Issues of life: Faith
Issues of life; Faith
Issues of Life : Faith
What is faith? And why should you have faith? How can you exercise faith? Well, I have to answer these questions based on insight from the Scriptures. Let me first begin with the first; "What is faith?"
According to the book of Hebrews Chapter 11:1 "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen."
It is important to pay attention to the way this definition is rendered.
- Faith is the substance of things hoped for;
- The evidence of things not seen
In a nutshell, it is the certainty that what you desire is already within reach even though you have not seen it. It suggests that deep down in your imagination that the situation in question is already settled.
But what is it that gives you that anchor or believe that what you desire is already done. This leads us the the second question; "And why should you have faith."
In the sixth verse of Hebrews Chapter 11; it reads, "Without faith it is impossible to please God for he that must come to God must believe that He is and He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Having faith is our response to the fact that we believe the word of God and what God had spoken and we trust that God is able to do what He has promised as revealed in His Word.
How do you exercise faith? From Epistle of Paul to the Roman Chapter 10:17; "Faith come by hearing and hearing by the word of God." One thing is to hear the word, the to act on what has been heard. You need to be obedient to the word of word so as to justify your faith.
The above preamble is to help you the reader make sense of the word faith and to move on to see how we can benefit from the life of faith.
We've all been given a measure of faith. In this section we're going to looks into the link between our heart and faith. Faith will be described based on the biblical perspective and conditions of man's heart illustrated from the parable of the sower interpreted in context to see the different states of man's heart.
The heart and faith
The human heart is part of our being with which we exercise faith towards God. From the scripture we're admonished that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Therefore, as we set our heart to hear more and more of the word of God and abide in the same; our faith increases. Hence, our heart's condition does affect how and what we hear which in turn affect our faith. We'll look at the implication of the above statements by looking at the parable of the sower.
The Parable of the sower
In Matthew Chapter 13:3-23, Jesus told the crowd a parable about a sower who went to sow seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path , and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on the rocky ground, where they have not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they have no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched, and since they have no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns , and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on the good soil and brought forth grain; some a hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty.
It's important to bring out the truth of the word of God. In v.9 Jesus said; ‘He who has ears to hear let him hear.'
Then the disciples came and said to Jesus, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?' And He answered them, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not given'. For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. That is why, I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. With them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isiah which says:
"You shall indeed hear but never understand and you shall indeed see but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with ears and understand with their heart and turn to me to heal them. Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."
Hear then the parables of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is in his heart that is what is sown along the path.
As for what was sown on the rocky ground, that is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arrives on account of the word, he falls away.
As for what was sown among the thorns, he is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight for riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundred fold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
Fours types of hearers
From the parables of the sower we learn that there are four types of hearers based on their perception of the word of God. The way and manner with which they receive the word had an impact on their response to the word of God that they had received. It is important that we check ourselves based on the outcome of the lessons from this passage. There is a fundamental truth in this passage which is worth sharing.
In the parable we learn that the sower sow the word of God, it spreads into different soil characterised by human heart conditions. The nature of the soil, and hence the heart condition determines whether the seed of the word of God will germinate and therefore produce fruit. It is possible from this passage that hearer and therefore individuals could fluctuate in different stages because of their perception of the truth of the word of God. The fundamental truth in this passage is that the heart is for understanding and what we see and hear can impact our heart's ability to respond. What type of hearer are you? Whatever you answer your heart condition does have a significant role to play on how you respond to the word of God.
©2008 Ben Ugoji
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