Thursday, February 23, 2012

What is Faith?

What is faith?


1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

The "based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof" part is, I believe, the key. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." How can we have substance and evidence without substance and evidence?

On the surface, it's ridiculous. It's contradictory. It's not rational. And, yet, it is true. When our spirits are reborn and alive in Christ, we can know these things that are spiritually discerned. Our spiritual eyes are opened, and we can see that substance and that evidence. We can take hold of it and hang on to it even when "reality" tells us something different.

I had a long discussion with an unbelieving friend on just this subject. I said I know God is real. He said I believe it but can't possibly know it. I realize the distinction he was making, but he didn't seem to understand the one I was making. I know. As much as I know the things I can see and feel or taste, touch and smell, I know. And yet I realize he can't possibly understand what I was telling him. The natural (unregenerated) man cannot understand the spiritual.

Can. Not.

1 Corinthians 2:9-16: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."

Thank God that He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us in discerning spiritual things. It's an amazing, awesome gift that I can't possibly explain. As a pastor I know likes to put it, "You just know in your knower."

How does that work? I don't have a clue. But I have faith that it does.

What are you having faith for right now?

What do you see with your spiritual eyes?

DeAnna Julie Dodson has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. She is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, and Letters in the Attic, a contemporary mystery. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with four spoiled cats.


  1. DeAnna, this is lovely. Faith. It's such a beautiful thing. I love the faith scriptures you shared. Faith has seen me through so many heartbreaking life circumstances.

    Faith is the cornerstone of my life. I do believe I was led to faith by the prompting of the Spirit. I have some very important people in my life for whom I constantly pray will see God revealed through the prompting of the Spirit. (Okay, that was a poorly constructed sentence, but I'm operating on two hours of sleep).

  2. I love this subject. I think spiritual awareness is really a sixth sense that we just have a hard time quantifying. It is heightened by being tapped into the holy spirit (and also not holy spirits.) But, there is also scientific evidence from separated twin studies that spiritual sensitivity is somewhat inborn. The separated twins had similar levels of spiritual awareness, although sometimes different religions. Interesting, huh.

  3. Spot on, Dina!

    Thanks, DeAnna, those are some of my favorite faith verses... I needed those today!

    Right now my faith is turned toward provision for our needs and for a job for my husband. ASAP.

    Haha... hubby and I had this "disagreement" last night. He had this harebrained notion that almost made me physically ill it was so contrary to what I sense in my spirit he's supposed to be doing.

    But explaining to him that my reaction was birthed from my spirit, not just emotions and logic, was quite difficult. One of those times when you have to suck it up and turn it over to God to get the message through in a way he can understand.

    Keeping my spiritual eyes peeled....

  4. Beautiful post!
    Isn't it funny that our Lord actually WANTS us to believe in something we can't see? I mean what kind of God expects that- even delights- in something so... intangible?

    Oh, hi everyone! Blessings!!

  5. Okay, so I had been checking another blog, then had a pity party -- "God, what am I supposed to do about our house: sell? rent?

    Then I clicked on Inkwell.


    Am I going to have faith that God is going to take care of us? Yes. Am I going to have faith that all things will work for our good EVEN if it takes time? Yes.

    So why am I filled with angst?

    Becaues I want to control the situation. because I want answers now. Because I'm nt being patient. because becasue because I'm not resting in faith. Uggh.

    In a side related note . . .

    I can't remeber what it was that Dina had said, but it reminded me of a question I'd posed on ACFW main list. I asked how to you explain hearing God's voice to someone who doesn't believe it's possible. tiime and time again the responses I got back were lecturing me on how it's possible to hear God. Umm. I wasn't arging that it wasn't. I just wanted to know how you (let's say, you DeAnna) would explain hearing God to an unbeliever. Obvioulsy you're blog post is your answer.

    Anyhoo, eventually one gal finally responded with something besides a sermon on proof God speaks.

    She said part of being able to hear God comes from being willing to hear Him.

    That makes me wonder: How often to I yearn to hear God?

    I want to yearn. I want to hear. I need answers. Even if the answer is "shhh, be still and wait."

  6. @Suzie- Yes, John 6:44 says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him," so I'm sure your coming to faith was due to a call from the Spirit. And, yes, that is a paradox, because the Scripture says the unregenerated cannot know things of the Spirit. Yet, we all start out unregenerated. It's a miracle. That's all I know. :D

    @Dina - There's definitely more in heaven and earth than we can explain. Even the unsaved friend I mentioned in my post will tell you "there are things out there and they don't mean us any good."

    @Niki - Do keep your spiritual eyes open. I think God puts husbands and wives together so they can each see what the other misses or in some way make up for what the other lacks.

    @Cheryl - Yes, He does! Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe!

    @Gina - That would definitely be my answer. I don't know how it works. I'm just thankful it does. :D

  7. Lovely post, DeAnna. I needed the reminder. There's some tough stuff going on with us right now--big illnesses in our extended families, valleys to trudge through, etc. Trusting the Lord is all we can do, but I get antsy and want to take over. Sigh.

  8. Yeah, Susanne, it's hard to not jump in there and do . . . something.

    That's when we have to be especially aware of what God is speaking to us for NOW.

    Praying for you and your family!

  9. Yes, DeAnna, Yes!

    Today alone, I was getting so frustrated because things weren't going as they should be.

    Little big things... like google showing my website with a 404 error. I tried everything to get it online, but without knowing the problem, I couldn't fix it. What if someone from the industry wanted to check me out? Ugh.
    I finally handed it over to Him and said okay, You fix it. 5 mins later, it was fixed without me doing a thing.

    Earlier, I had tried checking my site on my mini to see if I could nail down the problem, but my mini wouldn't work. Couldn't get anywhere - not even onto Outlook to check my mail. (At least my laptop was up and running except for my own website.)
    Finally, I said, Fine, You fix it. And I sat back and stared at my mini. A few mins later, with my fingers itching to tap the keys, I clicked on Outlook and boom! there it was.

    Some could say it isn't faith because it was just coincidence that each thing worked right after I gave up. Maybe, maybe not.

    However, you can be sure that after handing things over to Him, I always expect them to be resolved and I haven't been disappointed yet.

  10. What am I having faith for right now? I'm having faith that God will guide through a difficult decision. I have faith that He will make the path plain, as long we commit to following His lead when he does.

    Already, the way has gotten a little clearer.

  11. It's tough to even consider how I could explain to myself how I can believe in something unbelievable, must less to someone else.

    It's like that beautiful version of

    I know My Redeemer Lives by Nicole C Mullen, when she says I know that I know that I Know...

    I can't explain it, I just know. And even in our most unsure, worried, unbelieving moments we have hope inside which someone without faith doesn't. That breaks my heart.


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