4 Truths You Might Not Know About Faith

4 truths you might not know about faith

Faith is such an important aspect of the Christian walk.

This is something that none of us would dispute.

Faith is what our entire salvation and relationship with God is based on. It is also what enables us to walk in a holy Christ-like life.

For this reason, I want to share with you four key truths to hold onto that will help you establish a deeper level of faith in your life today.

1. Faith might look risky but should never feel risky

Contrary to the famous John Wimber quote (“Faith is spelled R-I-S-K”), faith is most definitely not spelled “R-I-S-K”.

[Tweet “Faith is NOT spelled ‘R-I-S-K'”]

Now I want to say up front that there is a very good chance as you step out in what God is asking you to do, people might think it’s risky.

I think this is truth in which the saying primary finds its roots.

However, while walking in faith might look risky, to those around you it should never feel risky to you.

Why do I say that?

[Tweet “Because if your faith feels risky then it’s not faith. It’s doubt.”]

When we look at the word doubt in our Bible we can see that in the Greek it simply means to have two thoughts. If we are thinking something contrary to what God is saying, it cannot be faith it is doubt.

Faith is simply to accept what God is saying.

If we are unwavering in what we believe God is saying there is no risk. It’s only when we dabble the waters of faith with muddy unbelief that it becomes risky.

Obviously this is not a message to condemn anyone, we all have doubts at times.

But let’s not get into the practice of calling our doubt “faith” in an effort to try to make ourselves feel better about it.

It’s perfectly okay to explain that faith might look risky to other people. However if we teach people that they should feel risky about acting in faith they won’t know how to differentiate between faith and doubt!

In saying this, if we feel that we have faith and yet still have some doubts – it’s okay to act in this situation. I’m not promoting complacency until we have everything perfect.

I certainly don’t have perfect faith at all times and God is still choosing to use me.

The important thing is that we recognise the doubt. In doing this the doubt loses its power as we consciously remind ourselves of what is true and what is not, what is from God and what is from us.

2. You are not called to grow your faith

Despite what you may have been taught – faith is not something you are required to grow. In fact, it’s something you are only required to have.

[Tweet “Faith was never yours to begin with, it’s always been a gift from God.”]

It’s something that He has given you and desires for you to hold on to.

Hebrews 12v2 says that “Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith”.

[Tweet “God is where faith comes from and not only that, God is the one who grows it.”]

I like the way Ephesians 2v8 puts it – in this verse Paul says that we are saved by grace, through faith, and even that faith is a gift in case we planned on boasting about that.

We must understand that faith is something that comes from God, we are not able to drum it up ourselves, and we are not able to perfect it ourselves.

As I mentioned in my first point, faith is simply to agree with what God says. That’s why Paul tells the Romans that faith comes by hearing the word of God.

[Tweet “When God speaks, we receive faith.”]

He has literally spoken it into existence. Our only job is to hold on to it and not let go.

As a side note here, the “word of God” talked about here is not the Bible, it is the spoken word of God. Now I’m not saying you have to hear God audibly but that faith comes from hearing God’s voice.

This voice might come through a friend, the Bible, a billboard as you drive to work, an audible voice, a still small internal voice or any other means.

But for it to bring forth faith it is important that it is a living spoken word from God to you.

You see, while our faith will grow, it is not our responsibility to do the growing of that faith.

Rather we are called to simply believe what God has said to us and let go of every other belief we have which contradicts this truth.

Growing in faith has never been easier.

This leads me on to my third point.

3. Faith is not a work

When Martin Luther lead the way to reform the church in the 1500’s his primary message was that we were not saved by works but by grace through faith.

What a wonderful truth. But there was a problem, you see most of us like something to work on!

Luckily, we are an ingenious bunch, Luther said it wasn’t by works but by faith, so what did we do?

We turned faith into a work!

We’ve let go of the more obvious “works”, I mean the church today doesn’t have pilgrimages or indulgences to pay which will get you into heaven. However, how many Christians do you know have traveled to a specific location in order to grow in their faith, or felt that they needed to give to a certain ministry to grow in their faith?

We understand that works don’t get us saved but we still kind of think that works will grow our faith.

To grow in faith we have created subtle to-do lists:

  • Read your Bible every day
  • Pray for at least 30mins at the beginning of the day
  • Make sure you attend church once a week
  • Make home group at least once every couple of weeks

These are all things you do to grow your faith right?

Well in some ways a byproduct of doing some of these things will be that your faith grows, but only inasmuch as God will speak to you while you do these things. But lets face it, He could talk to you in any other circumstance, even if you didn’t do some of these things.

