has asked you to do.” Armor of God.

You know what is interesting to me is when people find out that I am a Christian, often times they will pick a particular activity and ask if that is something I can’t do since I’m a Christian, i.e. drinking alcohol or watching violent and verbally aggressive movies.  But what I try to explain is that God has given me guidance on how I should live my life, not because he wants to take any enjoyment from me, but so that I can live a fully abundant life.  I choose not to drink alcohol because I know what it can do to people. I want to always be in control of my actions and not use a substance that will inhibit that.  But I also do not want to let my actions influence someone else.

But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. 1 Corinthians 8:9

And God didn’t tell me that I can’t watch certain movies or TV shows.  But I feel that it is important for me to be careful about what types of things from this world I let inside my head and heart so that I do not let those things that are not of God seep into my conscience and control me.

When we take up the Shield of Faith in our lives, we are proving to God and those around us that we truly do trust God like we say we do.  But Priscilla cautions us not to think that we have the power to protect ourselves by having some particular amount of faith.

Faith does not control God. It doesn’t make God do something. A better understanding of what happens when we exhibit faith is that it gives us access to what God has already intended to do for us.

It doesn’t matter how much faith you have or how big your faith is, ONLY that you place your faith in the right place- in God and then recognize how big God is! The more you trust Him, believe Him and place your faith in Him, the more you will be willing to depend on Him.

‘If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,’ the Lord said, ‘ you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you'” Luke 17:5-6.

With all weapons, we must know how to use them.  You need to read the owner’s manual to make sure you know how to work the safety settings.  The same is true with the Shield of Faith.  We need to know the owner’s manual to use our faith correctly.  That means we need to read the Bible to have a firm foundation and understanding of God’s truth in order to use our faith.

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The last time you had to make a decision in your life, whether big or small, it is likely that at least part of your decision was based on how you feel.  But the question becomes, why did you feel that way?  Did God lead you to that understanding through his truth?  If so, then you have made the correct decision.  But if your decision was based solely on your feelings, then you may have made a misstep, and are likely dealing with the aftermath of that misstep at this time.  “Feelings change and are subject to external stimuli. Actions done in faith must be anchored in something more solid and fixed.”  Priscilla Shirer, “Armor of God.”

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Easier said than done right?  That is how I often feel.  But there you go again, I am basing even that on feelings.  When you really think about it, believing that God, the creator of the entire universe, knows what He is talking about, is not as hard as we make it out to be.  He gave us the owner’s manual and rule book for our lives. We just need to read it to know what it says.  We need to use it to guide us and strengthen our faith so that we will be more likely to reach for it for safety and support when we need it.  We need to remember that God is faithful in his love for us and His leading in our life.

The temptations in your life are not different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Those temptations may be alcohol, gambling, adultery, bad language, jealousy, pride, addiction to food, and many more tools (or weapons) of the devil. But with God’s truth supporting us and our faith blocking those tools, we can be protected and able to live abundantly in this life on earth until our eternity in Heaven by His side.

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