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Isn’t this a pretty shield?!

Scripture tells us to take up the armor of God, the shield of faith, in order to defend ourselves against the Enemy.  The problem is that too many Christians have some pretty illustration of this “shield of faith” that has great aesthetic appeal, but when it comes to defense, its made of porcelain.  What matters is not how your faith looks to the world, or how many Christian bumper stickers you have, what matters is whether or not your shield is made of, and can actually quench the fiery darts of the evil one.

So what is…”faith”?

Here’s some dictionary definitions:
1)    a belief in God or in the teachings of a religion
2)    a belief in anything, as a code of ethics
3)    trust in a person or thing
4)    a belief that is not based on proof

According to Allaboutreligion.org it is “the acceptance of what we cannot see but feel deep within our hearts.”  According to Richard Dawkins, a renowned evolutionary biologist, faith is a “belief in something for which there is no evidence.”  According to him, faith is a blind man stumbling about.  So which definition is right?  What is faith???

4 Components of Faith:
It is:

1) Evidential
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see.”

Acts 17:2 “As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead.”

Acts 17:11 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

2) Trusting
James 1:6 “But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed.”

3) A Belief in God
John 3:16b “…that whosoever should believe in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.”

4) Active
James 2:14-17 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you tells them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled;” and yet you didn’t give them the things the body needs, what good is it?  Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself.”

John 15:5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing”

Let’s Check Out the Greek

The Greek word for faith in the Bible is pistis.  What is pistis?  If you look it up in a Greek lexicon, you’ll find that it means “conviction of the truth,” or fidelity, the “character of one who can be relied upon.”  Pistis and its variations get translated as “faithfulness,” “to believe,” “proof,” “pledge,” and “assurance.”  So when Jesus asks you to have faith in him, he’s not just asking you to “take his word for it.”
John 5:31-36“ If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.  There is another who testifies about me (John the Baptist)…But I have a greater testimony than John’s, for the works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.”

So Christian Faith is…

…not just one thing!  Our faith is much more dense and powerful than the modern meaning of “faith.”  Yes, it’s a belief in God and Christian teaching.  Yes, it’s a trust in a person or thing (Jesus).  Yes, it means to trust and believe despite doubts, even when we do not know everything, and it is something that we feel in our hearts to be true, but only because of the evidence of Jesus Christ’s existence, of his works, of the incredible story of who he was, and who he IS.  It is based on its ability to resonate with the hearts of all people and answer to the human condition better than any other explanation by science or any other religion.  It is a REASONED faith, an active faith, one built upon a rock, not upon sand.  What would happen if Christians were only using one or two of those definitions up there?  What would happen if we let the world and culture define what our faith was?  People would probably get the wrong idea and think that Christians are just simple-minded, science-fearing, historically ignorant, sheep.

…wouldn’t that be awful?

Have you ever wondered why early Christians were so courageous?  Why they suffered so much persecution?  If the persecutions happened in America, how many Christians would be martyrs?  How far have we drifted from Biblical, Christian faith?  I’m not trying to make any Christian feel bad, I’m trying to encourage so that we might attain the faith we’re called to have.

Mark 9:24 “I believe!  Help my unbelief!”

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