You see there’s nothing wrong with reading your Bible every day, or giving money to a certain ministry or going to church every week.

It’s just really important that we understand the following:

[Tweet “Faith comes by hearing not by doing.”]

Going to church doesn’t grow your faith, but God may speak to you while your church.

Reading your Bible doesn’t grow your faith, but God is very likely to speak to you while you read your Bible.

Going to a specific part of the world won’t grow your faith, but you may find it easier to hear God’s voice there and will in turn end up growing in your faith.

So many people put the cart before the horse in this regard.

We read passages like the one in James which says that faith has works and we instinctively focus on the works.

It’s so important that we understand that we are not supposed to be producing these works ourselves rather faith is supposed to be producing them.

Everyone has works but not everyone has faith, the type of works that James is looking for comes from pure faith.

Let’s focus on our faith, and let’s not turn it into a work but rather just receive it as a gift as we hear God speak to us.

4. There is a difference between knowing and believing.

1 John 4v16 says that “we know and believe that God loves us…”

Isn’t it interesting that John separates knowing and believing? It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch of the imagination to see why.

Let’s face it, we all know that God loves us, but to what degree do we really truly believe that God loves us?

I’m pretty confident that I could say that I know and believe that God loves me. However, the degree to which I know and the degree to which I believe are probably slightly different. And that’s me being very generous to myself!

When I feel that I have a lack of faith in a specific area, I usually find I already know what is true I just don’t believe it.

Now I might believe on some level, but when the rubber hits the road I find I don’t really. The faith I have is not the faith that comes from God, it is a faith that I have built myself.

Ultimately I’ve some knowledge of the truth and I’ve tried to build faith upon it. However, as we’ve seen in the other points, faith is a gift from God that comes solely by hearing His voice.

It’s so important to be able to highlight the difference between what we know and what we believe. When we know that there is a difference between the two we can ask God to speak into the situation.

In fact, sometimes we don’t even know what’s true, those times are probably a little more frequent than we care to admit!

But they are some of my favorite times, because then we just go straight to hearing God’s voice and His gift of faith will establish what we need to know and believe.

God’s voice comes in like a hurricane turning everything upside down. Whenever he speaks there is a gift of faith. It’s a lot easier to believe, when what we are believing is grounded in his voice, and not our vain attempt to believe something.

Conclusion

My prayer is that these four truths about faith have encouraged you that it is easy for you to have faith. That God is speaking into your heart and establishing faith constantly. I believe that even as you read this article God has been speaking to and that your faith has risen.

How have some of these truths change your perspective on faith?

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32 Comments

    • Ethan!! Such a joy to see your name. I miss you my friend, I hope you are doing well and enjoying life. Give my love to your wonderful wife. And thank you so much for your kind words.

  1. Thanks, Phil, for sharing. I needed a little push and I got it from this.
    I wanted to share my own experience and understanding of faith which, probably, complements and blends in your one. I came to understand what faith is after reading upon imagination, and the Spirit drew many bits and pieces together. I see that faith (along reckoning, memory etc) is a very important part of our imagination as a faculty that our minds house. The importance of the imagination is tremendous. Personally, for a long time (till I was 29, which is now haha) I was an imaginatory criple because I thought that imagining is a foolish thing, and faith seemed as of a some kind of an alien that needed to be tamed. I also could finally draw that “faith” and “religion” are not equal. It made sense to me that faith is a substance for things hoped for- every assertive thought that leads onto my hope, but every doubt leads away from it. I better watch it! Yes, blessed assurance, something more of just knowing. I think it requires this divine experience- hearing from God, for this simple/academic knowing become the blessed assurance, then it moves on. Faith is a special kind of thinking to me, very focused; yes, it has a target!
    As much as it is the gift from God, I came to understand that not just us, believers, but also unbelievers have faith, just not in God, since they believe and have hopes of their lives. I’ve been saved just for 3yrs and I used to think that my years before were completely “ungodly”, I had nothing of God (but hey- even my body’s made by God!). However, I realized that God had given me hopes and dreams, I believed and wanted to achieve them. Yet because I didn’t know, acknowledge God they all turned into a dust. Faith without it’s Author withered, it had nowhere to draw strength, and depression sneaked in. Now I understand why Jesus says of not stopping little children coming to Him- because they have this incredible imagination and their faith is so strong.The younger the child, the stronger his faith. Whatever you tell them, they hear and believe. I wonder how strong is a newborn’s faith- it must be a dynamite. Without such we can’t get into the Kingdom. And as you say- it is not a hard work at all, but a free gift! Easy- peasy!

    • Thanks so much for sharing this Andrejs! What a beautiful way to look at faith – so intrinsically woven into our hopes and dreams. Bless you my friend.

