I have faith in God and that Yeshua is the Messiah- that is a fact. But facts have nothing to do with my faith.
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In Hebrews 11:1 we are told that faith, or trusting, is being confident in what we hope for and convinced about things that we do not see. So, by definition, faith and facts are almost the antitheses of each other.
If we can see, touch, smell, hear or taste something, we know it is real because our senses tell us it is. However, our senses can be fooled, quite easily, so facts aren’t really the best reason for having faith.
Here’s an example: experiments have been done where a person is told they will have a hot poker or lit match placed against their skin. They are blindfolded, then allowed to smell the match or feel the heat of the hot item. Then they are touched with a piece of ice and the person’s reaction, including sometimes the physical reaction of their skin, is the same as if they were being burned. Their belief made ice feel like fire, which to me means that faith is stronger than fact.
Faith in God and faith that Yeshua is the Messiah is what God wants from us, and the strength of our faith is proven in how we act with each other and how we worship God. God gave us the instructions for how to live, and if we faithfully believe in his existence, in his authority, and in his promises to reward (and punish), then we would be stupid to do anything BUT what God says we should do.
The kind of faith God wants from us is based on nothing more than our decision to believe. Facts should have nothing to do with it.
It is similar when believing that Yeshua is the Messiah God promised to send. Although we have eye-witnessed attestations to the miracles Yeshua performed, there is no scientific or archaeological evidence of his miracles. In fact (pardon the expression), the only evidence of his existence is in the writings of Josephus, who mentions him briefly as the brother of James who was killed.
People who choose to believe based on what they are told can easily be swayed from one belief to another. Think of all the people you know who started off as a Catholic or a Jew, then became something else, went from Western to Eastern religious theology, then back again, and now (at least, for the moment) believe in something totally different. Again. They are making a choice, but their faith is weak because they see-saw from one system to another, most likely because (from my experience) they are looking for something they want instead of recognizing what is there.
I have known people who went from doctor to doctor looking for a doctor to tell them what they wanted to hear.
Faith cannot be based on what happens. If you are faithful because of a miraculous event in your life, the event may have been wonderful but your resultant faith is weak. Why? Because if a miracle can convince you, your choice to believe is based on a factual event, not on what we are told it should be, i.e., on what you can’t see. And the really dangerous aspect to having faith as a result of a miracle is that the Devil can make miracles happen just as easily as God can and if one miracle can turn you from sin to faith, then another miracle can turn you back to sin. Easily!
So don’t believe in God because of the testimony of others, although that testimony isn’t useless. Put it in the back of your head for later. And don’t believe in God because of some Evangelist healing someone on TV. And don’t accept that Yeshua is the Messiah because you were brought up being told that by your Priest or Minister, or that he isn’t the Messiah because your Rabbi said so: many of them, if not most, believe because they were brought up to believe that way. And what they teach isn’t always from the Bible, it’s from their Seminary classes. Why do you think that so much of Christianity has nothing to do, really, with the instructions God gave to the world in the Torah?
And as for my own people, we aren’t any better: so much of Halacha (the Way to Walk) is from the Talmud and not the Tanakh.
Let your faith be based on your choice to be faithful, and don’t let that choice be influenced by others. But, and here’s the caveat- make sure you are totally comfortable with your choice and that is based on what you read in the Bible, and I mean the WHOLE Bible, which is from Genesis through Revelation. This is especially important when you make your choice about Yeshua (Jesus) because everything you are to know about recognizing the Messiah is in the Tanakh (the Old Covenant.)
I can’t stress enough how important it is that your choice be your own and based on the bible because at the final Judgment you will be held accountable for whatever choice you make, no matter why you made it.
I chose to believe over 20 years ago that God really does exist, and that Yeshua is the Messiah he sent. I made that choice, without realizing (at the time) my choice was actually a Leap of Faith. And since I made that choice I have received confirmation through being given the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), which didn’t happen until about 3 months after I made my choice, and from many blessings in my life which have shown me that God is watching after me.
These blessings didn’t motivate my choice, but having made the choice and not swerving from it (despite attacks I received from other Jews and some family members) I know that these blessings confirm I made the correct choice.
And I also believe that because my faith motivated me to be more obedient to God’s instructions in the Torah, the blessings I received, and still do receive, is confirmation that my choice to be faithful was correct.
If you have already chosen to believe in God and Yeshua, that is great, but if your daily life doesn’t demonstrate your faith through good works (James 2:14) then may I suggest you re-evaluate the foundation of your faith.
Faith is also a form of trust, and between humans, as a rule, trust is given only after it has been earned. But with God, it works the other way around. Our trust in God must be first, and when we demonstrate that trusting faithfulness through our actions, he will then earn our trust through the many blessings we will receive from him, just as he promises to do in the Torah.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!