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“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT).
STEP 2: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 2 is often referred to as “the hope step”, because it is at this point that we begin to hope for change. We come to believe that God can restore us. Coming to believe is a process. “Belief is the result of consideration, doubt, reasoning and concluding.” (Coming to Believe, The Life Recovery Bible, p. 1434).
We consider the possibility that God is real and that He can and will help us and heal us. We battle with doubt, and then we reason that God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. We conclude through our reasoning, and the lives of others he has touched, that He can restore us to sanity. Faith is essential to recovery.
Definitions of hope: 1) to desire something with confident expectation of its fulfillment. (from Life Application Study Bible Dictionary/Concordance); 2) to cherish a desire with anticipation; to desire with expectation of obtainment; to expect with confidence; trust (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hope).
Definitions of faith: 1) reliance, loyalty, or complete trust in God (Life Application Study Bible); 2) allegiance to duty or a person; loyalty; fidelity to one's promises; sincerity of intentions; belief and trust in and loyalty to God; firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete trust; something that is believed especially with strong conviction (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary).
Both of these definitions contain the word TRUST. These words are almost interchangeable. To have faith means to hope. To hope means to trust. To trust means to hope and have faith! Trust is difficult. It is hard for us to trust others because we have been hurt, and it is hard for us to trust God because we do not understand why He allows some things to happen.
Faith is confident trust in God's promises. God's greatest promise is that we can be saved through Jesus. If we trust in Him for our complete salvation, he will transform us completely. He requires not only our obedience, but also our complete trust....this is what is pleasing to Him. In fact, Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please God”.
That is where our hope lies, that God can and will transform us if we acknowledge our powerlessness and surrender completely to Him. He is our only hope!! He will restore us to sanity. Remember, “We live by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7).
Faith is the hope, excitement and anticipation that we experience when we can begin to see what God sees and what He will do in our future. We can look at our own past experiences where God has worked in our lives or look at other people who God has transformed and know that He will work in us; that He has great plans for us. We can be sure and certain of that fact!
Faith is not just about believing in God, it is about believing in God’s character, and believing in God’s promises. Our faith in God should lead us to a personal, dynamic relationship with God. It is not about what we know in our own wisdom, but about God’s power.
Faith is also an important part of defending ourselves against the devil. I Peter 5:8-9 tells us, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” Satan attacks us through insults, setbacks, temptations, and getting into our heads. When we protect our minds with the shield of faith (The Armor of God, Ephesians 6:10-18), we can extinguish the fiery arrows that Satan shoots at us, and begin to see past our circumstances to see that God is in control and ultimately he will be victorious through us.
Another characteristic of faith is patience. Sometimes our faith will require waiting on God.
Mark chapter 5 is full of stories of faith. The first story is the account of Jesus delivering a man from evil spirits. Then after that, He is approached by Jairus, whose daughter is dying. Jairus has faith that Jesus can heal his daughter, but as they are walking to Jairus’ house, Jesus is approached by a woman who has come to the end of herself. The woman had done everything she could and has nowhere else to turn – except to Jesus. Because of her faith (“If I can just touch the end of His robe”), she is healed. Meanwhile, while all of this is taking place, Jairus is waiting….. Then he gets the message that his daughter is dead. Jairus could have given up at that moment and walked away, but instead he chose to continue having faith, and as a result, got to see a great miracle – his daughter raised from the dead by Jesus!!
Sometimes the longer we have to wait for God to act, the bigger the miracle will be when He does!!!
Faith needs to be constant – not wavering. A person who wavers in his or her faith is “double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:8). In verse 6, it says someone who doubts is “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind”.
In order for faith to be present, hope and love must exist. By hoping and having faith in God, we are acknowledging His love for us.
How do we have faith? Faith is developed by hearing and studying the word of God (Romans 10:17) and by spending time in worship and prayer (both corporate and individual). (Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 10:22-25). And if we need God to help us have faith, all we have to do is ask, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
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