Wednesday, July 21, 2010

True Faith

Faith is misunderstood. Faith is not convincing yourself that something is true in spite of evidence to the contrary - or the lack of evidence altogether. That is the way most people think about faith. They think it means believing the unbelievable, checking your intellect at the door when entering a house of worship. That is not faith; that is self-deception.

Faith is spiritual sight - seeing the unseen. It is "conviction of things unseen," as Hebrews puts it. The same book describes Moses' faith as "seeing Him who is invisible." Believing is seeing. Faith's slogan is "I'll believe it when I see it." When Job said, "Now my eyes see you," he was not talking about physical sight. All he saw with his eyes was a whirlwind, but with his spirit he saw God.

Sure, the Bible says that "No one has ever seen God." But the same verse continues on to say, "but Christ has made him known." Faith is first hand knowledge of God that transcends second hand knowledge about God. Job said to God, "I had heard of you with the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you." Faith is a faculty of the spirit that the mind cannot comprehend.

To have a little bit of faith is to have it all. All you need is to have the door to heaven open a tiny crack, and you can see a lot through that crack. That is why Jesus said that a mustard seed portion is sufficient to move mountains and do the impossible. Without faith demons laugh in your face, and the winds and waves ignore you. With faith the earth trembles. The supernatural and natural worlds bow in submission to the sons and daughters of God.

Most religion does not know such faith. It doesn't matter what name the religion goes by. It doesn't matter if it is organized religion or private spirituality, institutional religion or individualized belief. Religion by any name is a usually a faithless affair.

Faith walks on water while religion rides the boat. Faith stands on the substratum of the universe. It rests on Being while beings worry about drowning.  Faith is remembering what you already know to be true.

Have you ever noticed what happens when you hear something that "rings true"? Something is said, and people shake their heads in agreement. They know it is true because the Spirit bears witness in their spirits that it is true. There is an inner witness.

Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart said that he could not define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it. The same is true of truth; you know it when you hear it. People may not be able to put it into words, but they know it.

This is how we know scripture is inspired and true, even when we do not fully understand it. The Spirit inspired the words in the first place and witnesses to its truthfulness to our spirit.  Faith is knowing that you know. It is more than just shaking your head in assent when someone describes truth; faith is being consumed by truth. One doesn't know truth; Truth knows you.

When the unseen is seen, the unheard is heard, the incomprehensible is understood, and the impossible is possible, then mountains lose their footing. Eyes open. Faith awakes. You know the truth and the truth sets you free.

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