Faith is, as we are told in Hebrews 11:1, something that is unseen and unproven.
Faith is a choice; it is a conscious decision to believe in something.
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Many people can prove that their belief is valid by simply showing it to be true with a scientific proof; for example, we all believe in gravity, and we can validate our belief by dropping something.
But what about belief in God? What about believing that Yeshua (Jesus) not only was a real person who really existed, but that he is the Messiah?
We can prove his existence because it is verified in the works of Josephus, but that doesn’t prove he is the Messiah.
We can say his miracles, which were verified by eyewitnesses and documented in (at least) four different books of the Bible, prove he was the Messiah. But that really doesn’t prove anything, because (for starters) we can’t prove the Bible is completely accurate. Oh, yes, there is plenty of archaeological evidence to show that the stories and references to many biblical characters is accurate, but that doesn’t mean Yeshua did what Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John say he did. And with regard to the messianic prophecies, well, the Apostles did the same miracles that Yeshua did, so that kind of kills the argument that Yeshua’s miracles prove he was the one and only Messiah.
When it comes to faith in God, the Messiah, and what is written in the Bible, we need to choose to believe. In truth, if we could scientifically prove the existence of God that would be the antithesis of faith, because absolute proof of something does away with the need to choose to believe in it.
It is because we have to choose to have faith that it becomes very difficult to share that faith with the “real” world, which always wants to be told why something is and to be shown that it really is what they were just told it is. The world is just like people from Missouri, which is known as the “Show me” state.
The world says, “If I can’t touch, hear, see or smell it, it ain’t there!” But those of us with faith say, “I believe, anyway.”
Abraham knew that he and Sarah were way too old to have any children, but when God said he would have a son, he chose to believe him. When Jonah was told to go to Nineveh, he believed that God would forgive them if they repented, which he didn’t want to happen so he ran away.
On the other hand, there were some heroes of the Bible that did not believe; at least, not right away.
As Jacob was going to Laban, God promised to bring him back to his home and give his descendants the land, but Jacob didn’t believe him completely, so he made a pact, saying that if God did provide for him and keep him safe, then Jacob would worship God (Genesis 28:20.) And Gideon was so doubtful that he asked God to prove it was really him (Judges 6:33-40), from which we get the phrase, “Throwing the fleece before the Lord.”
Having faith is hard because it is basic human nature to want to believe only that which we can prove, and what is harder than having faith is keeping it in light of everyone else calling you ignorant or foolish for believing.
I am absolutely convinced that God exists and that Yeshua is the Messiah God promised to send. Why? At first, it was because I chose to believe it, but over the past 20-plus years, there have been events in my life that have been so wonderful and unexpected that I cannot put it down to coincidence. I have had prayers answered, with exactly what I prayed for, which in the “provable” world couldn’t have happened. But what is important to note is that I do not believe because the miracles happened- the miracles happened because I believed!
If someone has a miraculous event in their life which causes them to believe in God, for me, that is a concern. Why? Because Satan can create miracles, too, and if I believe simply because of a miraculous event, then my faith is founded in something other than my choice. It is founded upon a physical event, which can be created by Satan, and in many cases easily faked by a human.
Miracles can help to reinforce our belief, but I feel absolutely certain that our belief in God, the faith we hold in him and his Messiah, must be founded on our decision to believe and not on some physical event in our life.
Once we have chosen to believe in something, we must acknowledge that there is a fine line between faithfully believing and just being stubborn and unwilling to listen. I can’t tell you how to know the difference, so case-by-case, time-by-time we all need to hold true to our faith, yet be open to hearing other people’s beliefs.
That’s another reason why faith is so hard- because it is a choice, we are always able to change our minds, or be influenced to do so. I suppose the best advice I can give is to make a thorough knowledge of the Bible the foundation for your belief, and constantly pray that God will validate your trust. Not in the way Gideon did, by testing the Lord (which the Bible says we shouldn’t) but as a, well…let’s call it a confirmation of choosing to be on the right side.
Faith is a choice, a decision that each of us will make whether we know it or not. No decision is still a decision, and it is a double-edged sword because we can choose to believe or reject, but no matter why we choose, or who led us to that choice, we are, each and every one of us, ultimately going to be accountable to God for that choice.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!