"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." -Hebrews 11:1
This is the classic, most used verse about faith, but also the most important. The chapter of Hebrews 11 explains a short history of faith from the beginning of Man up to the Minor Prophets. These short snippets are the best examples of faith being put to action, especially according to the definition in Hebrews 11:1. The Greek word for faith is the same or similar to "belief". See more below on the meaning of faith.
Faith, at its root, involves diligently seeking GOD through His Word (Hebrews 11:6). Changing our lives to be in submission to GOD, which is repentance, is based on the fact of believing that GOD will intervene in our lives and that we should be free to depend on Him no matter what. Faith is required for salvation, as GOD will not give eternal life to someone who doesn't believe or obey Him. Faithlessness is hopelessness.
Repentance doesn't just happen. It requires effort and commitment, which must be spiritually fed (through GOD's Word) and built upon a firm foundation (a set of beliefs that reinforce your faith in GOD). We must have a mature faith. Immature faith and "half-believing" won't necessarily grant you access to eternal life. For Jesus states, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23).
Let's put it clear: due to the drowning lifestyles that people normally face - seems like living faith does not always exist in everyday environments. If people would have faith, many of their problems would be solved. If people put their faith and hope in GOD, then GOD would help resolve their problems. Why is this the case? It’s because our foundation of faith comes from the Bible. By learning Biblical principles, people can build their foundation of faith.
People that say they believe in GOD but don't have a relationship with Him and don't maintain a steady communication are immature. Let's face it, GOD wants people who'll believe in Him full-time. GOD doesn't want us to use Him as a crutch, but rather He wants to be a loving father to us. Therefore, we must be loving sons and daughters, so that one day, GOD knows that you're ready to receive your inheritance (part of which is eternal life).
Grace through Faith
GOD saves us by grace through faith; therefore, we must believe in Him and believe Him to demonstrate our faith. By demonstrating our faith to GOD, He will pour out His grace upon us and make a difference in our lives day-by-day. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
GOD gave us the Bible to help with the development of our living faith. We should see the hope and instruction through the examples of others. Reference: Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:6, and 2 Timothy 3:16. We should see evidence of answered prayers, because that’s the beauty of GOD’s work in our lives.
We're assured in the Bible we will have answers to our prayers. Do you have faith that your prayers will be answered? The verse above notes that we should have faith in GOD, even if we don't see evidence of our prayers answered, we know HE KNOWS what He's doing. As long as we know that He knows what He's doing, we don't have to question Him. We should know that He's working things out for our good, according to Romans 8:28.
In addition, we should always keep in mind that we are not only to believe in GOD but to also believe Him. To believe He's going to do what He says, we should have no doubt in our minds on His ability to help us. Many people believe in GOD. They assume He exists, but probably haven't given His existence much thought. Problem is, GOD doesn't appear real enough to people. So, therefore, it takes faith in GOD's promises (to believe GOD) in order for us to be sure of His existence. Because of our faith, we can experience the harvest GOD has prepared for us.
Faith needs to grow into a commitment toward GOD, a conviction, not only to trust GOD for His involvement in our lives, but also to do His will!
To have living faith, we should understand first that "the just shall live by faith" and "we walk by faith, not by sight". We get the result of this when we repent of our sins and begin to live dedicated, godly lives directed by our savior Jesus Christ. Reference: Romans 1:17 and 2 Corinthians 5:7. To be believers in Christ means that we're members and followers of GOD's church. Reference: Acts 5:14 and 1 Timothy 4:12.
Our Model for Faith: Jesus Christ
Our model for living faith is definitely Jesus Christ. His life is the perfect model of faith, and through His human years - Jesus displayed perfect, living faith that motivated others not only to believe in GOD, but also to believe what GOD says!
When Jesus learned that Lazarus died, He told Lazarus' sister, Martha, "Your brother will rise again" (John 11:23). She agreed with Him, and notes, he would "rise again in the resurrection of the last day" (John 11:24).
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." (John 11:25-27).
Martha not only believed in Jesus, but also believed what He said. Her faith was the acceptance of GOD's existence - especially through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Genuine, active, and powerful living faith in GOD can be tough in our society. But, faith as small as a grain of mustard seed shall allow them to move mountains (nothing impossible for you)(Matthew 17:20), for faith without works is dead (faith without doing anything for the situation is dead)(James 2:14-26). Living faith is indeed possible and attainable by anyone who really believes, and it moves mountains!
Most people believe that faith means either a feeling or collection of ideas that represent the beliefs of a person. However, this is untrue, especially when referring to the Bible's use of the term. That worldly meaning may involve elements of actual faith, but the Greek word most often translated to faith is pistis, which means "firm persuasion" and "a conviction based upon hearing." Many people say, in the Christian world, "faith comes by hearing" - which is usually true.
We need to realize that faith represents a firm conviction that produces a complete acknowledgement of GOD's truth (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12). It also means surrendering to GOD (John 1:12).
Faith is based on a right relationship with GOD. Rather than static, our relationship with GOD should be dynamic and always growing. It should grow with strength and depth as we nourish the Bible's spiritual food.
People usually believe in somebody or something because they have faith in that. So, why would we lack faith? It's best to realize that our faith should be strong, and we should totally believe in GOD, no matter the consequence.