"Faith"

Beyond our five senses, beyond our mind, beyond our own thoughts, beyond our consciousness or subconsciousness . . . lies an inner, limitless expanse of faith "residing" in our spirits. What is faith? How many definitions of faith have you read or heard in your life? Confusing, isn't it? I'm not going to spring anything new on you. The best definition I've found anywhere is right where some people least expect to find it. Where might that be? Surprise! Surprise! Right in your Bible.

Follow me carefully here. I want you to turn to a reference in your Bible, but not in the old King James version; that version was written almost 400 years ago. English is a "living" language, which means the language is constantly changing and growing. In some respects, 20th century English is much different from what it was 400 years ago. Having said that, please turn to your own Bible's definition of faith. It is Hebrews 11: 1. Most modern versions of the Bible will define faith there somewhat different than the King James Version defines it.

Definition of Faith

Here's that definition of Hebrews 11: 1 in modern English: Faith is being confident of what we hope for—perceiving as evidence phenomena not taken in by our five senses. Let's analyze that definition. Before we do, though, please turn to Romans 4: 18 – 21 and read that reference, too; it's about ancient Abraham's faith being a "model" or "prototype" for our faith. It's one of the Bible's own interpretations of the definition of faith in Hebrews 11: 1.

Notice that Abraham had given up hope by reason of his five senses, but he hoped by faith; he was confident—his faith did not weaken. He didn't waver by unbelief or distrust, but was strong and empowered by faith to trust that God would keep his word and do what He had promised. That is why his faith was credited to his account as right standing with God. That's just a little bit about what this reference teaches us about faith. There's more, much more.

From the instant you were conceived, everything you have ever learned or experienced has come to you through your five senses; think about that: besides your genetic, biological being, your entire self-ness—that which makes you "you"—has all occurred as a result of data entering you from outside you through your five senses. Your five senses are how you perceive all the data coming into you from your external world. Everything you've ever tasted, touched, smelled, heard, or seen has come into you by those five senses . . . processed through your conscious mind, and then sent to be stored in the subconscious part of your mind.

Yes, everything outside your skin comes to you through your five senses. In other words, by means of your five senses you have "constructed" the person living inside your skin whom you call "me" (and whom others call "you") out of the quadrillions and mega-quadrillions of bits of data you have received from outside your skin since the instant you were conceived.

Wait a minute, though, doesn't the Bible's definition say faith perceives as real fact what is not taken in by the five senses? Yes, it does say that. So where does faith come from? It comes from inside of us. Faith comes to us from God who lives inside of us in his unbodied Spirit form. For purposes of illustration at this point, let's say that in manner of speaking faith is another "sense" (not the traditional sixth sense, however) that receives phenomena and data from inside our skin rather than from outside our skin.

Your Portion of Faith

The Bible says in Romans 12: 3 that God has given every human being a certain "measure" of faith as an unmerited, free gift. Ephesians 2: 8 and 9 addresses the same matter. You have a certain measure or portion of faith. I have a certain measure or portion of faith. Another way of putting it is that God has given each of us an appropriate amount of faith. None of us can say we don't have faith. We all have faith. The important point is in how we "use" our faith.

Some people place their faith in money . . . or cars . . . or in other people . . . or in dead, manmade religious activities . . . or in houses . . . . or in Hollywood . . . or in their intellect or knowledge . . . or in reason and logic . . . or in the theory of evolution . . . or in nothing at all. And, some people place their faith in God. The differences in how people use their faith lie in the object of their faith, not in the faith itself. Faith is faith. Your faith—and the faith of everybody else—is the same as my faith. Yes, God has given each of us an appropriate amount of faith. How are you using yours? What's the primary object of your faith?

Yes, the Holy Spirit who lives inside each of us "transmits" reality (by means of faith) to our "inner person" from the inside where he lives in our spirits; this is in addition to the reality which comes to us from the outside by means of our five senses.