  2. Phil, Once again you have hit the nail on the head. Thank you! This is exactly what I have needed spelled out for me FOR YEARS. I understood that faith was a gift from God, but I couldn’t really figure out how to unwrap it. Thank you again. Keep explaining the truth!

    • You are so welcome Tiffany. So glad to hear that your blessed you, I hope you’re having a great weekend!

  3. I agree faith is not a work, yet in another sense it is the ONLY work.
    “John 6:28-29 (KJV) Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

    • Ha ha, absolutely Tom – I love it!

      It’s like when the author of Hebrews talks about works, and tells them in chapter 4, that if they have to work at something then they should work at entering God’s rest.

  4. Hey you have clearly given an earthly view of faith, and no dout many will agree with you,many my friend
    Your verse choices are interesting and muliputive,I get the sence that you’ve written what you’ve written for effect rather than what s true ,faith is Godly given by God in what ever measure, it is a tool that shows us the measure of a beluver and how to maybe pastor or get along side, it is one of the most said things in the new testesment and you have managed to put 4 statements, you really need to get a grip, its not about how much or how little , its the gift that’s tell us where we are at ,and then help heal pray .I coud put verse after verse but maybe you should look at that yourself and maybe start at this verse John c12 v11

    • Hi Tommie,

      Thanks for your critique. This is by no means an in-depth teaching on faith, and for that reason I don’t go into depth citing many, many Scriptures. There is simply far too many scriptures to begin doing so, especially those that are taking out of context. I’m sorry to hear that you think I’m solely writing for “effect” rather than what I feel to be true, I can assure you that that is exactly why I write, to share what I believe to be true. I also sincerely hope that it would have an effect on people, the truth isn’t much good otherwise!

      I have no desire to get into an argument, and really appreciate you sharing what you feel to be true, I’m sure there are many people that would agree with you.

      Bless you my friend, I hope you’re having a great weekend!

  5. Thank you Phil! You always get me thinking. The Holy Spirit is so kind to lead us into all truth which in turn we will use to destroy all the works of the evil one. I am always pleased to see your kind response to any who disagree with you.

    I’m sure I have very recently said faith is spelled R-I-S-K. Only repeating what sounded good until you said what you said, it makes perfect sense. So now I’ll say love is spelled R-I-S-K. We risk rejection, we risk suffering, we risk loss, we risk it all for the sake of love. Which in reality is maybe no risk at all since we know His love can never fail and if we become love then neither can we.

    • Hi Dan,

      I really like that – love is spelled R I S K, love always anticipates a response but it certainly doesn’t always get one, at least not the one it hopes for.

      Thanks for sharing. Glad I could help you think of faith in a different light.

  6. Phil-
    Great article! I do have something to share about an incredible explosion of faith I had recently. I had a revelation of faith in taking communion which I started doing daily almost 2 years ago now and I have enjoyed perfect health. Well, recently I had a vision (in technicolor) and in this vision Jesus clearly told me he is my shield. I thought that was good. Then a few days later the Holy Spirit nudged me to do a word study on shield. The very first occurance is in Genesis 15:1 “After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a VISION: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” KABOOM – explosion. I am fully convinced that no harm can come near my tent. I don’t just think it – I absolutely know and believe it. I have zero fear of sickness, disease or anytihng. Jesus is my shield. Faith

    • Hi Kristen,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article and I’m so encouraged to hear how God has been speaking to you. What an amazing truth he has shared with you about your faith, Jesus!

  7. I really like what Dan wrote about love spelled R-I-S-K. Growing up in an abusive home with parents who constantly made wrong decisions and pretty much did their worst in raising me I gravitated toward truth like a magnet. Wherever/whenever I saw and heard truth/love I was drawn to it. I prayed before I knew what praying was, I believed in truth/love/hope before realizing it in Jesus. Finding Jesus solidified my path and my faith grows through Him continually. Rejection, suffering, loss I know them well. My family rejected me from the moment I was born and later so did friends and other family. I now have a loving family of my own, a wonderful husband and daughter. My life is amazing now and I owe it all to God/Love.

    • Thanks so much for sharing Sandy! So beautiful to see how God has turned your life around to good! You are so blessed and loved. God you you were worth it when he took the “risk” in loving you unconditionally!

  8. Wow thanks Phil!!!!

    You really made be go back to the bible and consider verses like:-

    2Cor. 10,15 Neither do we go beyond our limitsa by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand,

    2Th. 1,3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing

    • You are so welcome my friend!

