Secondhand Faith

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.” Isaiah 43:10

What does it mean to have faith?

What does it really mean to believe God?

Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Especially if you would categorize yourself as one who does believe, I imagine these are pretty important questions to wrestle through. I’ve heard all sorts of definitions of the word “faith” throughout my life. Here are a few:

“Faith is believing the Word of God and acting on it no matter how I feel, because God promises a good result.” —James MacDonald

“Faith is belief in the abilities and promises of God.” —Beth Moore

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
—Hebrews 11:1

“Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing.” —dictionary.com

I would say that I agree with all of the above. Faith isn’t tangible, but it is everything. What you say you believe is perhaps the most important thing about you. Taking it one step further, who you say Jesus is will always be the most important thing about you.

With all of this in our line of vision today, let’s pause and ask ourselves one more question:

What is the difference between “believing in God” versus “believing God?”

At first glance, you might not see much of a difference at all. I would suggest to you that there is a VAST difference. Many people would say that they believe in God. In fact, James 2:19 tells us that even the demons believe in God. Clearly, “belief in” God isn’t going to cut it. So, what’s the difference?

To believe God means to take Him at His Word, to believe what His Word says is true, and to live your life based on that belief. To believe God means to be confident in His character, that He is ALL who He says He is in His Word and nothing less. To believe God means to understand that your circumstances will never alter His character. He remains good even when your situation does not.

To believe God is far more than believing that He exists, and yet much of this world stops right there. To believe that God exists hardly requires much life change. Anyone can say, “I believe in God.” In fact, to some degree, most people do. Conviction and commitment are required, though, when we would say, “I believe in God.”

Some of us are living off of secondhand faith. We’re hoping that the inspiration from the message at church on Sunday will carry us through until the following Sunday with little to no effort on our part to engage in the Word of God. We’re staking our lives on inspirational phrases and quotes, some of which cannot even be found within the canon of Scripture—things like, “God will never give you more than you can handle” and “God must have needed another angel in heaven” and “God wants me to be happy.” We’re holding onto the faith of our parents, assuming that it will be our ticket into heaven, instead of knowing why we believe what we believe, which would require intentionality and effort on our part.

Take a quick look at Isaiah 43:10 one more time:

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.”

God has chosen us to be His children for two reasons:  to know Him and to believe Him.

That’s it. We exist to know God and to make Him known. We exist for His glory. We were created to make much of who Jesus Christ is. Are we living off of secondhand faith? Run your race today, friend, fixing your eyes on Jesus. Believe Him today. He is everything.

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