For a tiny five-letter word, faith feels somewhat intricate and knotty to me. There were moments growing up in the church when I heard words like “faith”, “believe” and “trust” and began equating them with action steps and calculated outcomes rather than a relationship built on a bedrock of what I believe. And that was one of my biggest misconceptions. What I’m discovering today is that faith was never about following a set of rules or expectations or checklists. Faith boils down to what I actually believe about God.
In the past, when I’ve read Hebrews 11, I’ve looked at the stories of the men and women of the Bible and wished I had the guts of their “by faith” moments. I viewed their stories through a lens of fiery action and mighty slingshot slinging—men and women who suited up for battle and charged, bellowing their battle cry. Yes, these individuals did take action, kick butt, and take names; however, they didn’t act from a posture of a “let’s get this done” mindset. Rather, they acted upon their faith, their deep-rooted confidence in God.
I’ve had faith all wrong. I thought faith was measured in active points—that if I really believed God is who He says He is, I would invite strangers to church, sell all of my belongings and move to a third world country, and live on Ramen noodles so I could give more than I took. While those aren’t bad things—we should invite people to church and there’s nothing wrong with going to third world countries or helping people—they aren’t the litmus test for whether we have faith or not.
So, what really is faith? The dictionary defines it as “confidence or trust in a person or thing”. The Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1,
“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” Hebrews 11:1, MSG (emphasis added)
Hebrews 11:4 in the Message translation also says, “It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made all the difference.” (emphasis added)
Faith isn’t about doing, it’s about being—being so grounded in relationship with Jesus that everything else flows from trusting Him. Faith is the bedrock from which we build everything else. Simply put, faith boils down to our belief system—do we believe God is who He says He is? Do we trust that He has a plan for our lives? Do we trust Him to see us through?
The litmus test to our faith lies within our answers to those questions. Faith is marked by what we believe about God.
Take a few minutes to wrestle through this question: who do you believe God is?
As I wrestle through this question, here’s what I know to be true: when I believe God is who He says He is, everything changes—I’m confident in who I am and who I’m becoming; I have hope for today and a promise for tomorrow; I believe I am created with purpose on purpose; I can love people no matter what they do or don’t do because my trust is in God; I release my worries to Him because God is greater than my fear; I rise, lionhearted.
What we believe about God is the ultimate game changer. If we don’t truly believe He is God and He is good—even when everything around us is in shambles—then we’re just going through the motions, putting on a pretty mask, sipping our Pumpkin Spice Lattes, checking Sunday church experiences off our weekly to do lists, and wondering why nothing is really transforming in our lives. A lionhearted kind of faith embraces that this world we live in is messy and broken, but God is good and He can be trusted—and He has equipped us for battle and empowered us to become the lionhearted women He made us to be.
So friend, who do you believe God is? Are you ready to lace up your boots and really ask yourself that question? When we do, it unlocks everything. We’re on this journey—this grand adventure of becoming who God made us to be—together. More than a post about what faith is or isn’t, we want to equip you with tools to pick up and wrestle through faith and questions about who God is—because faith isn’t something to neatly package in a blog post; faith is something to work through and for each of us to discover in a personal, unique way. So grab your Bible, a journal and a pen, and check out these resources to dive deeper into living a lionhearted kind of faith:
- Read Hebrews 11.
- Listen to Lauren Daigle’s song “Here’s My Heart”.
- Watch Jen Hatmaker’s teaching from IF: Gathering on faith & belief: https://vimeo.com/132747815
- Check out If: Equip (weekly devotionals centered on these questions: “If you believe this is true…what does this mean about: God? You? The world?”)