Iíve heard people say, "I need more faith", as if faith
was a commodity that falls down from Heaven into our lives. This statement
shows a lack of Biblical understanding concerning what the word
"faith" actually means. Is faith really something that we can
get more of? I donít think so.
If faith is not a commodity that we can get more of, then what is
it? The Greek word "pistis" that is translated as
"faith" in the New Testament means "to trust". So when
we say "we have faith in Jesus", what we are saying is that
"we trust Jesus".
I believe our society understands the idea of trust better than
faith. We trust in all sorts of ways. We trust the bank every time we give
them money to deposit into our accounts. In this sense, is trust, or
faith, a commodity that we can get more of? No.
Trusting in Jesus implies having some kind of relationship with Him.
Thus in a Biblical context an expanded definition of faith is "a
trusting commitment between a person and Jesus". The two important
thoughts here are trust and relationship.
So what do we mean when we ask Jesus for more faith? Are we asking
for a bucket of faith to be poured into our lives? Sorry, but it doesnít
work that way. In actuality, we are asking Jesus to help us "trust
Him more than we presently do". Simply put, we donít need more
trust (faith). We need to trust more.
I think many of us have a different definition of faith than what
Jesus has. Let me give this analogy. A 3 year old boy asks his mother for
a banana, thinking that a banana is round and red. So his mother gives him
a banana, knowing that a banana is long skinny and yellow. The boy takes
the fruit from his mother, looks at it and throws it away because it doesnít
look round and red.
The boy and his mother have a problem based on their different
definitions of what an apple is. The boy asks for a banana, thinking a
banana is an apple. The mother gives the boy what he asked for, but not
what he wanted. This is a common problem when we ask Jesus for something
and our definitions donít match His. He has 2 choices concerning our
prayers in this regard. Either He doesnít answer our prayers because our
prayers makes no sense, or He does answer our prayers based on His
understanding of what we are asking for. Either way, we donít get what
we expect, resulting in disappointment because we think our prayers werenít
So we ask Jesus for "more faith", thinking that faith is a
commodity that we can get more of, hoping it will supernaturally appear in
our lives. We wait. We wait some more. Then while we are waiting trials
come our way. This is not what we asked Jesus for and as a result, like
the little boy, we try to push the trials away, blaming our wives, our
husbands, our kids, or the devil.
Thereís a good chance that Jesus did answer our prayers, yet like
the little boy, we misunderstood what we asked for, thus we didnít
recognize Jesusí answer when it came. We ask for more faith, thinking
that faith is a commodity that we can get more of. Like the mother, Jesus
answers our prayer knowing that faith means trusting Him.
An answer to this situation is found in 1 Peter 1:6-9 where we find
out why trials come our way. Jesus gives us trials to prove that our faith
is genuine. I hate to say it, and I certainly donít like it, but the way
we "trust Jesus more" is to go through the trials that provide
another opportunity to trust Him.
Peter compares faith to money. He says that our faith, or our trust
in Jesus is more precious than gold Ė thatís money. Now thatís a
tough idea to get around. We all like money. Iím no exception. Jesus
thinks our trust we have in Him is more valuable than our money. Can you
believe that? Our trust in Jesus is more important than money. Jesus doesnít
sound like a good capitalist to me.
So what do we trust Jesus for? Do we simply trust Him for salvation,
or our invitation into Heaven? No. We trust Him with our whole lives. I
think as Evangelicals we have missed something in our presentation of the
gospel of late. We preach, "have faith and get saved", but thereís
more to getting saved than just getting saved. Becoming a Christian is in
fact giving your life to Jesus as Lord, trusting Him for all aspects of
Jesus is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). As Christ, He offers us
salvation. As Lord, we offer Him our whole lives in a trusting
relationship Ė thatís faith. If we donít preach both of these
aspects of salvation, then we are not preaching the gospel. This results
is a misunderstanding of what being a Christian is all about by those who
hear what we preach. This misunderstanding gets people off on the wrong
foot in their Christian walk, which is a real problem in todayís church.
It is my opinion, we as Evangelicals have been drifting away from
accurate Biblical content in our thinking. The whole definition of faith
and the resulting implications is just one example. We need a clear
understanding that faith is not a commodity that we can get more of. Faith
is trusting Jesus for our whole lives, which includes our salvation. If we
want more faith, we must understand we want to trust Jesus more than we
presently do. This means that He must give us an opportunity to trust Him
more. Sometimes we succeed at this further attempt to trust, and sometimes
we fail. I recognize that this is not easy at times. Iíd prefer that
trust was a commodity that falls from Heaven, but it isnít.
Do a little homework by taking a passage of the Bible and every time
you read the word "faith" substitute it with the words
"trust in Jesus" and see how much clearer that passage becomes.
Try it. You will be surprised. Hereís an example. "In His great
mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope Ö kept in Heaven for
you who through Ďtrusting in Jesusí (faith) are shielded by Godís
power Ö. Though for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in
all kinds of trials Ö These have come so that your Ďtrust in Jesusí
(faith) Ė of greater worth than gold Ö may be proved genuine Ö"
(1 Peter 1:3-7)