Every illustration of faith throughout the Bible reveals that faith is the belief in God's Word and character despite circumstances or situations. To put it another way: Faith is believing God when things look, sound or feel the opposite of what He says.
While faith may be the confidence in what you can't yet see (Heb. 11:1), God doesn't ask you to believe based on something you've never seen. That is, He doesn't ask for blind faith. No, God asks you to believe based on His character as observed in what He's already done. And that's all He's ever asked of all of His people. Let me explain.
The Biblical Basis of Faith
Since the beginning, before God asked someone to trust Him, He first established His character in their eyes.
Adam & Eve
Consider the story of Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:9a (NIV) recounts that after God created Adam, He placed him in the Garden of Eden, where—in front of Adam's eyes—"The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground." In Genesis 3:8, the Bible implies that God regularly visited with the first couple while they were in the Garden. Undoubtedly, this kind of time with God surely helped them to know His heart.
My point is: God never simply sat in heaven and only asked them to trust Him. But through His creating power and His friendship, He showed Himself to them so they could.
David's faith to take down the giant Goliath wasn't founded in his own strength nor in only what he heard or read about God. No, when Saul noted David's inexperience and questioned his ability to battle, David boldly responded with his experience with God. He boasted, ""The Lord who delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine" (1 Sam. 17:37b, MEV).
Do you see? David's faith to defeat Goliath came because God had shown Himself faithful in David's history. He didn't rely on his abilities to achieve a victory, but on God's, because he experienced God doing it before.
Doing What David Did
My history with God is what gives me the faith to make bold moves. As I share in my armor of God study, one of the most consequential steps toward what I do today happened in my early 20s. At the time, I was employed by one of the largest churches in the nation, living in a city I loved, surrounded by great friends.
Then God asked me to do something daring. He asked me to move eight hours north where I knew no one, take a substantial pay cut and lose my benefits—all to help restore a severely struggling organization. Though I was confident I heard from God, friends and family were far from convinced. And I was scared!
While feelings of fear never completely left, I followed God's direction by doing what David did: I looked backed into my history with God. When I feared the finances, I remembered how God provided before. When I feared not knowing anybody, I remembered how God brought friends before. When I feared what would happen to my career, I remembered the doors God opened before. This all built my faith that, in some way, God would get me through again. And He did!
Using Your History with God
Perhaps you're thinking, "That's great for you, but I don't have a history with God like that!" And that might be true; we all have different journeys. But you are still here, right? Think about that! You are here reading this article, which means you made it through challenges you thought would be the end of you.
Certainly, I'm not saying everything worked out perfectly or God met every need the way you wanted. But in one way or another, God got you here to this moment. So, you definitely have a history with God.
Now, use your past to prophesy to your future. Be confident that God will part these waters again; God will move this mountain again; God will provide again; God will deliver again; God will come through again. Yes, reflecting upon the goodness of God in your past is the key to faith in your future.
(Want more simple strategies like this? Join my illustrated, six-lesson online study, The Armor of God, where I explore how to activate each weapon to win your battles today.)
Kyle Winkler (www.kylewinkler.org) is the creator of the popular Shut Up, Devil! mobile app. His latest book is Activating the Power of God's Word: 16 Strategic Declarations to Transform Your Life. Kyle holds a Master of Divinity in biblical studies from Regent University. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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