What is faith? What does the word mean?
Faith in my view, is the quantity and quality of trust you have in a person, belief, idea, concept, principle, or anything at all that could have substantial value to you for which you would receive some tangible benefit. Your ability to trust and have faith in someone, for example, is dependent upon your ability to rely on the benefit or positive impact this person has upon the quality of your experiences with that person in your life.
You may be more inclined to have faith in your girlfriend or boyfriend for example than a random stranger based on how often your boyfriend or girlfriend has “been there” for you, providing some measurable benefit to the quality of your life. You are more likely to have faith in those persons, ideas, principles, and things that have shown consistency and reliable positive results– especially when the positive results or positive impacts have done something to counter a significant negative experience or has provided you with a kind of rescue or escape from harm or danger.
What about having faith and putting trust in someone you cannot readily see? What about putting trust in God? What about placing faith in Jesus?
While we may not see Jesus or God in the most traditional and obvious sense, we can certainly know God by His creations and by observing His handiwork in nature and throughout the infinite universe. We can be in awe of the wonders of life, nature, our environment, and the staggering incredible fact that so far as we know, of all the planets in the universe we can so far observe, our planet is the only one that is capable of sustaining and having life as we know it upon it. And by some design and pattern, we exist as unique beings. There is life– perhaps despite all the odds that would say there shouldn’t be. And maybe there should be life on other planets– and maybe there is and we have yet to discover it– but thus far, we are here and how we came to be should humble you. And in the awesomeness of the near impossibility of life existing, there may be a God as Great Designer, putting things in motion that enabled us to live where we do, in the manner in which we do, when perhaps science might point out just how incredibly rare and significant it really is for there to be human life in this universe.
And we can trust in the example Jesus, as a man, set for us in the Gospels. We can trust in the universal principles Jesus put into action. He can trust that love is essential to peace. We can trust that compassion and kindness and patience– all the fruits of the Holy Spirit are possible within us if we open ourselves to receive and share those gifts. We can trust that redemption from sin is possible. Atonement for sin is possible. We can trust that Jesus took it upon Himself to say humanity was worth saving and redeeming from their sin. Jesus promised a path to salvation came through faith and belief in Him. If you are willing to trust that Jesus can see value in humanity and value in you… if you can trust that forgiveness is possible and redemption is possible, then you can put your faith and trust in Jesus as a teacher who can guide you to find that redemption, make that peace, and be whole.
We know there is benefit to being kind and compassionate. We know there are benefits to being open-minded and patient. We know there are benefits both spiritually and emotionally when we give charity to those in need. We know the benefits of giving back and paying it forward. So by learning who Jesus was and those like Him who were His disciples and followers, is it so impossible to put your faith in people who live by kindness, patience, compassion, empathy, charity, and so on? You know the benefits of living Christ-like, if you are a Christian… can you not then put your faith in Jesus as role model?