I was recently thinking about faith. How inspiring it is to hear stories of faith! How important faith is, how life-changing and closely linked to our salvation. But, in a very “understandable” way, what truly is faith?
Well, let’s say you’re at a very big and fancy mall, one of those that cater to a “refined” and “sophisticated” class… and there, at a kiosk in the middle of the mall, a very famous brand is distributing some of its most famous perfume bottles for free. You notice that almost no one goes there for a bottle. Elegant women pass by and don’t even look in that direction. You feel embarrassed because if you go there it may seem like you are ‘poor’ or taking advantage. Are the bottles really free? Do you really have the right to take one? And what will people think about you if you do? Finally, you decide to embrace the opportunity to receive a free perfume bottle and make your way to the kiosk. There! That is faith. It is the action of taking hold of something that is available, regardless of feelings.
We often fail to enjoy the benefits of faith because it is so simple, and we kind of don’t believe it could possibly be that way.
Faith in forgiveness, for example. I will give you a very contemporary example. You pick up your cell phone telling yourself that you’ll “just take a look”. You won’t be long, after all, you need to focus on your work. But, lo and behold, time goes by and you realize that it has been two hours. Feeling incredibly guilty, you put your phone to charge and get up thinking about how irresponsible you are, how many things you could already have accomplished, and how you’re just awful. You keep thinking about it and feel worse and worse. Forgiveness is right there, completely available! Were your actions irresponsible? Yes, but Jesus forgives. If faith is used to reach out and take hold of forgiveness, you will be motivated to find ways to make up for the lost time and avoid a spiral of guilty feelings that won’t be productive.
What about promises?! The Bible is full of wonderful promises that when read without faith are just beautiful words. But if you read them with faith, they are life! Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and listen to the little birds singing. Not one of them falls without Jesus’ permission; He takes care of each one. And in the Bible, it says that God values us so much more than those little birds. If you read that statement with faith, you will feel a loving embrace from God and understand that He is taking care of that big problem you have (you know the one) for you.
The verse in John 3:16, one of the most well-known verses in the whole world, is perfect if read with faith and applied personally: Because God loved me so much, that He gave me His Son, so that I can believe in Him (the source of life, the wisest among the wise) and not perish (swallowed up by my problems, addictions, circumstances) but live happily ever after.
Oh… faith is a weak gift that has to be strengthened little by little, by using and exercising it, by hearing and reading about God and His love.
Sometimes it can fail, unfortunately. But as soon as you realize it has, it will be there ready to be used again.
And remember: faith is the action of taking hold of something that is available, even if you don’t feel you have a right to it. Enjoy!
Photo: Gabriela Machado (@garrbz)