The Other Source of Faith

There's another way in which faith is transmitted to us, too. Yet, it originates from the same Holy Spirit who lives inside each of us. Faith also comes from the Bible. Look at Romans 10: 17. Who caused the Bible to be written? The Holy Spirit. So . . . faith comes from the Bible, too. As we read and study it—and attempt to obey it!—the Holy Spirit makes it real to us. That's how we know the Bible is the "Word of God," not by means of our five senses, but by means of our greater, inner "sense"—faith!

The Bible is unlike any other book ever written; it is actually full of dynamic power and is LIFE-giving as the Holy Spirit uses it to "grow" and strengthen our faith. (see Hebrews 4: 12, especially in The Amplified Bible) The Bible is not merely printed words on paper like other books. It is a "living" Book given to humanity by God, unlike all other books.

Yes, from inside of us the Holy Spirit makes the Bible come alive as we read, study, and attempt to obey it. He's the one who causes the Bible to actually become "food" for our inner persons. See Matthew 4: 4. He's the one who causes the Bible to be more than mere paper and ink. By faith the Bible is a power-full, LIFE-giving book the Holy Spirit uses to help transform and "grow" our lives. By means of our faith-sense, the Bible actually imparts God's own eternal, self-existent, uncreated, abundant LIFE to us. By faith, it is a book unlike any other book ever written. It is THE totally reliable, totally mistake-free Word of the Living God!

Two "Realms" of Life

Why do we need faith in addition to our five senses? We need faith because it is the only "sense" with which we can perceive God and the invisible realm of the Spirit. For example, Hebrews 11: 6 says that whoever comes to God must believe God is. Faith is the means by which we believe God exists and by which we can "see" into the invisible realm in which He lives. I call that invisible world RealRealm, as contrasted with this world in which we live and move and have our mortal beings: ShadowLand or DarkWorld. ShadowLand is—well—just a dim, murky, shadowy world compared to the vast, limitless, bright, invisible realm of RealWorld in which God lives in his eternal state of being.

Education, science, logic, reason, philosophy—each of these has to do with the five senses, and they all have their places in God's grand scheme of things. But our five senses cannot "find" God or "prove" He exists. Only by using our "faith-sense" can we believe God exists and believe the Bible to be God's Word. How do we have faith in God? God who lives inside of us in the unbodied form of the Holy Spirit gives us faith to believe He is. That's the only way we can really know and experience a vital, living relationship with God.

You see, God is Spirit (John 4: 23), meaning He is "composed" of invisible "spirit-substance." Anyone or anything which is spirit cannot be perceived or known by the five senses—only by means of faith. That's why we need the faith God has given to each of us; it's the only means by which we can know Him. Faith is the connecting link between the visible material universe (ShadowLand) and the invisible spiritual universe, the Kingdom of God (RealRealm). There is an entire "alter universe," so to speak, known as the Kingdom of God. It is an invisible Kingdom within us, and it is also an invisible Kingdom outside of us: a Kingdom greater, larger, and more real than the physical or material universe we know by our five senses. That unlimited, invisible Kingdom of God can be known and understood only by means of faith.

Gateway to RealRealm

Also, the Bible is the other "gateway" or connecting link through which we can cross back and forth between RealRealm from ShadowLand. It is the Bible "mixed" with our faith that allows us to see into the unseen, hear which cannot be heard with our physical ears, touch the untouchable, and experience that which we cannot experience with our five senses. I tell you with all the assurance I possess after having read and interacted with the Bible daily for many years—it is unlike any other book ever written on this planet. It is really and truly THE totally reliable, totally mistake-free Word of the Living God! But you can only know that for yourself by your use of your faith-sense.

Also, the only means by which we can really know Jesus—God the Son—is by faith, too. Look up Acts 20: 21. Jesus isn't here on earth in the flesh anymore. We can't perceive Him by means of our five senses. The only way we can believe in Him and know Him is by our faith-sense.

In our world and universe (ShadowLand)—which is a physical, material world and universe—we perceive everything by our five senses; we all grew up learning to rely almost 100% upon our five senses. Through our own life experiences, through our education, through our relationships with other people, we came to believe that if we can't know or experience something with our five senses, it either doesn't exist or isn't real. We say, "Seeing is believing!" meaning if we can't perceive something with our five senses then it isn't real.

