"You Gotta Have Faith!"

Spending my teen years in the 80’s meant I got to hear a lot of interesting music.  One of the most popular singers from that time was George Michael who had a hit song called “Faith.”  In it, Michael sings an expression from pop culture- “You gotta have faith!”  Even as a teenager, I remember wanting to reply to that song, “Faith in what?”

I have learned that faith must have an object.  Heb. 11:1 states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  The word “assurance” literally means “that which stands under.”  It often is translated as “foundation,” or “substance.”  The object of Christian faith is Jesus.  Faith in and of itself has no intrinsic value.  It makes no sense to have faith in faith itself.  Jesus has the power, resources, and trustworthiness to trust our lives to Him.  When John G. Paton was translating the Bible in the Outer Hebrides, he searched for the exact word to use for faith.  He finally found it in a word that meant, “to lean your whole weight upon.”

That’s what faith is- to lean all of our weight, our lives, our expectations, our understanding of who we are, life now, eternal life- we lean all of it on Christ.  That is faith.  So faith having an object means it is more than a charm, or sentimental feeling.  When the object of our faith is Jesus, it means we must all commit to living and personally engaging daily in this faith.  Faith acts on what it believes.

Vincent Donovan tells the story of talking to a Masai elder about how to translate the word “faith” into the Masai language.  The elder argued that the word the missionaries had chosen meant “to agree to.”  He said the problem with that word is that it’s like a white hunter shooting an animal with his gun from a distance.  Only his eyes and his fingers take part in the act.  But for a man to really believe and have faith needs merits a different word like a lion going after its prey.  His nose, eyes, and ears prick up at the prey.  His legs give him speed to catch the prey.  All the power of his body is involved in the terrible death leap and single blow to the neck.  As the animal goes down he encompasses it in his front paws, pulls it to himself and makes it part of himself.  That is how a lion kills and that is how we should have faith.

The Masai elder was right.  Too often, how we engage our faith and live it out involves only a small part of us.  There is no passion and no life change.  Our faith in Christ must envelop every part of who we are- our actions, thoughts, words, habits, treatment of others, spending of time and resources, etc.  Do you have faith?  If so, faith in what?  Or better yet- faith in what person?  Is Christ transforming your life?  I pray He is- it’s a great way to live!

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2 Responses to “"You Gotta Have Faith!"”

  1. I loved this reminder that so much of reality is invisible – but is more real than the wasteful and busy things we let take over our lives. I really needed the reminder that through faith I am certain of the Invisible Reality.

  2. I totally buy it! Great stuff on faith. Even the lion analogy thanks