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How Does Faith Work?
We build our faith by building our relationship with God

By John Schoenheit

Assurance in God: Understanding what faith / pistis is.
Heb. 11:6 Without Faith it is impossible to

Once we understand that faith is trust, we are in a position to understand how faith works and to understand the biblical passages that use “faith.” To understand how faith works, we will discuss the physical world first, then the spiritual world.

Let’s say I meet someone for the first time. Do I have faith (trust) in that person? No, not yet. I may get such a good feeling about the person that I think I can trust him, but there is no real trust yet. Relationships do not start with faith (trust), they start on the basis of risk. For example, I move to a new town and need to take my car to a mechanic. I start with no faith (trust) in the mechanics in town, but I ask around. A few friends give me the name of a mechanic and say he is honest, fair in his prices, and does a good job. The testimony of my friends gives me enough faith (trust) that I will take my car to him, but there is still not a deep level of trust because I have not yet interacted with the mechanic nor tried to drive my car after he works on it. Nevertheless, I need my car fixed, so I take a risk. If the mechanic does what he says, and fixes my car, my faith (trust) builds. Over time, my trust will continue to build until I can say I really trust him. Being in relationship with someone over time is the only way to build genuine faith (trust).

Another thing about faith (trust) is that it is not “general,” but is specific to certain areas. For example, I may discover that my mechanic does a great job repairing my car, but overbooks his calendar so much that he never has it back to me when he promises. So if my car breaks down before a trip I planned, although I trust him to fix it, I would not take it to him because I cannot trust him to get it to me on time.

If I do not trust a person, I can ask myself why that is. Is it that I have not gotten to know him well enough, or has he shown himself to be untrustworthy? Or perhaps I do not know him personally, but have heard things about him that have caused me to distrust him. All of these play a part in faith (trust), and also factor into our faith (trust) in God.

So if you feel you do not trust God, ask yourself why. You may find it is because you really do not know God. Remember that getting to know someone takes time. When Jesus was astounded with the disciples for their lack of faith (trust), he said to them, “…Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40b). The word we need to pay attention to is “still.” Jesus did not ask people to have faith in him when he first met them, but the disciples had been with him for months, and seen him do miracle after miracle. Jesus marveled that they had not built more trust in him during that time.

We build trust in God by building our relationship with God. Although some people have personal encounters with God, His Son, or an angel, it is more usual to meet God by having Him work in our hearts, by prayer, and by receiving revelation from Him. One of the most meaningful ways we meet God is in His Word. Reading, getting to understand, and applying the Bible is an important key in developing trust in God. Spending time daily with God in prayer and in talking with Him also builds trust. Likewise, obedience plays a huge role. Jesus said, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17).

God wants everyone to have a loving and faith-filled relationship with Him. He knows that if we do our part and enter into a relationship with Him, He will work in us and our faith will build. That is one reason why the Bible says to, “…seek ye first the kingdom of God…” (Matt. 6:33a-KJV). It is wrong to think that we should have great faith (trust) in God without being in a close relationship with Him. Our personal relationships do not work that way, nor will our relationship with God. As our heavenly Father, God is a very personal God. If we obey Him and do the work He has for us to do, spending time with Him in prayer, Bible study, meditation, as well as fellowship with other committed Christians, our faith will grow.

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