That's why it's relatively difficult for many people to know and believe God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible. Because they can't be known by our five senses in the same way we know and perceive most material reality. We haven't been conditioned to trust our "faith-sense" like we've been conditioned to rely upon our five senses. It's not that faith isn't as real as our five senses; actually, it's more real. We simply don't know how to use our faith, rely upon it, exercise it, focus it—like we do our five senses.

When God dispenses the appropriate amount of faith to each of us, it comes to us at first in sort of a vague "form"; for most of us when we became new Jesus believers, at first our faith is unfocused and undifferentiated. God wants us to exercise it and focus it toward Him. He wants us to train ourselves to use our faith properly.

Laser-like Faith

Let me try to explain it this way. Natural light takes various forms. Light in a common household light bulb is unfocused; it's called radiant light, meaning it radiates out from its source equally in all directions; it's not focused in any manner. On the other hand, there is light such as laser light which is very narrowly focused into a compact, powerful beam which can be pointed or focused in a specific direction. God wants us to learn how to focus our faith like laser light—pointed specifically at Him. He doesn't want our faith to spread out randomly in all directions (and thus lose some of it's radiant "power"). Rather, He wants our faith to be narrowly and powerfully focused towards Him.

Let's continue on with some general teaching about our faith. We know a little about how our five senses function. We know a little about auditory nerves, optic nerves, olfactory lobes, tactile nerve endings, taste buds, etc. But what do we know about how faith works and functions? More than you might think. How do we know? From the Bible. From the Holy Spirit communicating to us from within us and showing us how to apply the Bible to our lives.

For example, we have already pointed out that God gives each of us an appropriate amount of faith. The Bible teaches that we must "exercise" that faith just as we exercise our muscles and minds. We exercise our faith by "releasing" it toward God and "attaching" it to Him: by believing in Him, trusting Him, praying to Him, obeying Him, listening to Him with our "inner ears," seeing Him with our "inner eyes," etc.

As we exercise our faith in those ways, our faith is honed, sharpened, and focused; it becomes more use-able. God becomes more "responsive" (in a sense) to our prayers, to our trust, to our use of our faith. Not that we manipulate God with our faith or that He is some sort of cosmic servant who responds to our every whim; no, nothing like that!

It's just that as we open up our inner selves and use our faith more often and in a more focused manner, we become more and more aware of just how the entire, invisible, spiritual realm of faith operates. We become more aware of "spiritual laws" and how they operate, just as we have become aware of how natural laws operate in the material universe.

Just as we read, study, experience, and learn more about our physical, material universe by "exercising" our five senses, we perceive and comprehend more and more about God and our non-physical, non-material, invisible, spiritual universe (RealRealm) by exercising our faith-sense. By our five senses we are aware of our connectedness with other people, with planet earth, with the material universe. In contrast, by our faith-sense we are aware of our connectedness with another universe—the limitless expanse of the Kingdom of God—which transcends the material universe.

At this point, you may be thinking, "Bill, didn't Jesus talk with his first disciples about having little faith? (Matthew 6: 30, 8: 26, 14: 31, a6: 8, and Luke 12: 28) If God has given every person a certain portion of faith, did He give some people just a little faith?" Those are insightful questions. Here's the answer. In those instances where Jesus mentioned little faith, the original Greek word means underdeveloped faith, not necessarily a "small portion" of faith. God expects each of us to develop (use, exercise, strengthen) our faith so we don't have underdeveloped faith.

Uses for our Faith

We've read that one of the things God wants us to do with the amount of faith He has given us is to have faith in Him. God has given us the appropriate amount of faith so we may direct and focus it toward Him and thus believe in Him, know Him, and trust Him—but not with our five senses. With our faith! Believing in Jesus means we have a firm, steadfast reliance upon Him—by faith.

There are other uses to which God wants us to put the faith He has given us.