      I love that when we go back to the Bible with this perspective it brings to life so many passages that talk about us growing in faith… I used to feel bad about those verses as I felt I wasn’t good at growing in my faith… now I get excited because I know that growing in my faith is so easy!

  9. Phil 4:9
    Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

    There are practical steps we can put into place to help facilitate God’s work, plain and simple. These things are prayer (with fasting), the Assembly with other believers, proper instruction in the Word, and breaking bread with one another. These are the four particular things listed in Acts 2:42. This is not exhuastive, but is a solid basis for starting. Further, Hebrews 13:17 says to submit to godly leaders because they watch over you. You attempt to make a certain point, but skirt the larger issue that these things, while they do not in themselves produce the grace, are the God-given means for participating with it. Like one prominent leader has said, Grace is like a fire in a fireplace. Fasting is sitting in front of it. The power is in the fire, not in where we sit, but it is where we sit that determines how much of that Grace encounters our heart.

    While nothing we do EARNS anything from God, you can be sure that if you do not do ANYTHING, you will only receive what He sovereignly gives, and if you rely on that, He said, many are called but few are chosen. The INSTRUCTION is not, therefore, to do any particular thing, but to “live by the spirit” and “sow to the Spirit”. If we sow to the Spirit, we will live, but if the flesh, we will die. The moment you go and say it has nothing to do with us, although it didn’t start with us, you’ve in essence blamed God for your mediocrity. What will you do on that day when you come up before Him and He asks you to give an account for the Grace He gave you? Just say, well, you didn’t MAKE me pray?!? Get real, and seek heaven.

    • Hi Benjamin, kinda addressed this with one of your comments in another post and I’m short on time so here is a shameless copy and paste :)

      I will say this through – I have nothing against works. I plan to say what Paul said himself to the Corinthians “I outwork the other apostles, but not me, Christ in me”

      I have no problems with what you are saying about reward etc. but we must remember that God despises our works (Isaiah 64:6, Phil 2/3) it’s His works in us that He is interested in rewarding.

      So really I don’t see it as a reward of works but rather a reward of our walking in the gift of faith he has given us.

      I have no problem with people being more blessed than others in their experience because people make their own choices and walk in whatever degree of faith they wish to.

      We are saying the same thing about so much here, i think the only difference is I’m trying to emphasis as strongly as possible that the fruit must come from the right source… God wants the fruit of the spirit – not the fruit of Phil or Benjamin:)

  10. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the (rhema) word of God. The way to grow our faith is by meditating in the rhema word. God will increase our faith as we study scripture and sit before the men & women of God that are preaching Christ. Faith is simply the by-product of growing in the knowledge of God.

    Aside: The above post (response to Benjamin) talks about works. Bible is very clear that our inheritance is by faith alone, but make no mistake about it, there is a reward for our works (Mat 16:27) and people will get paid for their labor (1 Core 3:8). I realize there are many grace preachers that are afraid to talk about good works for fear of undermining the message of grace, but we must not fear the scriptures themselves. Christ is our reward, thus we can get as much of Christ wrought in our soul as we want. God’s servants will get paid, just not the inheritance, which is freely given.

  11. Good stuff Phil. I doubt you’ll remember, but I contacted you about six months ago and offered to send you a copy of Finding Faith in Slow Motion. You were very kind in saying “Thanks” but it was doubtful you would have time to read it. I get that. I’m amazed, however, at how well-aligned our thinking is on this issue. Much of what you’re saying here, I’ve expanded on in that book. I appreciate how you’re unafraid to ruffle the feathers of the Guardians of Orthodoxy. It is something our society is sorely in need of. Thank you for your efforts to advance the kingdom, and to encourage the flock.

    • Hi Damon – I do indeed remember. I’m glad to hear that God has been speaking to us about some of the same things regarding faith. There aren’t many people out there I’ve come across who are teaching this! So thank you!!

      Please by all means leave a link to your book in the comments if you’d like as I’m sure some people might be interested.

  12. the whole Faith/Works debate is a fascinating one in that , there is a way in which our “pursuit” of faith can become a work in and of itself. We work at growing our faith and refining our faith, thinking that if we can just solidify that, we will have this faith stuff that is necessary to please God and to secure salvation. Such a pursuit places faith in faith rather than in God, and if we look at it a little more candidly, it is actually placing faith in ME, my ability to have faith, find faith, grow faith, maintain faith. The focus is pulled off of Christ, and onto me. I might even go so far as to say it is an arrogant approach.

    • Great point Damon – I’m so guilty of making faith a work! I’m glad the Lord revealed that to me. I’ve not stopped doing it haha but I’m getting a lot better at not doing it and just resting in His faith.

      Thanks for sharing!

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