First, we use our faith to believe that Jesus paid the supreme penalty for our sins and restored us to a proper relationship with God. See Romans 3: 25. What Jesus did on our behalf happened in historical time and space 2,000 years ago. We weren't there. We didn't see the event, experience it, or hear it; our five senses are unable to "prove" that Jesus gave his life and shed his blood to pay for the sins of all humankind, including you and me. Only faith can "prove" inside of us that Jesus actually did what He did; we cannot know the reality of it by any other means.

In connection with believing by faith what Jesus did for us on the cross, the only way we can know and experience the personal, indwelling, abiding presence of the living, resurrected Jesus is by faith. True, there's an empty tomb on a hillside near the city of Jerusalem; history tells us that's where Jesus was entombed after his cruel, painful death. But we weren't there personally to see Him burst forth from that tomb, alive again by the power of God's Spirit. We can believe that historical event really occurred only by means of our faith-sense.

Closely tied to that aspect of our salvation is the simple fact we could not even believe the Gospel—God's Good News for all people—without our faith. The only way we can "believe" the Gospel is by faith. God's Good News is not good news when perceived by the five senses. Actually, for the most part it is irrational and illogical nonsense to our five senses; it's foolishness. But faith makes it possible for us to understand it's the greatest, most power-full Good News ever proclaimed to humankind! (see Romans 1: 16)

Well, those are only a few examples of how we are to use our faith: to believe in God, to believe in what Jesus did for us, to believe the Bible is God's Word, and to believe, comprehend, and understand God's Good News about our full and complete, eternal salvation.

I sometimes quote poetry or music in my writings; if you were right here in our home office with me as I compose these words, I think I would probably sing you a song. Since I can't sing it to you, I'll write some of the words. Why? This song was the precise, "divine instrument" God used to awaken my faith and cause me to give my life to Jesus and to begin to understand the nature of faith; it's very personal to me and I sometimes cry when humming or singing it to myself. Here are some of the words of that song:

Oh, how well do I remember how I doubted day by day
For I did not know for certain that my sins were washed away.
When the Spirit tried to tell me I would not the truth receive;
I endeavored to be happy and to make myself believe.

But it's real! It's real! Oh, I know it's real!
Praise God! The doubts are settled and I know, I know it's real.

So I prayed to God in earnest—
And not caring what folks said—
I was hungry for God's blessings, my poor spirit must be fed.
When at last by FAITH I touched Him,
Then like sparks from smitten steel--
Just that quick salvation reached me.
And Praise God, I know He's real!

But it's real! It's real! Oh, I know it's real!
Praise God! The doubts are settled and I know, I know it's real.

Dear readers and friends, that's what faith has done for me! And I've lived by faith for many years now. Oh, there's always an interplay between my five senses and my faith. That's true of all of us. Just like there's always an interplay between ShadowLand and RealRealm. After all, we're human; we're a "blend" of both material beings and spiritual beings. But beyond my five human senses, logic, reason, education, and intellect, faith is the means of my direct connection with God and with all that comprises the limitless, boundless, eternal Kingdom of God.

We are not human beings sent here to have spiritual experiences; we are spiritual beings sent here to have human experiences!

I could teach you much more about living by faith, about reaching out to other people by faith, about "seeing" into invisible RealRealm by faith, about being "co-creators" with God by faith, about dealing with dark, unseen forces by faith, about being aware of angels by faith . . . yes, there's more, there's more. And it's all by faith.

I'm not suggesting that any of us demean or minimize the five senses. That's life. I use my five senses; I believe in education, the intellect, logic, reason—all of those are necessary parts of our lives and the world we live in—ShadowLand. For example, I have a great deal of formal, higher education for which I am very grateful to God; I never denigrate or minimize education. But in addition let us also determine to live and move and have our being in that realm beyond the five senses, education, reason, and logic—by means of faith!

By means of our faith-sense, we who are Jesus believers are presently bi-locational, having mortal life here in time and space on planet earth . . . while simultaneously having immortal, eternal LIFE in the transcendent realm called the Kingdom of Heaven.

---------

NOTE:  We also produce a free, monthly e-mail teaching publication, The Traveler, studied by thousands of students around the world. You may ask to receive that free publication on this ministry web site or e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Updated and Revised October 2017

Life Enrichment Services © 2000 - 2014   Privacy Policy